Skip to main content Accessibility help

Leading People Positively: Cross-Cultural Validation of the Servant Leadership Survey (SLS)

  • Raquel Rodríguez-Carvajal (a1), Sara de Rivas (a1), Marta Herrero (a1), Bernardo Moreno-Jiménez (a1) and Dirk van Dierendonck (a2)...


Servant Leadership emphasizes employee’s development and growth within a context of moral and social concern. Nowadays, this management change towards workers´ wellbeing is highlighted as an important issue. The aims of this paper are to adapt to Spanish speakers the Servant Leadership Survey (SLS) by van Dierendonck and Nuijten (2011), and to analyze its factorial validity through confirmatory factor analysis and measurement invariance in three countries. A sample of 638 working people from three Spanish-speaking countries (Spain, Argentina and Mexico) participated in the study. In all three countries, confirmatory factor analyses corroborate the eight factor structure (empowerment, accountability, standing back, humility, authenticity, courage, forgiveness and stewardship) with one second order factor (servant leadership) (in all three samples, CFI, IFI > .92, TLI > .91, RMSEA < .70). Also, factor loadings, reliability and convergent validity were acceptable across samples. Furthermore, through measurement invariance analysis, we detected model equivalence in all three countries including structural residual invariance (ΔCFI = .001). Finally, cultural differences in some dimensions were found and discussed, opening the way for future cross-cultural studies.


Corresponding author

*Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Raquel Rodríguez-Carvajal. Room 35. Faculty of Psychology. Universidad Autónoma de Madrid. Ivan Paulov, 6. 28049 Madrid (Spain). Phone: +34–914975122. Fax: +34–914976409. Email:


Hide All
Alas, R. (2006). Ethics in countries with different cultural dimensions. Journal of Business Ethics, 69, 237247.
Avolio, B. J., Walumbwa, F. O., & Weber, T. J. (2009). Leadership: Current theories, research, and future directions. Annual Review of Psychology, 60, 421449.
Beaton, D. E., Bombardier, C., Guillemin, F., & Ferraz, M. B. (2000). Guidelines for the process of cross-cultural adaptation of self-report measures. Spine, 25, 31863191.
Bobbio, A., Van Dierendonck, D., & Manganelli, A. M. (2012). Servant leadership in Italy and its relation to organizational variables. Leadership, 8, 229243.
Byrne, B. M. (2010). Structural equation modeling with AMOS: Basic concepts, applications, and programming, (2 nd Ed.). New York, NY: Taylor & Francis Group.
Cheung, G. W., & Rensvold, R. B. (2002). Evaluating goodness-of-fit indexes for testing measurement invariance. Structural Equation Modelling, 9, 233255.
Dickson, M. W., Castaño, N., Magomaeva, A., & Hartog, D. N. D. (2012). Conceptualizing leadership across cultures. Journal of World Business, 47, 483492.
Dorfman, P., Javidan, M., Hanges, P., Dastmalchian, A., & House, R. (2012). GLOBE: A twenty year journey into the intriguing world of culture and leadership. Journal of World Business, 47, 504518.
Ferch, S. (2005). Servant-leadership, forgiveness, and social justice. International Journal of Servant-Leadership, 1, 97113.
George, J. M. (2000). Emotions and leadership: The role of emotional intelligence. Human Relations, 53, 10271055.
Greenleaf, R. K. (1977). Servant leadership: A journey into the nature of legitimate power and greatness. New York, NY: Paulist Press.
Halpin, A., & Croft, D. (1966). Organizational climate of schools. In Halpin, A. (Ed.), Theory and research in administration. (pp. 131249). New York, NY: Prentice Hall.
Hanges, P., Lord, R., & Dickson, M. (2000). An Information–processing perspective on leadership and culture: A case for connectionist architecture. Applied Psychology: An International Review, 49(1), 133161.
Harter, S. (2002). Authenticity. In Snyder, C. R. & Lopez, S. J. (Eds.), Handbook of positive psychology (pp. 382394). New York, Oxford University Press.
Hofstede, G. (2001). Culture’s consequences: Comparing values, behaviors, institutions, and organizations across nations (2 nd Ed.). London, England: Sage.
Hofstede, G. (2009). Geert Hofstede cultural dimensions – Spain . The Hofstede Center. Retrieved from
Hu, L., & Bentler, P. M. (1999). Cutoff criteria for fit indexes in covariance structure analysis: Conventional criteria versus new alternatives. Structural Equation Modeling, 6, 155.
Hunter, E. M., Neubert, M. J., Perry, S. J., Witt, L. A., Penney, L. M., & Weinberger, E. (2013). Servant leaders inspire servant followers: Antecedents and outcomes for employees and the organization. The Leadership Quarterly, 24, 316331.
Jaramillo, F., Grisaffe, D. B., Chonko, L. B., & Roberts, J. A. (2009). Examining the impact of servant leadership on salesperson’s turnover intention. Journal of Personal Selling and Sales Management, 29, 351365.
Javidan, M., Dorfman, P. W., de Luque, , , M. S., & House, R. J. (2006). In the eye of the beholder: Cross cultural lessons in leadership from Project GLOBE. The academy of management perspectives, 20, 6790.
Karahanna, E., Evaristo, R., & Srite, M. (2002). Methodological issues in MIS Cross-cultural research. Journal of Global Information Management, 10, 4855.
Laub, J. A. (1999). Assessing the servant organization; Development of the Organizational Leadership Assessment (OLA) model. Dissertation Abstracts International, 60, 308A (UMI No. 9921922).
Littrell, R. F., & Barba, E. C. (2013). North and South Latin America: Influence of values on preferred leader behavior in Chile and Mexico. Journal of Management Development, 32, 629656.
Luthans, F. (2002). The need for and meaning of positive organization behavior. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 23, 695706.
Mael, F., & Ashforth, B. E. (1992). Alumni and their alma mater: A partial test of the reformulated model of organizational identification. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 13, 103123.
Mittal, R., & Dorfman, P. W. (2012). Servant leadership across cultures. Journal of World Business, 47, 555570.
Mooij, M., & Hofstede, G. (2010). The Hofstede model applications to global branding and advertising strategy and research. International Journal of Advertising, 29, 85110.
Parris, D. L., & Peachey, J. W. (2013). A systematic literature review of servant leadership theory in organizational contexts. Journal of Business Ethics, 113, 377393.
Patterson, K. A. (2003). Servant leadership: A theoretical model . (Published Doctoral dissertation). ATT No. 3082719.: School of Global Leadership & Entrepreneurship, Regent University. Virginia Beach, Virginia.
Quiñones-García, C., Rodríguez-Carvajal, R., Clarke, N., & Moreno-Jiménez, B. (2013). Development and cross-national validation of the Emotional Effort Scale (EEF). Psicothema, 25, 363369.
Rizzo, J. R., House, R. J., & Lirtzman, S. I. (1970). Role conflict and ambiguity in complex organizations. Administrative Science Quarterly, 15, 150163.
Rodríguez-Carvajal, R., Moreno-Jiménez, B., de Rivas-Hermosilla, S., Álvarez-Bejarano, A., & Vergel, Sanz, , A. I. (2010). Positive psychology at work: Mutual gains for individuals and organizations. Revista de Psicología del Trabajo y de las Organizaciones, 26, 235253.
Schaffer, B. S., & Riordan, C. M. (2003). A review of cross-cultural methodologies for organizational research: A best-practices approach. Organizational Research Methods, 6, 169215.
Spears, L. C. (1995). Reflections on leadership: How Robert K. Greenleaf’s theory of servant-leadership influenced today’s top management thinkers. New York: Wiley. Spears, L. (1998). Introduction. In R. K. Greenleaf, The power of servant leadership (pp. 1–15). San Francisco, CA: Berret-Koehler.
Teo, T., Lee, C. B., Chai, C. S., & Wong, S. L. (2009). Assessing the intention to use technology among pre-service teachers in Singapore and Malaysia: A multigroup invariance analysis of the Technology Acceptance Model (TAM). Computers & Education, 53, 10001009.
van de Vijer, F., & Leung, K. (1997). Methods and data analysis for cross-cultural research. Thousand Oaks, Canada: Sage Publications.
Vandenberg, R. J., & Lance, C. E. (2000). A review and synthesis of the measurement invariance literature: Suggestions, practices, and recommendations for organizational research. Organizational Research Methods, 3, 470.
van Dierendonck, D. (2011). Servant leadership: A review and synthesis. Journal of Management, 37, 12281261.
van Dierendonck, D., & Nuijten, I (2011). The Servant Leadership Survey: Development and validation of a multidimensional measure. Journal of Business and Psychology. 26, 249267.
West, G. R. B., Bocarnea, M., & Maranon, D. 2009. Servant-leadership as a predictor of job satisfaction and organizational commitment with the moderating effects of organizational support and role clarity among Filippino engineering, manufacturing, and technology workers. International Journal of Servant-Leadership, 5, 129162.


Related content

Powered by UNSILO

Leading People Positively: Cross-Cultural Validation of the Servant Leadership Survey (SLS)

  • Raquel Rodríguez-Carvajal (a1), Sara de Rivas (a1), Marta Herrero (a1), Bernardo Moreno-Jiménez (a1) and Dirk van Dierendonck (a2)...


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed.