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Research Articles

Vol. 26 No. 1

Academics to Serve the Communities: Examining the Hierarchical Structure of a Multidimensional Servant Leadership Model in Academia

December 10, 2020


Although servant leadership is practiced in higher education (HE), most literature on servant leadership has utilized samples with diverse occupational backgrounds and applied single-level analytic approaches. Recognizing the association between servant leadership and community citizenship behavior, our study investigated the factorial validity of a well-developed multilevel servant leadership model, the SL-28, in the HE context. We grouped 1,864 lecturers from Malaysian institutions into 120 clusters, then estimated a seven-factor second-order servant leadership model at two levels using EQS. Results indicated that servant leadership in academic settings was a single-level five-factor second-order model rather than a hierarchical model. Of the seven hypothesized factors, empirical evidence was not found for two, emotional healing and putting subordinates first. We also investigated the model’s consistency with the principles of servant leadership for HE to provide more insight. Finally, practical, theoretical, and methodological implications of the findings and future areas of research are provided.