Servant leadership and job satisfaction: moderating roles of decision making process and structure

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While leadership has been shown to predict employee job satisfaction, past studies neglected the organizational context within which the relationship occurs and tend to rely on one leadership approach. On the basis of two independent studies, vignette experiment (n=1,569) and cross-sectional survey (336), this study examines the extent to which organizational structure (formalization and centralization) and leaders’ decision making process (involvement and dominance) moderate the relationship between servant leadership and job satisfaction in the small to medium enterprises. The impact of servant leadership on job satisfaction was contrasted with narcissistic leadership in the vignette experiment, and observed with transformational leadership controlled in the survey. Findings from the studies showed that leader involvement and centralization moderated the servant leadership job satisfaction relationship independently. Similarly, the interaction effects of leader involvement and formalization and leader dominance and centralization affect the servant leadership-job satisfaction. In more practical terms, we found that organizational structure has a significant role to play when assessing the impact of leadership styles on employee outcomes, and that across all conditions of the leader’s decision making process and organizational structure leaders who display servant behaviors are likely to produce high levels of job satisfaction amongst their employees.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2013
EventAnnual Meeting of the Academy of Management 2013 - Orlando, United States of America
Duration: 9 Aug 201313 Aug 2013
Conference number: 73rd


ConferenceAnnual Meeting of the Academy of Management 2013
Abbreviated titleAoM 2013
CountryUnited States of America
OtherThe Academy of Management's vision statement says that we aim "to inspire and enable a better world through our scholarship and teaching about management and organizations." The recent economic and financial crises, austerity, and unemployment, and the emergence of many economic, social, and environmental protest movements around the world have put back on the agenda some big questions about this vision: What kind of economic system would this better world be built on? Would it be a capitalist one? If so, what kind of capitalism? If not, what are the alternatives? Although most of our work does not usually ask such "big" questions, the assumptions we make about the corresponding answers deeply influence our research, teaching, and service.
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