Original Research

An assessment of servant leadership at a business unit of a South African power utility

Marita Heyns, Sean McCallaghan, Derisha Newton
Journal of Local Government Research and Innovation | Vol 1 | a18 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/jolgri.v1i0.18 | © 2020 Marita Heyns, Sean McCallaghan, Derisha Newton | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 08 June 2020 | Published: 09 December 2020

About the author(s)

Marita Heyns, Optentia Research Focus Area, Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences, North-West University, Vanderbijlpark, South Africa
Sean McCallaghan, Optentia Research Focus Area, Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences, North-West University, Vanderbijlpark, South Africa
Derisha Newton, NWU Business School, Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences, North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa


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Abstract

Background: The South African power utility is facing several challenges with regards to providing sustainable electricity to consumers. The power utility is also currently not demonstrating adequate efficiency or productivity, with high levels of leadership turnover.

Aim: The aim was to assess servant leadership, including features of servant leadership in the power utility. The assessment also aimed at examining gender and age group perspectives in order to obtain a better understanding of servant leadership in the specific business unit of the power utility.

Setting: A specific business unit of the South African power utility which is situated in the Free State Province.

Methods: A quantitative cross-sectional study collected 771 responses from a convenience sample. Respondents completed measures of servant leadership. Statistical analysis included descriptive, reliability, validity and ANOVA calculations.

Results: Servant leadership opinions indicate a lack of servant leadership features within the sample. Male respondents reported higher opinions with regards to stewardship, whilst statistical and practical differences were observed when comparing servant leadership across age groups.

Conclusion: Literature indicates servant leadership can be a worthy contributor towards productivity and efficiency. The power utility has struggled to demonstrate adequate opinions of servant leadership and would require a well-formulated and well-implemented leadership development plan.


Keywords

servant leadership; age groups; gender; South Africa; power utility; leadership

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