Research Activities

logo SERVUS sept 2013


Our Re/search efforts take a two-pronged approach focusing on supporting student research as well as developing an international network directed by VU Amsterdam.

SERVUS International Association


  • The first SLRP research projects have been completed. Over the coming years, the core SLRP faculty team has the intention to publish SL findings, building on the collective data of this course research.  In some cases individual reports may also be adapted and submitted for publication.

VU BA and MSc student thesis papers on the topic of Servant-Leadership

  • Completed Bachelor and MSc Thesis 2009-2015. BA, MSc or PhD students wishing to initiate research in the area of Servant-Leadership can consult the VU library for full documents.
New PhD Thesis on the subject of Servant-Leadership from Erasmus University Rotterdam
  • Dr. Milton J. Correia de Sousa defended his dissertation “Servant Leadership to the Test” at Erasmus University Rotterdam on Thursday, 12 June 2014. Milton Sousa is one of SERVUS core lecturers in the SLRP postgraduate course. Milton de Sousa is currently Academic Director for the MBA and Executive MBA, and Associate Director for the Executive MBA at Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM).

Recent SL related publications from SERVUS network

  • Bakker, B. (2017), One Bed Two Beliefs | Societal Influences in Every-Day Life of Muslim-(post)Christian Couples in the Netherlands, A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts in Theology and Religious Studies: Specialization; Peace Trauma and Religion at the Faculty of Theology, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

    2017, the Netherlands; religious differences and (the impossibilities of) interreligious co-existence seem to be a central theme to the public discourse. It is linked to a strong split in society, with on the one hand, Muslim communities, and on the other the (post)Christian/non-Muslim communities. Issues such as islamophobia and Right-wing populism increase the wedge between the communities and are potentially threatening social cohesion. While discussions continue in the public sphere, on grassroots level Muslim and (post)Christians intermarry, forming interreligious households. Society’s embroilments are likely to find their way to the private sphere, influencing micro level relationships between Muslim-(post)Christian interreligious love relations. Research generally focused on how religion -as a private matter- influences the public realm. This research turns this question around, and examines how the public influences the private; how influences from society enter the relationship of Muslim-(post)Christian couples, in which situations they ‘pop up’ and how the couples deal with these situations. The author is Britt Bakker, SERVUS Assistant. Summary and contact can be found here.

  • Li Y., Du J., and Van de Bunt S. (2015). Social capital networking in China and the traditional values of Guanxi. In: The political economy of “Wasta”: use and abuse of social capital networking, Ramady, M. (editor), Springer Publishers, forthcoming. Chapter 14.
  • Dierendonck, D. van and Patterson, K. (2015). Compassionate Love as a Cornerstone  of Servant Leadership: An Integration of Previous Theorizing and Research, Journal of Business Ethics, (128): 119-131.
  • Bunt-Kokhuis, S. van de, & Ngambi, H.C. (2014). Leadership Values in Africa and Implications for Online Learning Communities. In Goldman Schuyler, K. (editor), Leading with Spirit, Presence and Authenticity. Jossey-Bass Publishers. San Francisco, 157-178.

    In this book chapter the authors have compared SL with African leadership as it is grounded in the Ubuntu philosophy. In their research, the applicability of SL in the African virtual workplace is examined, given the high-touch needs for empowerment, motivation, and unlocking talent potential among African online learners. They have shown how the values of traditional African Ubuntu communities can inspire leaders dedicated to serve in online learning communities. It is shown how high-tech tools and formats change the way stories are told and perceived, and how transcultural communication can be enhanced by digital storytelling and dialogue.
    For a review of the overall book, see the review by Lilian Salomons. 
  • Bunt-Kokhuis, van de, S. & Trompenaars, F. (2014). Servant-Leadership. Unlocking human potential in (e) organizations. ABRI Business in Society Magazine, (2): 58-59.

    In this article the authors highlighted recent SL research regarding the virtual workplace. In the digital world of work the meaning of trust, social inclusion, empathy and unlocking talent potential play a critical role. The challenge of both leading and serving becomes even more pronounced in the virtual workplace, where face-to-face communication is lacking. For example, in the online classroom, more than ever before, teachers need to be able to listen, encourage awareness, give feedback, care for distance learners individually, and build a robust learning community. This calls for a compassionate kind of leader who is able to connect high-tech values (technology-mediated learning, multimedia infrastructure) with “high-touch” values (contact, human interaction, commitment to the growth of others, healing).
  • Bunt-Kokhuis, van de S.& R. Peshawaria (2014). The Brains, Bones and Nerves of Servant-Leadership, REAMS Journal, University Campus Suffolk, 2. June (1) 2.
  • Nuijten, I. (2014). Echte Leiders Dienen. Voor leiders die het verschil maken. Academic Service. 
  • Correia de Sousa, M., & Van Dierendonck, D. (2010). Knowledge workers, servant leadership and the search for meaning in knowledge-driven organizations. On the Horizon, (18): 230–239.