Servant leadership: A preferred style of school leadership in Singapore

Yenming Zhang*, Tzu Bin Lin, Suan Fong Foo

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: The concept of "servant leadership" becomes increasingly relevant in organizations while the "authoritative leadership" style continues to be in place as one of the effective styles. The purpose of this paper is to explore which leadership style is perceived a preferred one in the public sector in Singapore. Empirical data come from a survey with school leaders in several school clusters in Singapore, with instruments designed by the researchers. Design/methodology/approach: The paper is written up on the data drawn from the authors' research project. Both quantitative and qualitative analysis approaches were applied to analyzing the preference between "Servant leadership" and "Authoritative leadership" styles. Findings: It was found in the study that servant leadership is more acceptable than authoritative leadership and that servant leadership is more effective because it reflects a better use of leaders' power. The findings are displayed in this paper to demonstrate comparisons in the acceptability of servant and authoritative styles. Practical implications: The paper demonstrates the perceptions of organizational members towards the leadership styles with positive impact on their professional life. Drawing on the insights from the analyses, the paper provides organizational leaders with insights on the relevance and effectiveness of their leadership styles. Originality/value: The paper is original and is the product of empirical research, with instruments designed by the researchers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)369-383
Number of pages15
JournalChinese Management Studies
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2012 Jun
Externally publishedYes


  • Authoritative style
  • Leadership
  • Leading behavior
  • Personal characters
  • Schools
  • Servant leadership
  • Singapore

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Business,Management and Accounting


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