The Relationship between Instructor Servant Leadership Behaviors and Satisfaction With Instructors in an Online Setting

Faris George Sahawneh, Lorraine T Benuto


Servant leadership has the potential to improve student satisfaction with online learning. However, the relationship between servant leadership and student satisfaction in an online environment had not yet been understood at the level of the individual instructor. The purpose of this quantitative, correlational study was to evaluate the relationship between online students’ perception of their instructor’s servant leadership style and the student’s satisfaction with the online instructor. We selected 155 online students at a major community college in the south-central United States to complete the Servant Leadership Questionnaire and the Student Evaluation of Teaching survey online. We examined the relationships between each of the five facets of perceived servant leadership style (altruistic calling, emotional healing, wisdom, persuasive mapping, and organizational stewardship) and student satisfaction. The results of the Spearman’s correlations showed a strong positive correlation between all servant leadership behaviors and student satisfaction, p < .001. A multiple linear regression analysis showed that the combination of altruistic calling, persuasive mapping, and wisdom strongly predicted student satisfaction with the instructor, F(3, 151) = 83.8, p < .001, R2= .63. The results of this study have filled a gap in the literature on the relationship between online student satisfaction and individual servant leadership behaviors. We recommend future research to investigate servant leadership in relationship to online learning at 4-year public, for-profit, and private institutions.


Education; Servant Leadership; Online Learning; Distant Learning; Online Student Satisfaction; Faculty Leadership; e-Leadership; Servant Leader

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