Servant leadership is increasingly gaining interest inside and outside academia. This article builds and extends current theorizing by describing the process that introduces compassionate love as a practical translation for the need to serve, which was positioned by Greenleaf (Servant leadership: a journey into the nature of legitimate power and greatness, Paulist Press, New York, 1977) as the core of servant leadership. This article takes a virtues perspective and shows how servant leadership may encourage a more meaningful and optimal human functioning with a strong sense of community to current-day organizations. In essence, we propose that a leader's propensity for compassionate love will encourage a virtuous attitude in terms of humility, gratitude, forgiveness and altruism. This virtuous attitude will give rise to servant leadership behavior in terms of empowerment, authenticity, stewardship and providing direction.

Additional Metadata
Keywords Compassionate love, Humility, Meaningfulness, Servant leadership, Virtues
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10551-014-2085-z, hdl.handle.net/1765/51618
Series ERIM Top-Core Articles
Journal Journal of Business Ethics
van Dierendonck, D, & Patterson, K. (2015). Compassionate Love as a Cornerstone of Servant Leadership: An Integration of Previous Theorizing and Research. Journal of Business Ethics, 128(1), 119–131. doi:10.1007/s10551-014-2085-z