Servant leadership measurement: a comparison of five instruments in China

Dirk van Dierendonck*, Lin Xiu, Feng Lv

*Corresponding author for this work

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This article provides deeper insights into the measurement of servant leadership within the Chinese culture. Servant leadership is viewed as a responsible leadership style that is beneficial to organizations by awaking, engaging and developing employees and working from a sense of service and stewardship for the world with a long-term perspective. 


The paper consists of a survey study that examines the relationships between 5 servant leadership measures translated into Chinese and outcome measures using a sample of 463 participants.


The authors' results show that the five measures are very comparable. Although some differences exist, the combined conclusions from internal consistency, intercorrelations and correlations to outcome variables and factor analysis confirmed their overall commonality. A core group of 11 items is introduced as a potential scale to represent the underlying variance of all 55 items. 


This study validates how the five instruments are grounded in the core aspects of servant leadership described by Robert Greenleaf, the service aspect of choosing to become a leader and the importance for a leader to give attention to the followers' personal growth, meaningful work and well-being.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)305-316
Number of pages12
JournalLeadership and Organization Development Journal
Issue number3
Early online date6 Jun 2023
Publication statusPublished - 13 Jun 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023, Dirk van Dierendonck, Lin Xiu and Feng Lv.


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