Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Executive Leadership

First Supervisor

J. Jason Berman

Second Supervisor

Timothy Franz


Servant leadership theory, introduced in the 1970s, has gained in popularity in recent years. Servant leadership’s roots in serving, caring, and behaving ethically makes it a leadership model that is timely and relevant in light of today’s global, organizational, and political challenges. Additionally, an engaged workforce is considered to be a key lever that organizations utilize to gain an advantage in the marketplace while disengaged employees present a significant cost to companies. Nevertheless, servant leadership’s impact on organizations and specifically its ability to engage employees has received limited research. This quantitative study was undertaken in a multinational manufacturing organization and utilized survey instruments to examine individual contributors’, or followers’, perceptions of their immediate supervisor’s servant leader characteristics and how these characteristics predicted engagement in their work. Furthermore, this study also examined cultural characteristics as predictors of follower engagement in the same context. The results of the study demonstrated that both servant leadership and cultural characteristics significantly contributed to the prediction, however, servant leadership significantly predicted more of the variance over and above cultural characteristics. Important then is understanding how servant leadership influences employee engagement as organizations establish presence in other parts of the world. It behooves leaders to acknowledge that their organizations’ cultural surroundings can predict employee engagement. Of particular importance though, is recognizing that beyond these cultural ix influences, practicing a servant leadership management model can have an even greater influence on employee engagement. This study may assist other servant led, multinational, and multicultural organizations in informing how servant leadership and cultural characteristics serve as predictors of follower engagement. As a result of this study, recommendations for practice are provided including the adoption of the servant leadership model to have a positive impact on social justice.

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