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Servant leadership and transformational leadership: from comparisons to farewells

Jon Aarum Andersen (School of Business, Örebro University, Örebro, Sweden)

Leadership & Organization Development Journal

ISSN: 0143-7739

Article publication date: 4 July 2018

Issue publication date: 24 July 2018

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to question the usefulness of comparisons between theories on servant leadership and transformational leadership.

Design/methodology/approach

A review of scholarly works on these two theories is presented from the original works of Greenleaf, Burns and Bass to the current research.

Findings

Based on the four categories of construct clarity, two competing alternatives are identifiable in the scholarship of both servant and transformational leadership. There are thus 16 versions of each theory.

Research limitations/implications

The literature review contains no new empirical data. The many versions available today of each theory do not make comparisons meaningful. The prevalence of several versions of theories on servant leadership and transformational leadership implies that they are no longer specific and useful theories.

Originality/value

Critical comments are presented on the usefulness of comparisons between servant leadership and transformational leadership. Thus, the value of these theories is also questioned.

Keywords

Citation

Andersen, J.A. (2018), "Servant leadership and transformational leadership: from comparisons to farewells", Leadership & Organization Development Journal, Vol. 39 No. 6, pp. 762-774. https://doi.org/10.1108/LODJ-01-2018-0053

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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