Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ded)


Professional Studies in Education

First Advisor

David M. Piper

Second Advisor

Sue A. Rieg

Third Advisor

Meghan M. Twiest


Servant leadership and its influence on communication within the workplace is gaining the traction and attention it finally deserves, yet many opportunities exist to fulfill the call to action identified by the founder and wise father of servant leadership, Robert K. Greenleaf.

In in the words of Dr. Stephen Covey, “it may be possible to buy someone’s hand and back, but not their heart mind and spirit” (Covey, 2012, p.2). This study sought to measure the value of those words as our nation continues to grow and be dominated by large institutions that do not serve us well (Greenleaf, 2012).

Delivering from a successful 76 percent response rate and active focus group registry, this mixed-methods study utilized a compilation of previously validated psychometric instruments (Becker, Billings, Eveleth, & Gilbert, 1996; Lytle, Hom, & Mokwa, 1998; Stogdill, 1963; Winston & Field, 2015) and focus group interviews to examine and observe the effects of servant leadership and employees’ commitment to their supervisor, as perceived by the employee, on service standards communication within the financial service sector. In this study, a diverse sample was sought from two financial service institutions to answer the study’s 42-question survey. With the additional collection of qualitative feedback and focus group interviews, triangulation of data identified positive correlations between servant leadership, employee commitment to supervisor, and service standards communication.

The data showed a significant and positive relationship between servant leadership and employee commitment to supervisor (r = .70, p < .01); employee commitment to supervisor and task-oriented behavior also showed a significant and positive relationship (r = .42, p < .01). Servant leadership was also found to have a significant and positive relationship with task-oriented leadership behavior (r = .58, p < .01).

Furthermore, highly significant correlations between servant leadership and employee commitment to supervisor resulted in supportive findings for the servant leadership academy on the effects of servant leadership behavior within the financial service industry.

By implementing this study in the financial service industry, best practices for improving employee productivity, commitment, and communications between managers, employees and ultimately, the customers, were identified.