Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Perceived critical issues for future sustainability in Tulsa, Oklahoma nonprofits: A Delphi study
by Marlar, Lou Ann, Ph.D., Oklahoma State University, 2014, 123; 3641401
Abstract (Summary)

Although much has been written about the need for more research in the field of sustainability in the nonprofit sector, specific theory, practice and research in perceived critical issues have not yet been identified. This study addressed this need. It used a mixed methodology of a three-round Delphi with an open first round of input followed by 2 additional rounds using structured rating and ranking responses from a panel of 9 experts. This methodology was used to identify critical issues affecting nonprofit sustainability by experts who were focused or were participatory in Tulsa, Oklahoma nonprofits. Delphi panelists prioritized categories of sustainability issues and also specific issues within each category. They rated and ranked both categories and individual issues within each category as to their importance to nonprofit sustainability. The study was underpinned by Scharmer's Theory U, which served as the viewpoint and structuring model for the Delphi and its interpretation.

Nonprofit organizations need a more effective procedure for gaining foresight of critical issues that impact their sustainability. This study suggested that Theory U future-oriented thinking coupled with Delphi methodology can give rise to sustainability solutions in the social sector. The study identified the following as the most critical categories of issues for nonprofit sustainability as perceived by an expert panel: Leadership, Governance, Funding Structure, Entrepreneurship, and Partnerships/Collaborations. The study also concluded that the combination of Theory U thinking plus Delphi methodology was efficacious as a model for continued exploration by nonprofits of sustainability issues and solutions. A major recommendation was that nonprofits continue to apply this combination of theory and methodology in their continued development of viable sustainability planning.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Ausburn, Lynna
Commitee: Cole, Belinda, Harris, Ed, Krumm, Bernita
School: Oklahoma State University
Department: Education (all programs)
School Location: United States -- Oklahoma
Source: DAI-A 76/02(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Communication, Regional Studies, Sustainability
Keywords: Critical issues, Delphi, Nonprofits, Sustainability, Theory u
Publication Number: 3641401
ISBN: 978-1-321-27560-5
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