Review the models of stewardship presented by Wilson (2016) and Block (1993).
Choose either the Wilson or Block model and in narrative form, explain the selected model and critique it to justify your choice.
Then analyse the potential benefits and challenges that might occur upon employing either the Wilson or Block model (your choice) to your organizational setting.
Your paper should include a discussion of key elements of the model of stewardship chosen in addition to analyzing the potential benefits and challenges posed by employing the model in your organizational setting. If you do not currently work in an organizational setting, choose an organizational setting with which you are familiar for your analysis
Overview of Stewardship Models
Kent Wilson’s presents a historical and biblical model of stewardship. Most Christians think that servant leadership is the modest and best leadership model, but Wilson presents it differently. According to him, servant leadership is a subset of steward leadership. Kent Wilson defines stewardship as the control and management of resources that belong to another individual so as to meet the owner’s objectives or goals (Robinson, 2017). He continues further to extinguish between non-profit and business models of stewardship. This is because, the principal identity of a non-profit leader is to act as a steward of resources belonging to other peoples (Wilson, 2010). This means that steward leadership is the best model for non-profit leaders.
The historical roles of stewards present in the Greco Roman world are well described and exposed. On this, the nine characteristics that apply to contemporary management are outlined. Next, Dr. Kent exposes the biblical integration with leadership. In this, he shows how the biblical model of stewardship differs from the classical approach. One element that is a requisite in both systems is trustworthy on the people managed (Wilson, 2010). For example, Wilson argues that Biblical stewards are accountable and answerable to God. This is by ruling as in the image of God, which is the set divine pattern of the divine owner. In conclusion, the clarity of how Wilson presents the different stewardship models generates a persuasive case for stewardship leadership.
Block (1993) defines stewardship as the choice to officiate the precise distribution of power. It’s the willingness to accountability without compliance. Block’s models of stewardship are focused towards how institutions are governed and managed. According to Block, stewardship begins with accountability to a larger body such as an organization, team or community. More emphasis is made on service over self-interest which is a model of stewardship, since being genuinely accountable means not being in control of the world around us (Block, 1993). Therefore, a level of trust is needed. As a commitment to service, the accountability model requires the application of good parenting as a type of governance.
Secondly, we have partnership which is a stronger cousin to patriarchy. Genuine services require people to act on their account. However, partnerships are fundamental in governing the growth of institutions. It includes major elements such as exchange of purpose, absolute honesty, mutual accountability and the right to say no. In partnerships, there should be contact without control since it’s not all about getting our way (Block, 1993). Block also focusses on choosing adventure over safety as a model of stewardship. Individuals are empowered to be in positions that help them discover themselves and define their purpose. However, empowerment without commitment can be devastating. This is because an employee is given the mandate to become the creator of their position in the organization.
Kent Wilson's Historical and Biblical Model of Stewardship
Selected model: Choosing service over self-interest.
According to Block (1993), stewardship calls for the trust of those in leadership positions. This model requires leaders to place service ahead of their self-interests. This is because for a leader to serve effectively and efficiently, he or she should give up control. This model borrows from Gandhi’s elements of service based on power, and they include;
- Contribution is considered our humanity.
- Power can only be granted from those below.
- What may be true is known by all parties involved.
Over the years, leaders who implement this model are held in high regard (McKinney, 2014). They are sought for guidance and direction since they are believed to be competent and knowledgeable. One such custodian of this model happens to be in the fifth century BC. This was a time that the Roman army was surrounded and there was a need for a leader who could lead the country into victory hence seizing the moment. The Roman army chose a farmer known as Cincinnatus to guide them. Cincinnatus came and conquered and gained fame for his devotion to his country. This is a perfect example that demonstrates how the legendary hero gave his all in a time of crisis for his country (McKinney, 2014). Even after the task, the gentleman gave up the reins of power and went back to farming.
Also, George Washington, the first president of America exemplifies this type of stewardship model. George Washington is considered an aristocratic leader, and when called to defend the interest of his nation, he arose to challenge all odds (McKinney, 2014). This was during the American war of independence. After leading his nation for about two terms, he resigned and went back to his agricultural endeavors. This means that he was not after the position but after the interests and welfare of the people of America.
True leadership is primarily a selfless action. This is because the needs of others are put first. It takes other people into account at the expense of one’s pressing needs (McKinney, 2014). Choosing service over self-interest considers what is best for the broader interest. I believe this model of stewardship from Peter Block is one of the best models that can bring a positive change to an organization. Considering the needs of others is what pertains to love and respect (Hernandez, 2008). For example, when a driver is driving a car responsibly by observing the rules and regulations required, this means he or she cares about the lives of his or her passengers. This is what we call selflessness and by adhering to that ensures the needs of others come first. Even for organizations, customers are regarded as the most crucial stakeholders since meeting their needs and wants forms the basis for the organization’s operations (Russell & Gregory Stone, 2002).
Block's Model of Choosing Service over Self-interest
In the organization I am based in, the leadership of the departments is separated in the form of different job groups including engineers, accountants, procurement officers, and other job groups. The organization follows a functional type of organization setting. The organization can achieve major benefits if it employs/ incorporates the service over self-interest stewardship model. To begin with, we have increased productivity. By focusing more on its employees and also ensuring they are well compensated, the employees can be motivated to provide their best input (Joseph & Winston, 2005). In addition, the inclusion of employee participation in crucial decisions can ensure the employee interests are met hence prompting increased productivity.
Secondly, we have low turnover rates. Giving recognition to all employees through respecting their diverse needs and wants will ensure the employees have no reason to leave the company (Russell & Gregory Stone, 2002). In addition, putting the needs of employees first will portray the selflessness of the organization which is a crucial aspect in ensuring the organization soars high. Its brand image will also get better hence guaranteeing the competitive advantage of the organization.
Lastly, we have excellent communication. Communication is a crucial tool in the productivity and performance of every organization (Mallett-Hamer, 2005). However, it is dependent on the flow from the top management to the lower management. By employing the model and ensuring the organization is more focused on service rather its greedy interests, the organization will be able to coordinate different functions across its employees both effectively and efficiently. This will, in turn, lead to improved productivity within the organization.
Employing service over self-interest in a functional organization setting can prompt different challenges within the organization setting. Since I work in an organization that has adopted a functional organizational setting, the challenges that might be experienced include; One, we have the inability of achieving more with less. Focusing only on service without involving self-interest brings around the question, how can make ensure productivity with the increased consumer demand and fewer employees? Due to cost pressures, questions of innovation, and sustainability, it would be challenging to always focus on the personal interest of each stakeholder and be able to meet their exact needs (Block, 1993).
Secondly, we have creating commitment and passion among employees. Since the organization differentiates leadership in terms of specialty, creating enthusiasm among the employees in order to take responsibility for the success of the company can be a challenge. Since the employees need to assume their roles as “owners” of the organization, creating a workplace that stimulates commitment might allow the company to achieve more (Block, 1993). For the model to bring success, each employee needs to believe that he or she is a crucial component since the model offers spirit and choice to employees in order that they can deliver the same to the market.
Lastly, adapting to the customer's requirements will be a challenge. Since the company has adopted a structure that employees are dedicated to a particular function, employing the model so as to allow employees work in a team to achieve the needs of the customers or to adapt to their requirements might be a challenge. This is because responsiveness goes deeper than just a friendly voice, welcoming website or positive attitude (Lapointe & Vandenberghe, 2018). Customers want to have more influence over what they want or need hence, focusing selflessly on in the customers interests might be difficult at first for the employees.
Block, P. (1993). Stewardship: Choosing service over self-interest. Berrett-Koehler Publishers.
Hernandez, M. (2008). Promoting stewardship behavior in organizations: A leadership model. Journal of business ethics, 80(1), 121-128.
Joseph, E. E., & Winston, B. E. (2005). A correlation of servant leadership, leader trust, and organizational trust. Leadership & Organization Development Journal, 26(1), 6-22.
Lapointe, É., & Vandenberghe, C. (2018). Examination of the relationships between servant leadership, organizational commitment, and voice and antisocial behaviors. Journal of Business Ethics, 148(1), 99-115.
Mallett-Hamer, B. (2005). Communication within the Workplace. University of Wisconsin-Stout.
McKinney, M. (2014). The Focus of Leadership | Service | Servant Leadership @ Leadership Now. Retrieved from https://www.leadershipnow.com/service.html/
Robinson, N. (2017). Book Review: Steward Leadership in the Nonprofit Organization.
Retrieved from https://asistasjourney.com/2017/02/14/book-review-steward-leadership-in-the-nonprofit-organization/ Russell, R. F., & Gregory Stone, A. (2002). A review of servant leadership attributes:
Developing a practical model. Leadership & Organization Development Journal, 23(3),145-157.
Wilson, K. (2010). Steward Leadership: Characteristics of The Steward Leader In Christian Nonprofit Organizations. Retrieved from https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/5e83/15f4a8558f3809f86fc565ba865e34f5d57d.pdf
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