This study aims to include two major objectives. Firstly, Frederick’s leadership is explored and characterized. Secondly, it is examined as to why a leader may (or may not) adopt servant leadership behavior in the case of Frederick II, King of Prussia.
The applied methodology is a historical examination of Frederick II’s leadership, an eighteenth-century’s monarch who has the reputation of being the “first servant of the state.” The analysis is conducted from the perspective of modern servant leadership research.
This study shows Frederick remains a rather non-transparent person of contradictions. The authors identified multiple reasons which explain why a leader may adopt servant leadership. Frederick’s motives to adopt a certain leadership behavior appear timeless and, thus, he most likely shares the same antecedents with today’s top executives.
The authors identified various antecedents of individual servant leadership dimensions, an under-research area to date.
To the best of authors’ knowledge, this study is the first to look at Frederick's leadership style through the lens of modern servant leadership.
Langhof, J.G. and Güldenberg, S. (2020), "King Frederick the Great – Anti-Machiavellian and Servant Leader?", Journal of Management History, Vol. 26 No. 2, pp. 137-164. https://doi.org/10.1108/JMH-05-2019-0034Download as .RIS
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