Imagery of Regent people and campus

Dissertation Abstract

Servant Leadership’s Role in the Succession Planning Process: A Case Study

Walter W. Dingman
April 2006

This case study used the constructs of Patterson’s (2003) model of servant leadership (agápao love, humility, altruism, vision, trust, empowerment, and service) to examine the role and affect of servant leadership on the succession process within Freedom Automotive, a for-profit organization. The current owner, a past owner, and 6 of the 7 executive committee members provided data triangulated by three methods of data collection: the observations of the organization over a 4-month period, the data from company records, and responses to eight in-depth interviews conducted using emergent design. This examination of the succession process in a servant-led organization showed a positive relationship between servant leadership principles and the succession process. While there was no formal written succession plan there was evidence of an informal succession process as demonstrated by the promotion of the dealership’s General Managers to the position of President with independent autonomy over their individual dealerships. Further, servant leadership appeared to increase loyalty within the organization. The findings showed no turnover at the senior leadership level and below industry average turnover for all levels.