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Evidence behind the exhortation? A rapid review of servant leadership’s influence and claims in healthcare over the last decade


Servant leadership is an other-oriented approach to leadership with multiple positive outcomes. However, its influence in the context of medicine, particularly on healthcare leaders, is less clear. We conducted a rapid review to examine the impact of servant leadership in healthcare over the last decade. We included a total of 28 articles, 26 of which described beneficial organisational, relational and personal outcomes of servant leadership. However, most of these were either conceptual or opinion-based articles. Moreover, most quantitative studies were cross-sectional, precluding causal inferences. Our review demonstrates that the purported positive association between servant leadership and healthcare outcomes lacks a strong evidence base. We conclude by calling for more rigorous empirical research to examine the effects and potential challenges of implementing servant leadership in healthcare contexts.

  • medical leadership
  • health system
  • organisational effectiveness
  • outcome
  • doctor

Data availability statement

Data sharing not applicable as no datasets generated and/or analysed for this study.

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