The impact of CEO servant leadership on firm performance in the hospitality industry

Jun Huang, Weiwen Li, Canhua Qiu*, Frederick H K YIM, Junbao Wan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Citations (Scopus)


PurposeThe purpose of this paper is to draw on the theory of servant leadership to examine the influence of chief executive officer (CEO) servant leadership on firm performance in the hospitality industry. It examined the mediating role of the service climate and the moderating role of competitive intensity in the relationship between CEO servant leadership and firm performance. Design/methodology/approachMultiple regression was used to analyze multi-wave, multi-source data from 92 hotels in China. A moderated path analysis was used to test the moderating effects. FindingsCEO servant leadership positively influenced firm performance via the service climate in the hospitality industry. Competitive intensity strengthened the direct effect of the service climate on firm performance, and the indirect effect of CEO servant leadership on firm performance via service climate. Research limitations/implicationsThe findings offer managerial insights into CEO succession, service management and human resource management. Originality/valueThis is one of the first studies to investigate how and when CEO servant leadership might shape firm outcomes in the hospitality industry. Theoretically, the findings enrich our understanding of how CEO leadership might shape firm-level outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)945-968
Number of pages24
JournalInternational Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management

User-Defined Keywords

  • CEO servant leadership
  • Competitive intensity
  • Firm performance
  • Service climate


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