The Call for Servant Leadership in Intercollegiate Athletics

Laura Burton, Jon Welty Peachey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We advance that servant leadership should be viewed as a viable form of leadership to be studied and supported within the domain of intercollegiate athletics. Servant leadership is different than other approaches to leadership as the emphasis of leadership is explicitly on the needs of followers, and because this approach emphasizes the ideal of service in the relationship between leader and follower. In addition, servant leadership is a people-centered approach to leadership that includes an ethical component. We propose that athletic directors demonstrating servant leadership will provide the leadership necessary to support the development of student-athletes, cultivate an ethical environment that best supports this development, and inspire the call to service for employees within their athletic departments. Moreover, external pressures for ethical leadership and new actors in the field of intercollegiate athletics will lead to the development of servant leadership as a viable leadership paradigm in intercollegiate sport.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)354-371
Number of pages18
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Leadership
  • ethics
  • intercollegiate athletics
  • servant

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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