How they characterize servant leadership:
"They rely on one-on-one communication to understand the abilities, needs, desires, goals and potential of those individuals. With knowledge of each follower’s unique characteristics and interests, leaders then assist followers in achieving their potential (Liden et al. 2008)." (119)
Robert Greenleaf--originally defined servant leadership--tries to balance organizational needs with those of the members
Van Dierendonck (2011), 6 Key Characteristics of Servant Leadership
- Providing Direction
- Interpersonal Acceptance
Van Dierendonck (2011), p. 1231: "Serving and leading become almost exchangeable. Being a servant allows a person to lead; being a leader implies a person serves."
VD & P trace servant leadership to moral people using Hart et al's (1998, p. 515) definition of a moral person: one who demonstrates "a commitment to one’s sense of self to lines of action that promote or protect the welfare of others."
Defining compassionate love: an orientation toward supporting others
(Shows much less attention to systems or situations than an ethic of care.)
Draws on Greek notion of agapao often defined as moral love/doing the right thing at the right time, for the right reasons.
Compassionate love is marked by openness and receptivity (122) & Underwood, 2008
VD & P link compassionate love to wisdom, specifically arête; what about phronesis?
Compassionate love is meant to give a deeper understanding of other people's motives and behaviors.
Problem: "...which can be connected to servant leadership wherein the focus is on the needs of the followers" (122). Still maintains a leader/follower bifurcation.
VD & P argue for virtue in organizational life and identify 4 virtues that they say undergird the 6 key characteristics of servant leadership:
Nope. Nope. Nope.
I am hung up on virtue. They trace it to Aristotle (and Kennedy): "The Aristotelian virtue is defined as consisting of three elements: (a) good habits, (b) the middle ground between the extremes of too much and too little, and (c) a habit that is a firm and settled disposition toward choosing good (Kennedy 1995)" (124).
We return to the individual. While I appreciate the adaptation/attention to situation/circumstances, there's little attention to systems or discussion of how the individual fits into a system or systems.
Instead, when these systems or an organization peeks through, we get more of the same leader/followers, organizations as having needs independent of people, which really means the needs of those at the top get addresses and defined as "the common good." Of course you should be gracious, etc., if the people under you are giving you want you want.
Thinking of the tragedy of the commons stuff here...
They return to Kennedy again: "Virtue does not answer the overall question of right or wrong, rather it seeks to do the right thing in a particular situation (Kennedy 1995)" (124).
Dips into Nicomachean Ethics as a source for "virtue theory"
Later, "Arjoon (2000) proffers that virtue theory is valuable to leadership due to the focus on the common good, rather than of profit maximizing, therefore earning a place in leadership" (124).
But, the common good is a sort of profit maximizing as it's placed/located outside people.
Does the common good refer to the infrastructure, that is a way of discerning and managing what is common and what are goods? VD & P approach it in a more metaphysical way.
Here we see the duality of good as both a state of being and a material object.
The recapitulation of the cardinal virtues as humility, gratitude, forgiveness, and altruism, isn't particularly useful in addressing infrastructures or systems. Through VD & P, servant leadership takes an internal/psychological focus.
The article then explores each of these cardinal virtues one at a time.
Gratitude: "Evolutionary biology hypothesizes that gratitude may have evolved to facilitate reciprocal altruism and upstream reciprocity (giving back to others than to those that gave to them) (McCullough et al. 2008)" (125).
Check the McCullough citation:
McCullough, Michael E., Marcia B. Kimeldorf, and Adam D. Cohen. "An Adaptation for Altruism: The Social Causes, Social Effects, and Social Evolution of Gratitude." Current Directions in Psychological Science 17.4 (2008): 281-285.
Following the discussion of each virtue, VD & P offer Propositions for implementing servant leadership.
I'm particularly interested in how they cast empowerment as fostering autonomy, and in Proposition 2: "Where a controlling social context is likely to negatively influence autonomous motivation and thus hinder goal attainment; an autonomy-supportive environment— such as provided by servant leadership—is likely to promote internalization and enhance the effect of intrinsically motivated goals (Van Dierendonck and Rook 2010)" (127).
- How does this connect to p2p centralization/decentralization?
- How does decentralization connect to fostering participation and being useful?
- Obviously, decentralization doesn't just happen. How is it motivated through structures and not just one's psychology?