Imagery of Regent people and campus

Dissertation Abstract

Leading in the Land of Oz: Cross-Cultural Study of Servant Leadership in Australia

Stephen W. Dillman
Regent University

This dissertation is exploratory in design and attempts to extend the work of Patterson's (2003) theory of servant leadership by investigating cross-cultural implications among Australian pastors affiliated with the Church of the Nazarene. Patterson's theoretical work identifies seven constructs of servant leadership: agapao love, humility, altruism, service, vision, trust, and empowerment. She also suggests that servant leaders are more interested in people than organizations and that servant leadership is a lifestyle rather than a leadership style.

This study begins with Patterson's assumptions, and advances three hypotheses:

(a) Australian pastors are familiar with the concept of servant leadership, but not with servant leadership itself;
(b) Australian pastors will identify with and recognize in themselves, the seven constructs of servant leadership; and
(c) Australian pastors will not differ significantly in their understanding of servant leadership from pastors in the United States.

A survey and an interview questionnaire gathered data from Australian pastors in regard to their familiarity with servant leadership and their understanding of its seven constructs. A second distribution of the survey and questionnaire gathered data from a comparable group of pastors in the United States. A comparative analysis examined similarities and differences between the two groups.

The results seem to confirm that Australian pastors are somewhat familiar with the term of servant leadership and more familiar with the concepts, even strongly identifying themselves as servant leaders. Australian pastors seem to agree that service is the most important component of servant leadership. From the data, one might also conclude that agapao love, humility, and altruism are three ways of identifying selfless motivation as a second important component. Empowerment appears to be a measure of the degree of servant leadership. Vision and trust do not have strong support as unique components of servant leadership. Perhaps they would if the concept that servant leadership is more person-centered than organizationally-centered were more clearly understood. Comparatively, Australian and United States pastors have significant similarities in their understanding of servant leadership and only an insignificant difference in the degree of its implementation in their lives.