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Byline: K. E. KhanS. E. Khan and A. G.Chaudhry

ABSTRACT: The study aimed at examining the impact of servant leadership on workplace spirituality. Throughout history among various leadership models servant leadership is a peculiar model of leadership where leader is servant first. Concept of servant leadership has roots in religious teachings thus its connection and impact on workplace spirituality was assessed. In this study three questionnaires measured servant leadership workplace spirituality and organizational culture. Results of the study showed that servant leadership had positive and significant relationship with workplace spirituality with organizational culture as moderator variable that was also positively related to workplace spirituality.

Keywords: Servant leadership Leadership models Workplace spirituality Involvement culture Religious teachings


Many work places are losing their workers spirituality because technology overpowers traditional workplaces for stakeholders to maximize their revenues with minimum leverage. Stable companies do not face challenges from organizational competition however internal disarray can be challenging. Some people- centered organizations like Beryl Company and Google invest in their workers as valuable assets and believe that spirituality can improve this investment in addition to effective leadership. It was further elaborated that the characteristics of effective leader and identify the need of servant leadership in organizations in the twenty-first century (Spears 2010).The study of Fortune Magazine was used that highlights 100 best companies in the west which have focused on servant leadership as a part of their corporate culture.

Although it is paradoxical to associate a leader as a servant but as our knowledge expands in today's information age leaders sense that subordinates have diversified in skills and abilities thus leading with power and dictation may be ill advised. Leaders in serving capacity can make workplace more meaningful(Wong and Page 2003). Spirituality in organization is not a hypothetical concept but increases employee commitment adaptability and most importantly the level of motivation with which employees are working. Thus servant leadership can be a valuable tool to increase workplace spirituality and leaving workplace to be more significant (Jurkeiwicz and Giacalone 2004).

Contemporary organizations in public sector of Pakistan and hospitality industries are facing challenges associated with employee motivation and making workplace more meaningful (Ramlaal 2004). Workplaces are failing (GHCT 2014) to give meaningful environment to employees and these result in higher employee turnover intention and leave a negative impact on organizational performance.

Organizational environments in Pakistan are also challenged with leadership styles (Khan 2010) as leadership style can give better results with minimum payoff. With the fall of capitalism and decline in secularism organizational work places can benefit from spirituality making it important and productive for the organizations and at large the society.

This study is proposed to explore the impact of servant leadership on workplace spirituality with moderating role of organizational culture. This issue is well suited to Pakistan because it has a very rich culture and heritage to support spirituality. At the organizational level many studies have not been carried out in the field of servant leadership. For this study we used frame work proposed by Herman and systematically used servant leadership as independent variable and workplace spirituality as a dependent variable and in addition organizational culture served as a moderator variable. (Herman 2008)

Key objective of the research is to study the impact and magnitude of servant leadership on workplace spirituality to investigate key factors of servant leadership that influences the workplace spirituality and to observe the role of organizational culture as a moderator variable in impacting servant leadership on workplace spirituality.


This study was carried to measure the servant leadership workplace spirituality and the involvement of culture as a moderator by three quantitative scales.

Servant Leadership Questionnaire (SLQ): To measure this independent variable SLQ developed by was used (Barbuto and Wheeler 2006) was used. The scale contained 23 items measured on a 4-point Likert-type scale (1 = strongly disagree 2 = somewhat disagree 3 = somewhat agree 4 = strongly agree).Five different facets of servant leadership were measured i.e. altruistic calling emotional healing wisdom persuasive mapping and organizational stewardship (higher scores on these subscales represented greater magnitude of these facets). Reliability analysis for SLQ was 0.879 with a scale containing 23 items.

Workplace Spirituality Questionnaire (WSQ): Workplace spirituality was measured through the standardized instrument (Ashmos and Duchon 2000). The complete questionnaire consisted of 66 items divided into seven factors and three parts. In this study the authors used three parts of this questionnaire which assessed the work sense of community and alignment of values. For workplace spirituality seventeen questions were used measuring consequential work sense of community and alignment with organizational values. Reliability of 17 items used was 0.822

Organizational Culture Questionnaire (OCQ):

Standardized questions of organizational culture (moderating variable) were also adopted from the work of(Denison 2000) who used four different facets to measure the organizational culture i.e. involvement culture consistency culture adaptability culture and mission culture. However in the current study only involvement culture was used as its facet which overlapped with the dimensions of workplace spirituality. From work of Denison fifteen questions were used to measure the role of involvement culture as moderator.

Researcher also used judgmental sampling and sent 250 questionnaires to the respondents of Pakistan Agricultural Research Council Islamabad Pakistan Institute of Developmental Economics (PIDE) Islamabad and Pakistan Television Network Islamabad and received back 214 questionnaires i.e. (86% response rate). Questionnaires were forwarded to the managers and officials who were directly in contact/observing the leaders of their respective organizations.


Regression analysis revealed that servant leadership had a positive and significant relationship with workplace spirituality (r = .66 pless than 0.001; R2 (adjusted) = .44) supporting our first hypothesis (H1). Servant leadership was 44% of workplace spirituality and showed that servant leadership had a positive impact on workplace spirituality. A single factor Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) tested the model where servant leadership was selected as an independent variable and workplace spirituality as dependent variable. Ahighly significant relationship F(1 212) = 163.62pless than .000001 was found suggesting that servant leadership clearly affected work place spirituality.

The association between organizational culture moderated servant leadership and workplace spirituality through composite scores on questionnaire (Denison 2005) were correlated to the aforesaid two variables and the impact of this moderator variable was assessed. A positive and significant relationship between servant leadership and workplace spirituality was found which revealed a high correlation (r = .70 p less than 0.001 R2 (adjusted) = .49) to organizational behavior as the moderator variable supporting our second hypothesis (H2).This suggested that organizational culture positively moderated the relationship between servant leadership and workplace spirituality. Organizational culture did not decrease the impact left by servant leadership. A single factor ANOVA revealed a highly significant F(1 212) = 204.35 p less than .000001 organizational affect on workplace spirituality.

Correlation Table 1: Showing Independent Variable (Servant Leadership) and Dependent Variable (Workplace Spirituality)

###Meaningful work###Sense of community###Organizational Values

Altruistic###Pearson correlation###.270###.313###.110

calling###Sig. (2-Tailed)###.000###.000###.000


Emotional###Pearson correlation###.526###.525###.399

Healing###Sig. (2-Tailed)###.000###.000###.000


Wisdom###Pearson correlation###.662###.539###.462

###Sig. (2-Tailed)###.000###.000###.000


Persuasive###Pearson correlation###.440###.474###.224

Mapping###Sig. (2-Tailed)###.000###.000###.000


Organizational Pearson correlation###.644###.685###.486

Stewardship###Sig. (2-Tailed)###.000###.000###.000



Leadership is becoming a point of interest for researchers and leaders of organizations at governmental and private level. At different time periods different types of leaderships emerged serving the need of the time. Situations influenced leaders to change their traits and their styles to lead their followers. Previous ideas that leaders were born (great men theory) were replaced with a new understanding that leaders can be made (trait theory) has shifted our thinking as shown by (Yukl 1981) who found that leaders could also transform and change their traits in response to expectation and actions of their followers. Long ago leaders were authoritative tyrants or monarchs. They participated less and used dominance to lead but as information flooded in modern times leaders changed their traditional authoritarian and bureaucratic practices; servant leadership became an effective mode and a model to make the work floor more meaningful place for employees.

Servant leadership has its origin from religion; servant leaders stood no different to their followers rather leaders served them back with emotional healing and empowering the followers to newer heights. Religiosity and spirituality have a hand and glove relationship. Spirituality is no more a domestic concept only achieving nirvanaor buddhi or Godhood rather it is a well-established construct applicable at workplace. Maslow refers to it as self-actualization seated at the top of human motivational pyramid. (Maslow 1943)

This study systematically replicated Freeman and Herman model of servant leadership and its association to workplace spirituality in Pakistan and added organizational culture as moderating variable as an impacting factor. (Freeman 2011 and Herman 2008).The results of this study were found to be very similar to the findings of Herman who found a high positive and significant correlation between servant leadership and workplace spirituality (r= 0.78 pless than .001; R2 = .62)(Herman 2008). Similarly Fry and Freeman also showed similar associations between servant leadership and spirituality (Fry 2003 and Freeman 2011). In current study results have reflected a significant correlation between servant leadership i.e. altruism emotional healing wisdom persuasive mapping stewardship; and workplace spirituality i.e. meaningful work sense of community alignment with organizational values.

However only altruism is not having a significant relationship with the organizational values. Otherwise rest of the facets of servant leadership and workplace spirituality have a positive and significant relationship as presented in table 1.

Conclusion: Servant leadership style which roots itself in work of Herman Hesse (Journey to the East) has spiritual context however even in commercial organizations the servant leadership style enhances the spirituality at workplace. An organizational leader can motivate the work force with the servant leadership style which will also help followers to find the workplace to be more meaningful. The Involvement organizational culture can also facilitate the leaders to practice the said traits of servant leadership tested in the study.


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Publication:Pakistan Journal of Science
Article Type:Report
Date:Mar 31, 2015

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