How does a servant leader fuel the service fire? A multilevel model of servant leadership, individual self identity, group competition climate, and customer service performance

J Appl Psychol. 2015 Mar;100(2):511-21. doi: 10.1037/a0038036. Epub 2014 Oct 13.


Building on a social identity framework, our cross-level process model explains how a manager's servant leadership affects frontline employees' service performance, measured as service quality, customer-focused citizenship behavior, and customer-oriented prosocial behavior. Among a sample of 238 hairstylists in 30 salons and 470 of their customers, we found that hair stylists' self-identity embedded in the group, namely, self-efficacy and group identification, partially mediated the positive effect of salon managers' servant leadership on stylists' service performance as rated by the customers, after taking into account the positive influence of transformational leadership. Moreover, group competition climate strengthened the positive relationship between self-efficacy and service performance.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Beauty Culture*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Leadership*
  • Male
  • Social Identification*
  • Work Performance*