Purpose – Although transformational and servant leadership has been in existence since the 1970s and theoretical assumptions about the differences began in the 1990s, this paper seeks to relate the first empirical investigation distinguishing between the two leaders, which was conducted recently by the first author. Design/methodology/approach – Through a review of the literature, the first author established 19 semantic differential scales and two self‐typing paragraphs to differentiate between the two leaders. The scales and paragraphs were formed into an online survey, reviewed by an expert panel, and distributed to 56 randomly selected contacts where 514 participants responded. Findings – Through discriminant analysis, five statistically significant ( p =0.000) discriminant items were found that differentiated between transformational and servant leadership. Research limitations/implications – The paper proposes that the five statistically significant items revealed by the first author's research be brought into future definitions, discussions, and research on transformational and/or servant leadership. Practical implications – The five items proposed should also be integrated into leadership and organizational development practices, the literature, and future research. Originality/value – The paper discusses the first empirical research study investigating the distinctions between transformational and servant leaders, two leadership styles that have existed and been discussed by scholars and theorists since the 1970s.
Leadership & Organization Development Journal – Emerald Publishing
Published: May 8, 2009
Keywords: Transformational leadership; Leadership