Dr. Jim Laub developed the OLA instrument in 1999 to assess organizational health through an intensive research project that produced a comprehensive model of servant leadership applied to organizational life.
The constructs for this model were established through a Delphi research process utilizing a panel of 14 experts in the field of servant leadership. These experts included Jim Kouzes, Larry Spears, Ann McGee-Cooper, Lea Williams, Dr. Ted Ward along with nine others who had published or taught at the University level on the subject of servant leadership. Through a 3-part Delphi process these experts came to consensus on the characteristics of the servant-minded leader/organization, which were then clustered into the current six disciplines of servant leadership along with their eighteen descriptors.
These constructs were then used to write the 60 items which make up the current OLA instrument. The OLA is an assessment of the total organization (not an individual leader) and was designed to be taken by people from all levels including top Leaders, managers and workforce. This provides for a compelling view of the perception match (or gap) between these position levels.
The OLA was originally field tested with 41 different organizations involving 823 people. This field test, along with the ongoing research being conducted using the OLA, has provided for strong psychometric properties of validity and reliability. It is an instrument that can be trusted to measure the organizations perceptions of organizational health within a conceptual framework of servant leadership. The OLA has been used with over 1000 organizations with over 30,000 respondents.
In addition to the 60 OLA items, the instrument also contains a six-item job satisfaction scale. This scale provides a view of the different levels of job satisfaction being experienced by the workforce, the managers and the top leaders of the organization.
The OLA has been utilized in over 75 doctoral dissertations and Masters theses providing for a strong Research base for the instrument. In addition to research, it is also being used for the diagnosis of organizational health, assisting organizations in their quest for greater performance in fulfilling their mission within a servant mindset.
Development of the Organizational Leadership Assessment (OLA) Instrument – 30 p. article