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Service Leadership Development: Service-Learning at a Hong Kong University

Maureen Yin Lee Chan (Lingnan University)
Robin Stanley Snell (Hang Seng University, Hong Kong)

Developing Leaders for Real: Proven Approaches That Deliver Impact

ISBN: 978-1-80071-365-9, eISBN: 978-1-80071-364-2

Publication date: 13 May 2022


As background information, the authors describe the Service Leadership Initiative (SLI), which provided pump-priming funding for government-funded universities in Hong Kong to develop educational programmes preparing students to become service leaders. The universities were expected to create opportunities for students to develop requisite task competencies, character strengths and caring dispositions through experiential learning. The authors also describe how, prior to the SLI, Lingnan University (LU) had already been building networks and systems for service-learning projects to benefit the community while furthering academic development, and this platform was helpful for service leadership development.

In the core of this chapter, the authors explain how faculty and staff members at LU have designed, structured and supported course embedded service-learning projects that were undertaken by teams of undergraduate students as vehicles for developing their attributes as emerging service leaders.

Based on our prior research into students’ accounts of negative and positive experiences, the authors identify and explain some unfavourable and favourable contextual factors for undergraduates’ development as emerging service leaders. The favourable factors are based on three preconditions: genuine service leadership responsibilities; community partner representatives as co-educators; and the students’ own readiness to practice as service leaders (as opposed to learning passively).

Based on students’ descriptions, the authors provide illustrations of how students practiced ten service leadership attributes in the context of service-learning projects conducted at local kindergartens, and about the further self-developmental needs they identified. This chapter concludes with the observation that the discrete service leadership attributes the authors identified appear in practice to be mutually supporting.



Chan, M.Y.L. and Snell, R.S. (2022), "Service Leadership Development: Service-Learning at a Hong Kong University", Gray, H., Gimson, A. and Cunningham, I. (Ed.) Developing Leaders for Real: Proven Approaches That Deliver Impact, Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 125-137.



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