Servant Leadership: Race Organizers, Volunteers, and the Marathon Industry




Sullivan, Amy Jo

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



This thesis describes the use of servant leadership by experienced marathon race organizers. A qualitative study was conducted to reveal how servant leadership principles are present in race organizers’ volunteer programs. Robert K. Greenleaf coined the phrase “servant leadership” in 1970, which describes a leader focusing on the moral, emotional, and relational dimensions of ethical leadership behavior, rather than “competency inputs” or “performance outputs.” In other words, a servant leader/servant organization aims to collaborate with the follower and wants the follower to become more independent, confident, and autonomous. Questions are developed based on the servant leader literature to provide in-depth knowledge of the leaders’ interactions with their volunteers. Findings from the qualitative analysis of the reports will aim to provide insight into helping special events organizations develop and grow a volunteer base, create servant-led events, and improve over organizational performance.



Marathon industry, Volunteerism, Servant leadership