International Journal of Servant-Leadership

The International Journal of Servant-Leadership (IJSL) is published by Gonzaga University in collaboration with the Spears Center for Servant-Leadership. Full text PDFs of the entire IJSL archives are available here

In the discipline of leadership studies, many leadership theorists view servant-leadership as the most compelling and profound answer to the fast-paced, change-oriented climate of the present age. Robert K. Greenleaf, former vice president of AT&T, was a scholar, essayist, and leader with uncommon wisdom. Greenleaf's servant-leadership is one of the most important and influential leadership theories of our time and his definition of the servant-leader remains a significant challenge for all who pursue leadership.

The purpose of The International Journal of Servant-Leadership is to publish cutting-edge essays, theory, and research that will further the influence of servant-leadership globally, in the scientific community, in the world of business, political inquiry, and social justice, as well as across the academic disciplines.

  • The journal reflects the ideals of educating the whole person, living a life of personal courage and moral discernment, and striving to be a person for others in order to help heal the heart of humanity.
  • The journal is founded on Greenleaf’s notion that the true test of a servant-leader is that those around the servant-leader become more healthy, more wise, more free, more autonomous, and better able themselves to become servants; and the least privileged of society are benefited or at least not further deprived.
  • The journal is devoted to the elegance, beauty and art of a servant-led way of life, and the legitimate power that accompanies servant-leadership. In this spirit, we welcome a wide variety of essays, practice-oriented, theoretical, or research articles for consideration. The IJSL is a peer-reviewed publication.

Our journal has been honored with a profound international publication history. We have four anthologies, published with critically acclaimed scholarly presses. Many of the chapters in these anthologies first appeared as articles in the IJSL:

In a world where leaders and organizations face global pandemics and power conflicts, gender dualism still prevails be it in the East or West. Gender stereotyping and the glass ceiling continue to affect humanity’s conceptualizations of leadership. Servant-Leadership, Feminism, and Gender Well-Being (release soon) offers grace, strength, and hope by providing evidence of servant-leaders crossing gender boundaries and integrating gendered traits and behaviors. Feminist ways of knowing, honoring both feminine and masculine giftedness, deepen the holistic foundation of servant-leadership. By integrating female perspectives with male perspectives, a paradigm shift in leadership theory through avenues inherent to servant-leadership can move organizations from hierarchy-driven, rules-based, and authoritative models to value-driven, follower-oriented, and participative models. 


In a fresh and profound approach to the personal, organizational, and global dynamic, discerning leaders consider the role of leadership and forgiveness in the midst of political and social upheaval. The epicenter of Servant-Leadership and Forgiveness: How Leaders Help Heal the Heart of the World speaks to leadership, the heart of the leader, and the power of forgiveness. It is a compilation of insightful, life-transformative, and significant essays on the nexus of servant-leadership and forgiveness in everyday life, the organizational world, and international contexts. The hope of the book is that people of all ages and creeds will engage in a deeper conversation around forgiveness and leadership, specifically servant-leadership, and reach greater personal and collective responsibility for leadership that helps heal the heart of the world through forgiveness. See the news release here.


In Global Servant-Leadership: Wisdom, Love and Legitimate Power in the Age of Chaosleadership scholars and practitioners from around the globe share their insights on servant-leadership philosophy, representing diverse contexts and cultures, and reflecting a variety of approaches to servant-leadership through cutting-edge research, conceptual models, and practice-oriented case studies. The contributors to this collection address some of the most significant leadership challenges of the twenty-first century to reveal a path toward more healthy and sustainable individuals, families, organizations, and nations. This book challenges not only the rigidly held assumptions of traditional, hierarchical leadership approaches, but provides an antidote to the cynicism so often present within workplaces, political struggles, and individual and family crises of contemporary polarized nation states. See the news release here.

In a world where organizations and leaders face conflicts and complexity at an alarming rate, where human cruelty sometimes dominates kindness in individuals and families, and where nations hover in the shadow of moral and financial collapse, how do we find courage to forge a strong and enduring path into the future? In Conversations on Servant-Leadership: Insights on Human Courage in Life and Work fourteen of the world’s foremost thought leaders consider the role of leadership, love, and power in the midst of political and social upheaval. Included are interviews with former president of the Philippines Corazon Aquino; servant-leaders Margaret Wheatley, Ken Blanchard, George Zimmer, and James Autry; and others. They engage the significant leadership questions of our time and reveal an uncommon and life-affirming path toward families, organizations, and nations imbued with generosity and meaning. See more information here.


The Associate Editor of the IJSL is Jiying Song, Ph.D., PMP, MDiv, former Operation Director of an IT company in China and Assistant Professor at Northwestern College.

The Senior Advisory Editor of the IJSL is Larry C. Spears, CEO of the Spears Center for Servant-Leadership and Servant-Leadership Scholar of the Gonzaga University School of Leadership Studies.

The Editor of the IJSL is Shann Ray Ferch, Ph.D., Professor of Leadership with the Doctoral Program in Leadership Studies at Gonzaga University.

The journal’s Advisory and Contributing Authors Board includes scholars and leaders of deep influence throughout the world.

The Doctoral Program in Leadership Studies, M.A. in Organizational Leadership, M.A. in Communication and Leadership Studies, and the Comprehensive Leadership Program at Gonzaga employ servant-leadership as central to the process of forming the interior depth of the self in community with others.

ISSN (Print) 2160-8164 - ISSN (Online) 2160-8172


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