Servant leadership: a thematic analysis

Katie McQuade*, Christian Harrison, Heather Tarbert

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Since its academic development in the 1970s servant leadership has become a prominent area of study within the field of leadership. Much literature has emerged aiming to examine, conceptualise and develop the field as a result. This paper has conducted a thematic analysis of the relevant and prominent literature concerning servant leadership and presented an overview of the themes which emerged. The thematic analysis was conducted on the results provided by a systematic literature review. Nine major themes became apparent within the thematic analysis. They are as follows; education, religion, skills, sectors, comparative, theoretical, performance, behaviour and psychological. These themes are discussed and presented within this paper, and a synopsis of the relevant seminal works is provided. This paper additionally offers a critique of some of the concepts and themes which emerge within the literature. Overall, this paper provides a clear insight into the context of servant leadership within academia and the concerning significant research.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBritish Academy of Management 2018 Conference Proceedings
Place of PublicationBristol
PublisherBritish Academy of Management
Number of pages28
ISBN (Print)978-0-9956413-1-0
Publication statusPublished - 4 Sept 2018
EventBritish Academy of Management Annual Conference 2018 : Driving Productivity in Uncertain and Challenging Times - Bristol Business School, University of the West of England, Bristol, United Kingdom
Duration: 4 Sept 20186 Sept 2018 (Conference website)


ConferenceBritish Academy of Management Annual Conference 2018
Abbreviated titleBAM2018
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address


  • leadership
  • thematic analysis
  • literature review


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