Influence of Culture on Servant Leadership

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Anneke Zwart
Student (University), Netherlands

Influence of Culture on Servant Leadership

In an article, Dierendock discusses how culture might influence servant leadership, mentioning two cultural dimensions (Hofstede) that (positively) affect servant leadership within cultures (organizations).
1. Humane Orientation: the extent to which a society (or a corporation) stimulates being friendly, caring about others, fairness and kindness to others. In cultures with a high level of humane orientation, there is a stronger focus on taking care and being sensitive towards others. As a result, these cultures are likely to have leaders displaying higher attention to interpersonal acceptance, stewardship and the acknowledgement of belonging and taking care, which are all characteristics of servant leadership.
2. Power Distance: the degree to which a society (or a corporation) accepts and expects differences in power levels, authority and status. Cultures in which the degree of this dimensions is high, people accept that power is distributed unequally. A low power distance culture stimulates the development of servant leadership more comparing to high power distance cultures, since the leader-follower relationship is more equal in cultures with a low degree of power distance. This combined with the fact that there is less attention for self-protection in low power distance cultures. One of the fundamental elements of servant leadership - focusing on personal growth - is more likely to occur as well.
Source: Dierendonck, D. “Servant Leadership: A Review and Synthesis”. Journal of Management vol. 37.

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