Morse, Alan

Committee Member

Oja, Brent

Committee Member

Iyer, Vish

Committee Member

Merchant, William


College of Natural and Health Sciences; School of Sport and Exercise Science, Sport Administration


University of Northern Colorado

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Greeley, (Colo.)


University of Northern Colorado

Date Created



311 pages

Digital Origin

Born digital


ESPN reported that in the 2016–2017 academic year, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) surpassed $1 billion in revenue (Rovell, 2018). Trends in revenue and business models have caused scholars, educators, and professionals to call for a reform of how collegiate sport organizations are led (Lapchick et al., 2013; Lopiano & Gurney, 2014). Some believe servant leadership (Greenleaf, 1977) is the answer (Burton & Peachey, 2013; Dodd et al., 2018). Research studies on servant leadership in the sporting context have found it has a positive impact on the development of an ethical climate (Achen et al., 2019; Burton et al., 2017; Dodd et al., 2018). Moreover, the literature surrounding the prediction of servant leadership in sports also posited the motivation to serve as a concept that must be discussed when one considers the duality of the servant leader (van Dierendonck & Nuijten, 2011). Lastly, servant leadership in the collegiate sports context has been found to accurately predict levels of trust and job satisfaction (Achen et al., 2019). Using a quantitative survey-based correlational research design, this study sought to ascertain whether there was a significant relationship between an NCAA DIII athletics director’s perceived servant leadership behaviors and their employees’ levels of job satisfaction, affective organizational commitment, employee engagement, harmonious passion, and job pride. Further analysis was performed to determine whether employee perceptions (N = 471) of an athletics director’s motivation to serve accurately predicted said servant leadership behaviors. Lastly, organizational tenure and trust in the organization’s leader were tested as moderators of the relationship between employee outcomes and perceived servant leadership behaviors. Results indicated motivation to serve was a significant predictor of servant leadership behaviors and that both organizational tenure and trust in one’s leader changed the relationship between some of the relationships tested, helping to better explain how perceived leadership behaviors of an NCAA Division III Athletics Director could impact employee attitudinal outcomes.

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