Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

An exploration of the leadership behavior of volunteer leaders
by Bowers, Kristen M., Ed.D., Indiana Wesleyan University, 2012, 186; 3541964
Abstract (Summary)

Civic, social and community service organizations are historically volunteer-led and are unique in their reliance on volunteers leading other volunteers at all levels. Volunteer leaders operate with limited authority and lead volunteers who may not see themselves as followers. While research on nonprofit structure and governance, volunteer satisfaction and motivation, and nonprofit performance measurement has been conducted, there are few studies that investigate the role of volunteers in leadership positions. This study fills that gap by identifying practices unique to leadership that occurs within organizations where both leaders and followers are volunteers. This study was concerned with leadership that occurred within the context of a volunteer-led organization, one in which volunteers filled both operational leadership and governance positions at all levels of the organization. Mixed-method research was used for this study, first using the Leadership Practices Inventory (LPI) to identify leader behaviors of volunteer leaders and to compare those behaviors with current normative LPI data representing paid leaders. The quantitative analysis was followed by semi-structured interviews to further describe the specific behaviors used by volunteer leaders as they practiced leadership. Participants included 75 Kiwanis club presidents from the Indiana District of Kiwanis as the volunteer leaders and 105 Kiwanis club members as observers of those leaders. Analysis of the quantitative data indicated that these volunteer leaders did engage in four of the five leadership practices differently than did paid leaders. Those for which a statistically significant difference was found include Model the Way, Inspire a Shared Vision, Enable Others to Act, and Encourage the Heart. Analysis of the interview data provided descriptions of leadership behaviors for each of the five practices of leadership in a volunteer setting. The author discusses the findings, the relationship of the findings to existing literature, implications for the practice of volunteer leadership, and suggestions for future research.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Drury, Sharon L.
Commitee: Bence, Clarence L., Hamby, William L.
School: Indiana Wesleyan University
Department: Organizational Leadership
School Location: United States -- Indiana
Source: DAI-A 74/02(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Management, Occupational psychology, Organizational behavior
Keywords: Leaders, Leadership, Leadership Practices Inventory, Quantitative research, Volunteerism
Publication Number: 3541964
ISBN: 9781267689559
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