A Dimensional Analysis of the Relationship between Servant Leadership and Leader Member Exchange
Meuser, Jeremy D
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Servant leadership is a leadership model focusing on developing followers, dedication to their holistic wellbeing, and a concern for not only organizational, but extra organizational stakeholders. Leader-member exchange is the quality of relationship between leader and follower. Both of these leadership models have been shown to be related to important organizational outcomes. Using Foa and Foa’s (1974) resource theory of social exchange, I view the seven dimensions of servant leadership behaviors (Liden, Wayne, Zhao, & Henderson, 2008) as forms of exchange currency supervisors use to develop high quality exchange relationships with followers. Further, I suggest that followers will reciprocate to leaders in the form of voluntary behaviors aimed at the leader. Tests (using structural equation modeling and relative weights analysis) according to the expectations of resource theory offered only tenuous support for four of the 18 hypotheses. I suggest for future research that the application of resource theory requires the understanding of the meaning behind the dyadic exchanges, not simply a measure of behaviors per se, in order to understand how leaders and followers reciprocate behaviors within a dyadic exchange relationship.
Resource Theory of Social Exchange
Social Exchange Theory