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Beyond the call of duty: how servant leadership promotes discretionary and constructive efforts to effect workplace functional change

Ibeawuchi K. Enwereuzor (Department of Psychology, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Nigeria)
Chima Agwu Abel (Department of Psychology, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Nigeria)
Leonard I. Ugwu (Department of Psychology, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Nigeria)

Journal of Organizational Effectiveness: People and Performance

ISSN: 2051-6614

Article publication date: 29 November 2022

51

Abstract

Purpose

Given the intensified need to be responsive to change, employees' discretionary and constructive efforts, such as those aimed at effecting workplace functional change (i.e. taking charge), are required to enhance organizational effectiveness. Therefore, the authors reckon that due to their serving attitude of prioritizing the needs of others above the self and their motivational qualities, the servant leadership approach can enhance the confidence of subordinates' capabilities to perform a range of meaningful activities (i.e. role breadth self-efficacy; RBSE), which in turn should facilitate their engagement in taking charge.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors collected data from 324 leader-subordinate dyads (i.e. academicians) from two federal universities in Nigeria. The authors assessed the measurement and structural models with partial least squares structural equation modeling (PLS-SEM).

Findings

This study found that servant leadership and RBSE were crucial enablers of subordinates' taking charge. Furthermore, a positive relationship between servant leadership and RBSE was found. Lastly, RBSE was a partial mediating mechanism partly underlying the positive relationship between servant leadership and taking charge.

Practical implications

Selecting and training leaders to practice servant leadership in Nigerian public universities may serve as a springboard for employees to take charge because it also enables them to develop their RBSE.

Originality/value

The current study sheds light on the psychological process through which servant leadership affects subordinates' taking charge by identifying RBSE as a crucial motivational state partly underlying the process.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors want to thank the editor and an anonymous reviewer for constructive comments that led to improvements in the paper.

Citation

Enwereuzor, I.K., Abel, C.A. and Ugwu, L.I. (2022), "Beyond the call of duty: how servant leadership promotes discretionary and constructive efforts to effect workplace functional change", Journal of Organizational Effectiveness: People and Performance, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/JOEPP-06-2022-0158

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2022, Emerald Publishing Limited

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