The impact of servant leadership dimensions on leader–member exchange among health care professionals

Jan Johansson Hanse, Ulrika Harlin, Caroline Jarebrant, Kerstin Ulin, Jørgen Winkel

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


    Aim The aim of the current study was to investigate the impact of servant leadership dimensions on leader–member exchange (LMX) among health-care professionals.
    Background Leadership support and the quality of the dyadic relationship between the leader and the employee are essential regarding the work environment and turnover intentions in health care.
    Method A questionnaire-based cross-sectional study was undertaken at four hospital units in Sweden. The study sample included 240 employees. Results Significant bivariate correlations were found between all servant leadership dimensions and LMX. The strongest correlations were found between ‘humility’ and LMX (r = 0.69, P < 0.001), and ‘empowerment’ and LMX (r = 0.67, P < 0.001). The hierarchical regression analyses indicated that ‘empowerment’, ‘humility’ and ‘stewardship’ explained about 55% of the variance in LMX.
    Conclusion In our study servant leadership dimensions were strongly related to LMX.
    Implications for nursing management The results identify specific servant leadership dimensions that are likely to be useful for developing a stronger exchange relationship between the leader (e.g. nursing manager) and individual subordinates in health care.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalJournal of Nursing Management
    Issue number2
    Pages (from-to)228-234
    Publication statusPublished - 2016


    • Health care
    • Leader–member exchange
    • Leadership
    • Servant leadership
    • Social exchange

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