Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name



Business Administration

Committee Chair

Christina L. Wassenaar, Ph.D.


This study explores the outcomes of emotional exhaustion in servant leadership, a leadership style through which leaders enact influence by serving, empowering, and developing others—that is, 'leading from behind.' Drawing on conservation of resources theory, I explored how servant leadership behaviors may adversely affect the practicing leader through emotional exhaustion and laterally influence the subsequent outcomes of work disengagement and work–family conflict. Additionally, I investigated the moderating influence of self-leadership on the relationship between servant leadership and emotional exhaustion. I tested a moderated mediation model with regression analysis using two independent samples of organizational leaders surveyed at two different time points (Sample 1: N = 79; Sample 2: N = 379). The findings did not support a positive relationship between servant leadership and emotional exhaustion but did support positive relationships between emotional exhaustion and work disengagement, and emotional exhaustion and work–family conflict. Several limitations of the study are discussed, along with implications and future research directions.

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