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Servant Leadership Research Programme

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

  • Beschrijving
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With a growing number of the leadership failures recorded in almost all industries, including professional service organizations, sports, and governmental agencies, both businesses and society are seeking the development of leaders who set aside self-interest for the betterment of their followers and organizations. One leadership approach that captures this selfless behavior is servant-leadership. Servant-leaders, by definition, place the needs of their subordinates before their own needs and center their efforts on helping subordinates grow to reach their maximum potential and achieve optimal organizational and career success. Their motivation in accomplishing these tasks is not self-interest; rather, servant-leaders want their subordinates to improve for their own good, and view the development of followers as an end, in and of itself, not merely a means to reach the leader's or organization's goals.

Servant-leadership is very different from other leadership approaches. It highlights personal integrity. It also extends outside the organization-servant-leaders serve multiple stakeholders, including their communities and society as a whole. Servant-leadership shows promise as a way to build trust with employees, customers, and communities.

To contribute to the development of a new generation of servant-leaders, the Servant-Leadership Centre for Research and Education (SERVUS) at VU Amsterdam has developed TheServant-Leadership Research Programme (SLRP). SERVUS established in 2010 at VU Amsterdam with the ambition of exploring SL in a historical and cross-cultural perspective. SERVUS' goal is to develop leaders' professional as well as personal leadership capacity. The three VU core values serve as a guide to the work and actions of VU employees and students, namely to be responsible, open and personally engaged. SERVUS is built by an active group of researchers and practitioners from, amongst others, VU Amsterdam, the Greenleaf Centre Europe, and THTConsulting/KPMG.

SERVUS' key characteristics are represented throughout the SLRP curriculum and include:

  • Dynamic: recognizing that the concept of SL is evolving, i.e. not fixed, and is applicable and has significance in multicultural (e-learning) environments
  • (Re)search-based: striving to go beyond existing theories of leadership
  • Innovation-generating: motivational, anti-cyclic, accelerator of innovation
  • Dilemma-focused: beyond linear thinking, dilemma framework
  • Bridging: theory with practice, education and (re)search
  • Connecting: people, organization and community and societal viewpoints
  • Comparative: people and bridging fields of interest (interdisciplinary), borders (international), time (history), (e-)organizations (culture), etc.
  • 'Serving': reciprocity in research/education, giving back, exchange of experience - via research and education
  • Value driven: consciousness, inner awareness, essence, open and meaningful organization

What do we offer?

  • A unique leadership-development programme with a highly relevant and innovative approach to leadership development
  • Teaching by the world-class faculty, including Prof. dr. Fons Trompenaars, twice ranked in Thinkers50, #42 in 2011 and #41 in 2013
  • A dedicated curriculum that will inspire a personal growth and will prompt you to bring change in your organization
  • A rich learning from a community organisations that are inherently servant
  • An excellent networking opportunity with top-level directors and managers from a wide variety of sectors and functional areas, who also aspire to become servant leaders.

Profiel doelgroep

  • With a desire to serve
  • With at least 5 years of experience in a leadership role
  • Who want to find empirical evidence supporting the efficacy of Servant-Leadership within their organization
The course aims for 5-6 organizations contributing 2-3 talented executives.

Inhoud van de studie

Course structure

The structure of the course offers a unique combination of fieldwork in a Community project, connected to research in your own organization. This new learning approach will serve participants to see through complex leadership dilemmas in their organization.

Studyload (approx.)

Classroom: 4 days
Intervision (including preparation): 12 hours
Home and fieldwork: 80 hours
After successful completion, participants will receive a SLRP Certificate

Objectives of the course

  • To support organizations to develop their leaders, in service of the organization, clients and society at large
  • To improve understanding and practice of Servant-Leadership behaviour; historically, in business, in research
  • To develop skills in combining leading and serving for personal and organizational development
  • To achieve cross-industry learning through co-creation between learners
  • To establish cross-organizational and cross-cultural networks and gain insight from multiple perspectives

Key benefits

  • Opportunities to reframe leadership perspectives through Fieldwork in a community project, in a cross company team
  • Develop a mind-set that works effectively at engaging and leading people across cultures
  • Research-based Servant-Leadership practices for organizational development
  • Attention to an issue relevant to your organization
  • Expand your Servant-Leadership network



This is not just another leadership programme. This course will help you to investigate and apply the latest insights on Servant-Leadership, a powerful vehicle for the 21st Century organization. In recent years, the term 'Servant Leadership' has become more popular, but what does it describe? Servant-Leadership is a leadership principle embedded in a way of life that has been recognized and expounded upon in all parts of the world since ancient times, and across all cultures. In its simplest form, Servant-Leadership is driven by the motivation to enable others to work more effectively and be successful. Servant-Leadership thus means leading a group or organization in the service of people: clients, customers, employees, or members of your network. The more you serve, the more you lead fellow servers. Integrating both head and heart, Servant-Leadership expands into the principle of serving a community and acting as a steward of the environment and all that inhabit it (Trompenaars & Voerman, 2009). We should not underestimate the concept of Servant-Leadership in making organizations sustainable for the future.

SERVUS is dedicated to share the interest and capabilities of a Servant-Leadership approach in organizations through strengthening the knowledge and research of Servant-Leadership best practices. The creation of the Servant-Leadership Research Program is one of the stepping-stones to achieve this, according to the Servant Leadership principles of co-creating. Therefore, field (re)search on how Servant-Leadership can bring meaning to your organization will be a vital part of the course experience. A unique combination of: the latest insights on Servant-Leadership, a community project and in-company business experience will provide research-based outcomes. This will provide guidance on how to practice and nourish Servant-Leadership in your own organization.

Participants can expect intensive dialogues with professors and peers, stimulating workshops and practice cases, fieldwork in a community project with a cross-company team and the opportunity to research an organizational leadership challenge within your own organization.

For admission at least 5 years of experience in a leadership role is required.

Niveau N.V.T.
Vorm Part-time
Incompany Nee
Open inschrijving Nee
Kosten €6900
Titulatuur Geen titel
Benodigde taalkennis Nederlands, Engels
Afronding Geen