Unit 5 The Role of Servant Leadership in Developing an Ethical Climate in Sport Organizations


Ever since I can remember at least my last 20 years in sales and various leadership roles, servant leadership has been my chosen code of conduct and area of study. The late Zig Ziglar one of my mentors and teachers said “Help enough people get what they want and you’ll get what you want” so this is my focus throughout my masters in leadership studies at Penn State. The article I chose to look at discusses the role of servant leadership in developing an ethical climate in sports organizations and states, ” Servant leadership, due to its ethical component and people-centered focus, is a leadership approach that may best support development of an ethical climate (Burton, Peachey, & Wells, 2016). I have always thought creating a balanced, happy, and morally sound workplace started with the leader. In servant leadership, the leader puts the needs and goals of the team first and each individual’s goals are most important to accomplishing. The beauty in this concept is by assisting the team and individuals goals the leader’s goals are met through other avenues of helping the team succeed.

Victor and Cullen (1987) define ethical work climate as the combination of organizational members’ perceptions regarding ethical events, practices, and procedures (Pennsylvania State University, 2016). This definition looks to the individual and their perceptions regarding how to behave and interact within the workplace. The article I found in the Penn State libraries purpose of the study, was to explore the influence of servant leadership on perceptions of an ethical climate in intercollegiate athletic departments, with an examination of how trust and perceptions of organizational justice indirectly influence the relationship between servant leadership and perceptions of an ethical climate. Findings indicated that servant leadership was directly related to trust in leadership and perceptions of an ethical climate (Burton, Peachey, & Wells, 2016). With this finding the ethical climate has to be one of trust which aligns a bit more with Arnaud’s definition from 2010 with a more collective and holistic look at the ethical climate servant leadership and trust can be a great factor in creating a effective and comfortable environment in which employees can grow in their roles and feel appreciated as well as produce more since a healthy workplace tends to achieve more in terms of production and peace of mind. I remember this from a previous class in the master’s program of leadership.

Developing an ethical work climate depends on the leader, leadership helps set the values and culture for the organization. And in turn, leaders’ behaviors either endorse those values and culture or invalidate them (Pennsylvania State University, 2016). Combining this with the need for trust to be present for an ethical climate to develop and flourish looking to the servant leadership model in businesses seems a great wat to approach being business owner, manager, or leader within any organization. If a leader does not act in accordance with the company values the subordinates will deduct the values have no value and a breakdown could start to occur. Ethical climate being in place to allow a business to conduct themselves in an ethical manner in all dealings with employees, clients, and potential clients is an important piece to business.




Burton, L. J., Peachey, J. W., & Wells, J. E. (2016). The Role of Servant Leadership in Developing an Ethical Climate in Sport Organizations. Journal of Sport Management, 1-37. doi:10.1123/jsm.2016-0047


Pennsylvania State University (n.d.). Ethics and Leadership [Lecture notes].Lesson 13 Retrieved from https://psu.instructure.com/courses/1791578


One Comment

  1. Paulina Kulczak December 4, 2016 at 8:07 PM #


    I also have an interest in Servant Leadership and believe it is one of the most essential theories of leadership due to the positive impact that serving others can have on their success. Victor and Cullen also focused on different ethical criteria and Benevolence is the concept that involves friendship, team interest, and social responsibility- depending on the locus. (PSU, 2016) There are three ethical climates under the criteria of Benevolence and they all align with the idea of servant leadership. Benevolence in itself means doing acts of kindness and essentially doing “for others”. I believe that servant leaders set excellent example for the individuals who they lead and their behaviors are rewarding in not only extrinsic ways, but also in intrinsic ways. I aim to be a servant leader myself and to be viewed as one in all of my future jobs.


    Pennsylvania State University. (2016). Unit 05, lesson 13: Ethical climate [Canvas]. Ethics and Leadership: Psychological and Social Processes. Retrieved from http://psu.instructure.com

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