A CEO’s Perspective on Servant Leadership Adoption: Part 1 – Case Description - CLEO Skip to main content


The purpose of these chapters (Parts 1 and 2) is to show why and how one firm integrated Servant Leadership, among other initiatives, into its growing socially responsible culture, through the eyes of its designing CEO. The firm is a 50-year-old, US nationwide environmental consultancy, which is now 100% employee-owned and a legal “public benefit corporation.” Those governance forms require the company’s board and management to intentionally promote and develop morally bound stakeholder management. In addition to high-performance work practices, e.g., investments in training and engagement, the firm has adopted Servant Leadership as its actuating leadership framework. While the formal introduction of Servant Leadership came after other psychosocial initiatives were introduced, Servant Leadership ended up as the glue binding the social-responsibility commitment within the organization. By all outcome measures, this suite of structures and practices has been successful, for all stakeholders (e.g., employees, clients, the “environment,” and the company itself), with Servant Leadership providing the pivotal moral connection to stakeholder service. Part 1 covers the case description, and Part 2 covers change processes, outcomes, and reflections.