Development of the servant leadership assessment instrument

Robert S. Dennis (Department of Veterans Affairs, Dayton, Ohio, USA)
Mihai Bocarnea (School of Leadership Studies, Regent University, Regent University Drive, Virginia Beach, Virginia, USA)

Leadership & Organization Development Journal

ISSN: 0143-7739

Publication date: 1 December 2005



Building upon Patterson's servant leadership theory, this study aims to present an instrument to measure the constructs of this working theory (identified as agapao love, humanity, altruism, vision, trust, service, and empowerment).


Specifically, the seven component concepts, as defined by Patterson, were used to build items for a servant leadership instrument. This study used DeVellis' “Guidelines in Scale Development” to develop an instrument for Patterson's new theory of servant leadership. The participants for the study consisted of a stratified sample taken from the study response data base. The surveys were created, and administered, using an online survey using surveysuite.


Three separate data collections were used for the development of this instrument reducing the 71‐item scale to 42 items yielding five factors: empowerment, love, humility, trust, and vision.

Research limitations/implications

Recommend that future research include surveys at companies and organizations that advocate servant leadership concepts. Future research should include how each gender influences some of these items.

Practical implications

It is the intention that this instrument has the ability to predict or give measurement to the concepts of Patterson's theory of servant leadership so that a servant leader can measure his or her effectiveness as a servant leader.


According to the review of the literature, this is the first instrument to measure five factors on servant leadership.



Dennis, R. and Bocarnea, M. (2005), "Development of the servant leadership assessment instrument", Leadership & Organization Development Journal, Vol. 26 No. 8, pp. 600-615.

Download as .RIS



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2005, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Please note you might not have access to this content

You may be able to access this content by login via Shibboleth, Open Athens or with your Emerald account.
If you would like to contact us about accessing this content, click the button and fill out the form.
To rent this content from Deepdyve, please click the button.