chapter  3
4 Pages

The social significance of integrity and servant leadership

In conjunction with this, in the 1980s, Greenleaf (2002a) and Burns (2010) found that personal integrity, which is a fundamental component of servant leadership, is a key factor of social exchange. Further, servant leadership also includes altruism (Vidaver-Cohen et al. 2010, Reed et al. 2011). Both social exchange and altruism are extremely important in the context of the corporate social responsibility of the organisation. A genuine servant leader is undoubtedly socially responsible (Northouse 2010), which is reflected in how the leader cares for the privileged and disadvantaged (‘have-nots’), who are treated as equal to stakeholders. In doing so, it should be noted that today’s concept of social responsibility still ignores the individual responsibility of a single person as the bearer of social roles, for example, the leader, although individual justice and giving back what we have received was already discussed by Socrates in dialogue with other philosophers (Plato 1995). This confirms that the phenomenon of the social responsibility of organisations, companies and individuals is not new. There is only better awareness of the fact that we are not alone and that we live in interdependence with others (Watson 1991). For the author, this fact represents an enormous problem for anyone concerned with answering the question of ‘how to act’. In so doing, Rousseau can lend a hand when he noted that ‘because according to the social contract all citizens are equal, what everyone must do can be willed by everyone, while no one has the right to request something he would not do by himself’ (2001: 91). In the context of leadership, this means that the leader can demand from employees only what he does himself, which, in turn, stresses the importance of leading by example.