Team‐level servant leadership and team performance: The mediating roles of organizational citizenship behavior and internal social capital

Business Ethics, the Environment and Responsibility (forthcoming)
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Abstract

Among the many approaches to leadership, servant leaders stand out for the emphasis they place on the importance of service to their followers, the organization, and the broader community. We develop and test a multilevel mediation model, in which the relationship between servant leadership and team performance is sequentially transmitted through individual-level organizational citizenship behavior (OCB) and team-based internal social capital. Multilevel structural equation modeling was applied to a sample of 343 teams, reflecting 835 respondents from various departments at 171 hotels in Spain; both top-down (between team leaders and individual employees) and bottom-up relationships (individual employee behavior and team outcomes) were assessed. As anticipated, individual-level OCB and group-level internal social capital fully mediated the positive effect of servant leadership on team performance. Our findings illustrate that servant leadership in the team-based business enterprise context can foster virtuous individual-level OCB to help build task-focused community, in which leaders, followers, and teams can flourish for the common good. Thus, managers should know that serving their team members first and foremost is a positive for the flourishing of all involved. As such, policymakers should pursue communication and training initiatives to encourage the practice of servant leadership.

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