This paper approaches the study of servant leadership by concentrating on the identity of servant leaders. An identity is important to one's sense of self and it influences the way a leader cognitively processes socially relevant information and exercises a particular leadership behavior in response to a situation. Unlike existing studies which typically approach servant leadership as one of a number of possible leadership styles and which merely describe its characteristics this paper serves to explain the basis for individuals enacting this mode of leadership. This paper defines and elaborates on the servant identity by showing the psychological factors constituting it. Taking a socio-cognitive approach the paper offers a theoretical framework for the servant identity. The framework encompasses the cognitive and behavioral disposition of leaders with servant identity and the organizational contexts that influence it. This new angle on servant leadership opens avenues for future research and practice.
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