Original Research

The relationship between servant leadership and employee empowerment, commitment, trust and innovative behaviour: A project management perspective

Camilla L. Krog, Krishna Govender
SA Journal of Human Resource Management | Vol 13, No 1 | a712 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajhrm.v13i1.712 | © 2015 Camilla L. Krog, Krishna Govender | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 11 May 2015 | Published: 16 October 2015

About the author(s)

Camilla L. Krog, Regenesys Business School, Johannesburg, South Africa
Krishna Govender, Regenesys Business School, Johannesburg, South Africa; School of Management, IT and Governance, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

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Orientation: Understanding the relationship between a project sponsor’s servant leadership traits and employee commitment, trust and innovative behaviour.

Research purpose: This study aimed to understand the relationship, if any, between a project sponsor’s servant leadership traits of altruistic calling, emotional healing, wisdom, persuasive mapping and organisational stewardship and a project team’s empowerment, commitment, trust and innovative behaviour.

Motivation of the study: Most project leadership studies focus on understanding the role and power position of the project manager, with very little research being dedicated to understanding the effect the leadership style has on the project team and project success.

Research approach: A survey was conducted amongst a non-probability sample of 48 project team members from amongst a population of 257, comprising project managers, business analysts and IT staff of a medium sized fleet management organisation that is in the process of implementing an entirely new enterprise resource planning system.

Main findings: Through inferential statistical analysis, using structural equation modelling and path analysis, it was determined that persuasive mapping has the strongest impact on employee innovative behaviour, followed by employee commitment and trust via the mediator of employee perceived empowerment. Wisdom and organisational stewardship had a negative impact on employee perceived empowerment.

Practical/managerial implications: Project sponsors need to exhibit persuasive mapping, altruistic calling and emotional healing traits due to the significant influence that these have on employee innovative behaviour, commitment and trust, albeit through their perceived empowerment.

Contribution/value-add: This study contributes to knowledge of leadership, more especially servant leadership and its significance in project management, which knowledge may contribute to project success


servant leadership, project management, employee behaviour


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Crossref Citations

1. Does Servant Leadership Affect Employees’ Emotional Labor? A Social Information-Processing Perspective
Junting Lu, Zhe Zhang, Ming Jia
Journal of Business Ethics  year: 2018  
doi: 10.1007/s10551-018-3816-3