Original Research

The development and validation of a spiritual leadership scale within the South African context

Anton Grobler, Khumbulani Sibanda
SA Journal of Industrial Psychology | Vol 50 | a2098 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajip.v50i0.2098 | © 2024 Anton Grobler, Khumbulani Sibanda | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 29 March 2023 | Published: 05 April 2024

About the author(s)

Anton Grobler, Graduate School of Business Leadership, Faculty of Leadership, University of South Africa, Midrand, South Africa
Khumbulani Sibanda, Graduate School of Business Leadership, Faculty of Leadership, University of South Africa, Midrand, South Africa


Orientation: Globalisation and the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic resulted in a change in leadership in the work environment – this necessitated a relook into classical leadership constructs, but importantly, with the consideration of contextual influences. Spiritual leadership (SpL), which is the focus of this article, has however been predominantly viewed from a Eurocentric perspective.

Research purpose: To develop and validate an instrument to measure SpL within the South African context.

Motivation for the study: It is argued that SpL is important for organisational performance, employee contentment and wellness. Albeit the theory of SpL carries academic rigour and potency, it has not yet converted into an empirically developed and tested instrument within the South African organisational context.

Research approach/design and method: This empirical study was conducted from a quantitative positivist paradigm, utilising a cross-sectional design. A total of 5308 participants completed the self-administered survey from organisations in both the public and private sectors. The analysis includes item screening, exploratory factor analysis (EFA), confirmatory factor analysis (CFA), test for common method bias (CMB), determination of convergent validity and invariance analysis (configural, metric and scalar).

Main findings: The results yielded reliable and valid SpL instrument, which is invariant with regards to the private and public sectors used in this study. The results of the study were also not influenced by CMB.

Practical/managerial implications: This study provides a validated contextualised scale that can be used to measure leadership efficiency and efficacy.

Contribution/value-add: The practical and academic value is the newly developed SpL instrument for the context of South African organisations. It can thus be used with confidence by organisational researchers and academics.


leadership; spiritual leadership; validation; African Management Philosophies; scale; organisational; African

JEL Codes

C38: Classification Methods • Cluster Analysis • Principal Components • Factor Models; C39: Other; L29: Other; M10: General

Sustainable Development Goal

Goal 3: Good health and well-being


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