Original Research

A confirmatory factor analytical study of a servant leadership measure in South Africa

Bright Mahembe, Amos S. Engelbrecht
SA Journal of Industrial Psychology | Vol 39, No 2 | a1127 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajip.v39i2.1127 | © 2013 Bright Mahembe, Amos S. Engelbrecht | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 15 April 2013 | Published: 27 September 2013

About the author(s)

Bright Mahembe, Department of Industrial Psychology, Stellenbosch University, South Africa
Amos S. Engelbrecht, Department of Industrial Psychology, Stellenbosch University, South Africa

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Orientation: Servant leadership is a value-based leadership practice that plays a critical role in team effectiveness and organisational success.

Research purpose: The goal of the study was to validate the Servant Leadership Questionnaire(SLQ), which Barbuto and Wheeler developed, on a South African sample.

Motivation for the study: The literature is replete with evidence of the role of follower focused leadership practices in improving team effectiveness, employee engagement and organisational success. We need to complement these efforts with psychometrically sound measuring instruments.

Research design, approach and method: The authors drew a convenience sample of 288 school teachers from schools in the Western Cape Province of South Africa. They used the SLQ that Barbuto and Wheeler developed to measure servant leadership.

Main findings: The authors found high levels of reliability for the sub-scales of the latent variables. They found good fit with the data for the measurement model of the five latent servant leadership dimensions (altruistic calling, persuasive mapping, emotional healing, wisdom and organisational stewardship) through confirmatory factor analyses (CFA). They obtained reasonable fit for the first- and second-order servant leadership CFA. The authors concluded that the SLQ shows reasonable fit.

Practical/managerial implications: The SLQ showed evidence of reliability and construct validity. It can contribute to the scientific selection and development of education leaders in South African schools.

Contribution/value add: Servant leadership incorporates a service ethic that fosters participatory management, teacher development and team building. The department of education should increase team effectiveness in schools by selecting and developing servant leadership.


Servant leadership; Internal consistency; Goodness-of-fit; Construct validity


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