Servant Leadership: A Taxonomic Approach towards Systematic Literature Review

Muhammad Azeem Qureshi, Abdur Rahman Aleemi, Dr. Syed Irfan Hyder


Purpose: Connection between inferior leadership and massive business meltdown and inadequacy of seasoned leadership models create an urge to seek leadership equipped with ethical behavior, concern for subordinates, all the stakeholders and the society as a whole. This literature survey examines existing literature addressing servant leadership theory. Servant leadership theory has not yet been legitimized as a mainstream leadership theory therefore, it is worthy to examine its antecedents, outcomes and different mediating and moderating mechanisms to have in-depth knowledge of servant leadership concept and to understand how it differs from other mainstream leadership theories.   

Methodology: This study analyzed the literature using a descriptive approach as proposed by Turnnidge & Côté (2016). The study has been carried out in three phases. First phase is concerned with screening of abstracts and citations related to variable of interests, in second phase, peer discussion was made to retain valuable literature and exclusion of literature which does not fall in set criterion. In third phase, full text of articles and relevant literature were reviewed which were potentially related to and are of interest.

Findings: It was found that servant leadership is a different concepts which is more comprehensive and predicts more positive outcomes than its predecessor leadership models. Systematic literature review provided detailed insight with respect to servant leadership theory and its outcomes which led to the development of taxonomy which was further used to develop integrated model of causal flow through mediating and moderating mechanisms; and then was further refined to identify servant leadership interaction with different organization and behavioral variables.

Implications: Findings of this research suggest possible impact of servant leadership in power distant culture which is inconsistent in contemporary research and needs to be investigated for validation of servant leadership’s concept in third world countries.

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