Dissertation example : WAYS OF MANAGING AMONG CEOs IN NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATIONS
WAYS OF MANAGING AMONG CEOs IN NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATIONS
Both for-profit and non-profit organizations have many similarities in their management approaches. However, there are differences between the ways of managing as they have different missions. A review of the existing literature indicated that scholars have not paid significant attention to the lived experiences of leaders of non-profit organizations with experiences in managing non-profit and profit-oriented organizations. The focus of this study was to bridge that gap. Precisely, the purpose of the research report was to understand and describe the lived experiences of Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) of non-profit organizations with experience in managing both non-profit and for-profit organizations. A qualitative research method and transcendental phenomenological research design were used to collect primary data from 10 CEOs of non-profit organizations based in Houston Metropolitan, Texas. The data collected from the respondents was clustered into themes using a software program called Transana Diagnostic Software (Transana Diagnostic Software). The major themes derived from the data were perspectivess, various intelligences that influence management style, need for continual development, shared decision-making, leadership through service, need to prepare for the future and leadership activation. The results about the lived experiences of the CEOs will be helpful in enabling leaders of non-profit organizations to understand the positive and negative experiences of managing such organizations. Since the leaders will learn about the experiences, they will be in a position to devise strategies to counter challenges associated with managing their organizations.
I dedicate my dissertation work to my family and many friends. First, I have a special feeling of gratitude towards my loving parents, Albert and Fatu Kamara, who gave me encouragement and different support throughout. My darling wife, Esther Kamara, and children, Jenny, Joy, Esmatu, and Albert, have never left my side and are very special.
I also dedicate this dissertation to my many friends and church family who have supported me throughout the process. I will always appreciate all the assistance, especially from Dr. Patrick Muana, for helping me to develop my technology skills; Ruthie Coleman-Lister, for the many hours of proofreading; and Anthony Kamara, for helping me to master the leader dots.
I dedicate this work and give special thanks to my best friend Philip Koroma for being there for me throughout the entire doctorate program. All of you have been my best compatriots.
I give thanks to God the Almighty for making it possible for me to reach this wonderful milestone in my life. I would like to express my immense appreciation to Dr. Gordon Myer, my Dissertation Committee chair. As my guide and content expert, he provided insight, appropriate redirection, and endorsement. I extend special recognition to Dr. Luciana Crawford-Starks and Dr. Ruth Grendell, dedicated members of my dissertation advisory team. My thanks goes as well to Dr. Patrick Muana, my side mentor who espoused me to stand firm in attaining my dream, and my beloved wife Esther N. Kamara, and wonderful kids, for their continual support, understanding, and enthusiasm throughout this tedious journey. I also extend thanks to my dear mother who is absent today but has been relentlessly was praying for me so I could attain my dream. With immense gratitude, I recognize the many individuals in the non-profit community whose participation and shared passion for this study made its completion possible.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Both for-profit and non-profit organizations have many similarities in terms of management and business strategies. However, there must be differences between the ways of managing as they have different missions, which may instigate the challenges and problems related to managing the organizations. The primary purpose of the research report in this paper was to understand and describe the lived experiences of Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) relative to managing non-profit organizations, using transcendental phenomenological methodology with both non-profit organizations and for-profit organizations experience.
The main purpose of this study was to describe the lived experiences of CEOs with both non-profit and for-profit organizational experience regarding ways of managing these organizations. Using transcendental phenomenological method helped to understand the first-hand experiences of CEOs in management. Using transcendental phenomenological approach helped to solicit the respondents to give their positive and negative experiences when managing both profit and non-profit organizations, as described in this dissertation. The results about the lived experiences of the CEOs will be helpful in enabling leaders of non-profit organizations to understand the positive and negative experiences of managing such organizations. As such, they will be in a position to devise strategies to counter challenges associated with managing their organizations.
Covering virtually many organizations, ranging from schools, professional service establishments, hospitals, and social service organizations, non-profit organizations have proven to instigate significant changes in social, economic, and political settings (Hudson, 2003). They have improved the lives of individuals or members of organizations, organizations themselves, and communities. Studies have shown there are numerous leaders around the world working for non-profit organizations (Helmig, 2004; Roberts, 2004). A question emerges in both the academic and professional world, whether the business strategies employed in managing these organizations are any different from those in the for-profit sector.
In a survey conducted by Austin (2007) on Harvard Business School Alumni and CEOs of 316 fortune 500 companies, most of Harvard graduates (81%) reported involvement in non-profit organizations in their careers. In addition, a smaller percentage (57%) reported that they were serving as part of board of directors for non-profit organizations. A research study conducted by Cambridge University Press (2011) also supported this finding. The size of the non-profit organizations varied from the smallest community establishments to the huge multibillion-dollar organizations. The business management skills in non-profit organizations CEOs have similarities with those employed in for-profit organizations (Ali-Choudhury, Bennett, & Mousley, 2008). They seem to have lost the sight of their primary mission, which was to realize communal social services objectives. As Jackson and Donovan (2009) recommended, these organizations must keep their eyes on their goals, which brings about leadership and strategies. In absence of the profit and loss accounts discipline, developing these organizations’ mission and evaluating their progress is a hard and demanding task. In addition, neither creating the organization’s mission nor trailing its performance is easy. However, there must be differences between the ways of managing between profit-oriented and non-profit organizations as they have different missions, which may influence the kind of challenges and problems they encounter during management process. The current study analyzes the lived experiences of executives with both for-profit and non-profit organizational experience in the Houston metropolitan area. The transcendental phenomenological approach used in this study helped participants to retrieve and relate experiences.
This chapter contains several sections regarding the basis for this study. The first section provides information about background and problem statement related to the topic addressed in the study. The next several sections includes an explanation of the purpose and significance of the study, the research question, theoretical background supporting and guiding the research, the assumptions made during the study, the limitations and delimitations experienced when conducting the study and definitions and explanations of the important terms present in the paper. The chapter concludes with a summary and introduction to Chapter 2.
Background of the Problem
In the for-profit organization domain, an economist might argue that the main purpose, objective, and mission of an organization’s establishment was to achieve a return on the capitalized assets for the owners. However, it is vital to realize these for-profit organizations provide other services related to employment, contributions to the communities, and tax support for the states. The non-profit organizations operate in the space between for-profit and government services. The absence of discipline, especially with matters dealing with government issues and financial markets calls for demystification (Wendroff, 2004). As Mersland (2011) postulated, this is the effective allocation of financial resources and efficient monitoring of use of funds.
There are many similarities between both non-profit and for-profit, leading to the question on whether their business strategies in managing differ. To put this notion to light, organizations can grow and develop, can transform, can affiliate and merge, and can die. In addition, success is not guaranteed, and in order to achieve good performance, sustained work is essential (Spillan, 2003).
There is paramount importance to understand that leadership revolves around everything in either a for-profit business or a non-profit organization. Cash is valuable to both, and even more important, good management and leadership are determinants of good performance. All revolve around delivery of services, motivation, inspiration, and empowerment of staff. New directions for growth are always vital. Both for-profit and non-profit organizations begin at a small size. Through effective leadership and focusing at meeting specific objectives, they proliferate to become industrial giants, as argued by Spillan (2003).
What makes this a matter of concern for leaders and managers is that organizations, whether for-profit or non-profit, view budgeting, planning, and performance management as vital components of organization’s survival. As Ohara (2005) explained, this is because both face challenges regarding integration of the subject of professionalism in a generalist approach. In economic and social terms, both add value to the communities in which they operate and even outside these communities in varying ways, as noted by Kolin (2009). There are many overlaps regarding the required skills and competencies and the perspectives that leaders avail in both types of organizations. That is the main reason there are many social-enterprise courses in education institutions (Shenkman, 2007). Interestingly, these courses have a substantial role in business schools.
The current study brings out the existing similarities and differences between managing profit-oriented and non-profit organizations from CEOs’ perspectives. Understanding the similarities and differences in leadership concerning the functions of the board of directors of an organization is important, a fact that Letts, Ryan, and Grossman (2009) noted. Boards of directors ought to understand there are substantial similarities and differences between the business strategies of leading for- profit and non-profit organizations (Letts et al., 2009). Failure to observe the demands associated with managing non-profit organizations can lead to substantial mistrust, hence, ushering in unfavorable business operations (Letts et al., 2009).
Understanding the mission of the organization and working towards its achievement and adaptation to the prevailing business environment is core, especially in relation to management and governance (Pfeiffer, 2001). Without a mission, there is usually no purpose of existence. Some organizations have their missions, which they are ethically mandated and somehow compelled to accomplish. Organizations base their missions on their business strategies. A non-profit organization’s board must define its mission and performance against the mission of existence, just as the for-profit businesses do (Goleman, 2006).
The above background has shown that for-profit and non-profit types of organizations have similarities and differences in terms of management and business strategies. However, just like in the for-profit organizations, some non-profit organizations have failed to resolve issues related to employee unacceptable behaviors, employee discipline, and ethics, leading to low performance, as Bansal (2012) argued. Effective management and leadership are determinants of good performance. New directions for growth are always vital. Failure to have effective leadership and management focusing at meeting effective objectives implies that a non-profit organization’s operations may eventually fail, as argued by Spillan (2003). The goal of this transcendental phenomenological study was to understand the experiences of the leaders in relation to management of non-profit organizations. The study helps to illuminate the differences in ways of managing adopted in non-profit organizations.
The Purpose of the Study
The main purpose of this transcendental phenomenological study was to describe the lived experiences of CEOs with both non-profit and for-profit organizations regarding ways of managing these organizations. The results will be vital in providing knowledge to leaders in non-profit organizations on ways of managing their organizations. Precisely, leaders of non-profit organizations can understand whether their experiences are common to all leaders across their sector or not. They can also discern the experiences different from the experiences of leaders working in profit-oriented organizations. In addition, leaders of non-profit organizations will understand their mandate in managing their experiences and focus on making and meeting effective objectives and goals. Importantly, leaders of non-profit organizations can understand the challenges and problems experienced in managing their organizations, implying that they can come up with more effective decisions than before. The results of this study are of most relevance to new leaders and leaders who shift from for-profit to non-profit organizations. In addition, the study contributes to the existing pool of knowledge on ways of managing non-profit or for-profit organizations for any future CEOs who might find themselves in these organizations. The results of the study are a vital reference by researchers in future.
Significance of the Problem
Prior studies have shown similarities and differences in the way of managing among profit-oriented and non-profit organizations, a fact that Helmig (2004) reinforced. However, many non-profit organizations have used for-profit strategies of managing, and they have benefited from their utilization. Although, there may exist exceptions, especially when a competitive mindset seems appropriate for the non-profit organization, many leaders in charge of these organizations do not utilize such a for-profit-based approach (Gardner, 2007). As such, applying strategies created for the for-profit world in the non-profit organizations needs care, not only to create these business strategies, but also to measure the efficiency of the strategies and that of organization. The ways of managing among CEOs for non-profit organizations have been under-researched. Comprehending the differences in business strategies helps to bring into light the way of managing these organizations, and helps leaders in the industry to know how best to achieve efficiency (Gardner, 2007). There is a need to understand how management of non-profit organizations is similar or different from the management of profit-oriented organizations. Importantly, it is vital to understand the unique challenges faced by leaders in non-profit organizations.
The focus of this transcendental phenomenological research was to answer the following research question:
Scholars have not paid adequate attention to the lived experiences of leaders of non-profit organizations with experiences in managing both profit-oriented and non-profit organizations and thus, answering the question will help to fill the gap.
A comprehensive literature review provided a foundation for theoretical framework and research perspectives and offered multiple intelligences theory developed by Walker (2003) and emotional intelligence theory developed by Goleman (2005) as areas relevant to leadership in current-day non-profit organizations, regarding phenomenological perspective. Vail (2006) provided a theoretical framework within which a researcher incorporates other relevant literature to establish a legitimized, peer-accepted base for the inquiry, and substantiate the study rationale.
The study process consisted an overview of organizational theories and philosophies reflecting the evolving field of leadership, including the notion of stewardship (Blanchard & Hodges, 2003), servant leadership (Greenleaf & Spears, 2002), and the influence of effective leadership (Bass, 2007; Wren, 2005) upon organizational performance, and addressed the necessity of continual learning in many business settings. The multiple intelligences theory provided a foundation for the specific review of Meyer and Salovey (2005) and expansion into the realm of emotional intelligence by Goleman (2005). Being a fluid area dependent on the practitioner’s continual refinement, the perspective of Vail (2006) on leadership served as an integration point as it underscores the opportunity to transfer the study results directly to practice.
The current study topic relates to several disciplines and theoretical foundations, including multiple intelligences, emotional intelligence, organization and management theory, human resource management, and various leadership philosophies. Also, the study was influenced by a theory developed by Moustakas (1994), which posited that in human science research, qualitative research that adopts phenomenological approach is the best to use because it centers its focus on the entirety of experience, probes into the importance of experiences, and looks at experience and behavior as a unique feature inseparable from the phenomenon studied. In a transcendental study, researchers place emphasis in the uniqueness of the wholeness feature to a transcendental approach as related a phenomenological perspective.
There were four assumptions relied on in this study. The first was that the participants were credible in their responses to the intensive three-part interview process. The second was that the data gained from this limited study would yield results that would serve as a legitimate representation of ways of managing present within the study population. The third assumption was this study would be of greatest use for the unique population of leaders operating in non-profit organizational settings, and will directly benefit Houston metropolitan area in Texas. The final assumption associated with this study was that the participants would demonstrate leadership behaviors. As O’Hara (2005) argued, non-profit leaders have a higher level of leadership strength and emotional intelligence than for-profit leaders.
Forty screening interviews and ten study participants were conducted. Although the study utilized Siedman’s (2008) three-interview series (which provided for in-depth insight into the participants’ lived experiences) and content analysis procedures, it did not incorporate qualified instruments, such as 360-degree surveys. A mixed-method approach might realize different results. There was expectation that study participants would respond with integrity, and that all individuals were properly qualified to reflect on the arena of non-profit leadership. Further, there was an assumption that participants possessed interest in bettering the non-profit community, and cultivating other leaders. The study was an example of applied descriptive research, it involved use of qualitative research approach, and its stated purpose in the study was to describe management in leadership behavior among non-profit executives.
A key limitation of the study was sourcing information only from CEOs in Houston, Texas. In evaluating the organizations, 100 non-profit establishments were selected. However, only CEOs with over 3 years of experience
In addition, the study parameters covered only the Houston metropolitan geographic area. Therefore, the results of the study provide firsthand information regarding running these organizations in Houston. Every CEO involved in the study, as assumed above, knew the topic since the focus was only on the non-profit organization that succeeded, as rated by the American Institute for Philanthropy and the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance.
The current study took a qualitative approach and focused on determining what the participants think. Given that the study focused on participants from Houston Metropolitan area only, outcomes of future studies related to the current one may differ. Consistency and reliability of the responses gathered were dependent on the honesty of the participants, among other factors.
The subjects in this study had a recorded and observable journey of success in the sector. However, they were free to engage in the interview. The data collected was about their personal lived experiences in ways of managing non-profit organizations, providing the probability of possessing variances in their responses. The time taken for the response was the same, but the duration of unstructured discussions was contingent on the participants. Chapter 3 addresses the methods of data collection used.
Definition of Terms
Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) – CEO is the primary leader of an organization, the participants in this study (Fernsler, 2001).
Credibility- The truth-value or credibility of conclusions in a qualitative study is comparable to the concept of internal validity in quantitative research (Lincoln & Guba, 2009).
Conformability– Assumes that the findings reflect the participants’ perspectives as evidenced in the data, rather than reflect the researcher’s own perceptions or bias (Lincoln & Guba, 2009).
Dependability– Similar to the concept of reliability in quantitative research, dependability refers to whether or not the results of the studyfollow time and across researchers (Lincoln & Guba, 2009; Miles & Huberman, 2010).
Leadership– The term refers to the administering and organizing activities and events through management and inspiration in a structured environment (Daft, 2005).
Not-for-profits / Non-profit – These are establishments, which, under government guidelines, improve social, cultural, and health status without monetary compensation for the service (Dym & Hutson, 2006).
Sample size– The number and magnitude of observation utilized in calculating the estimates of a specific population, as narrated by Creswell (2008).
Transferability– Similar to the concept of external validity in quantitative studies, transferability seeks to determine if the results relate to other contexts and can reflect in other contexts (Lincoln & Guba, 2009; Miles & Huberman, 2010).
The information in this chapter provided an overview and background of the content of the study in the paper and gave insight into the differences between for-profit and non-profit organizations. The background of the topic introduced the purpose of the study and its importance in the prevailing and future social and economic setup. The chapter comprised of an overview of the study intentions and dimensions through incorporating the problem statement and the participant sample. The chapter consisted of the main method of conducting the research, and the phenomenology methodology. The section also comprised of research question, the significance of the study, limitations, scope, delimitations, and definition of important terms, providing a foundation for the subsequent chapters. The literature review in the following chapter includes a presentation of theories and philosophies related to management and leadership of non-profit and the for-profit sector. In addition, the information in Chapter 2 reveals the existing gaps in the literature, which is the justification for conducting the study.
This chapter contains previous literature that relates to this study, examining ways of managing among executives in non-profit settings ascribing to the legal 501(C) 3 definition. Keen analysis of previous studies indicates there has been underrepresentation of non-profits organizations in mainstream leadership and organizational development literature, as scholars have been concentrating on governance structure, volunteer recruitment, and management. The limited availability of literature in managing non-profit organizations, to a large degree, has contributed to the cultivation of the non-profit leaders and their impacts on organization direction, professional atmosphere, and the growth of junior staff members. The existing literature suggests there are correlations between the possession of leadership abilities and professional behavior, as addressed by several studies (Ashanasy & Dasbrough, 2008; Benson, 2009; Conte, 2008; Douglas, Brink, & Ferris 2008; McMullin, 2007), and high social function (Gardner, 2007; Goleman, 2006).
According to Benson (2009), it is valuable to determine what leadership-related knowledge and practice competencies exist and to refine them, as today’s non-profits must strive to perform at higher levels to counter competitive challenges. Dependency on leadership will intensify as pressure for fundraising mounts and junior team members require more guidance, direction, and a supportive professional environment, as McMullin (2009) postulated. As McMullin (2009) further stated, the experiential framework of a population of non-profit executives may lead to valuable findings about their way of leading. Heightening the level of leadership contributions made by non-profits will become critical as greater external pressure is placed on these organizations to perform well (McMullin, 2009).
Social, civic, health, arts and culture, and education-related non-profit organizations have traditionally concentrated on service, program, and research priorities not addressed by federal and state funding. The reliance on the non-profit organization to perform more efficiently and make substantial social contributions continues to increase. The growth in the need for mission supporting services and educational programs is countered, however, by rising operational expenses in the face of intensified competition for donor dollars from both publicly and privately held corporations, foundations, and individuals. As a further complication, because of their tight budgets, non-profit organizations are challenged by their inability to attract deep and diversified talent, and they face a corresponding potential for higher turnover because of the lower compensation they extend.
Overview of Non-Profit Organizations
The uniqueness and diversity of workforce in non-profit organizations pose management challenges to the leadership of such firms. The CEOs have an important responsibility of ensuring that they achieve effective daily management of their organizations. The leaders of such firms are not only obligated to achieve the vision and mission of their organizations, but are also required to integrate the interest and welfare of all stakeholders, including staff and clients. There is a need to conduct a comparative analysis of the lived experiences of the leaders of non-profit and profit-oriented organizations regarding ways of managing these organizations. In this regard, this section presents a discussion of the differences between the management experiences of leaders of non-profit and for-profit organizations. Epstein and McFarlan (2011) examined the governance structure of both for-profit and non-profit organizations and pointed out various differences in the management of these organizations, including finance expectations, executive functions and their missions. Table 1 stipulates the summarized differences.
Key Differences in Governance of For-profit and Non-profit Organizations
Previous studies have attempted to delineate the variances in social missions of for-profit and non-profit organizations. According to Epstein and McFarlan (2011), the operations of non-profit organizations are deeply ingrained in their mission of public benefit as stipulated in the federal and state laws, contrary to the for-profit organizations whose mission is based on financial gains to make profits.Du Bois et al. (2004) noted that although non-profit organizations depend on donor funding for their day-to-day operations, such organizations occasionally engage in income generating activities to supplement their budgets, particularly when such funding reduces for various reasons. Besides, such organizations are exempted from taxation and are restricted from using their funds to pursue mission-unrelated activities. The board committee membership of non-profit organizations is often larger than that for for-profit organizations. More interesting is the governance system of non-profit firms, with volunteering executives at the helm and paid professional staff. To achieve its main mission of benefiting the society, community, and the general public, the CEO of a non-profit organization is compelled to adopt governance strategies that create value to the stakeholders, including donors and clients.
Conversely, Weinberg (2010) argued that the leadership of for-profit organizations targets suppliers and customers of debt capital and equity in their value creation process. CEOs of non-profit organizations are compelled by the dynamic environment to appreciate the capabilities of their institutions relative to the demands of their constituencies. According to Weinberg (2010), this enhances value creation process, improving performance and subsequent execution of its mission.
The leaders of non-profit organizations have pursued various management strategies to improve performance as well as enhance the general ‘good’ of the public. Previous studies illustrate the collaboration between profit and non-profit organizations and their business strategies. A study carried out by Dickinson and Barker (2007) in Australia attempted to explore the potential benefits accruing from the formation of a brand alliance between non-profit and commercial brand partners. To reveal the factors affecting the evaluation of brand alliances between non-profit and profit-oriented organizations, the scholars conducted hypothesis testing using a two-phase administered questionnaire. The study utilized actual brand alliances in a cross-sectional research with students as respondents. The scholars used a seven-point bipolar semantic differential scale to assess the consumer attitudes. The subsequent questionnaire intended to establish spill over effects.
However, it is noteworthy that the success of such inter-organizational alliances hinges on the effective evaluation of the partners’ brand and perceived benefits that accrue from partnership. Managers may pursue an effective partner selection process and best fit alliances to achieve success. According to Dickinson and Barker (2007), non-profit managers have, in the recent past, opted to pursue business strategies, particularly strategic alliances focused at generating additional income to abandon the conventional philanthropic approaches that depend entirely on the donor support. The long-term worthiness of such a strategic alliance also hinges on the public perception of both the brands. The public rejection of an alliance between profit and non-profit organizations may prove detrimental to both the partners.
Structure of the Literature Review
The literature review begins with an overview of selected organizational theories and philosophies to reflect the evolving importance leadership as one reliant on progressive people who bring a combination of cognition, analysis, and compassion to their work. The discussion summarizes organizational structure for discussing enhanced function. Next, the review concentrates on multiple intelligences and the corresponding notion of emotional intelligence as reflections of positive leadership behavior. The review defines the non-profit organization and isolates key issues affecting performance and credibility among donors, service recipients, and the public. The literature review provides a theoretical framework within which scholars explore the nature of the leadership as it relates to non-profit organizations. Further, it reveals related real-world applications that hold the potential to enhance leader performance. Besides this overall focus, the literature review provides a foundation from which to reflect on the transferable principles of leadership theories to practitioners. Providing this frame of reference establishes support for the study.
The current section exceeds the minimum number of references (50), and incorporates 149 citations, of which 78 have publication dates between 2002 and 2008. Nearly 99 percent of the references have good quality and emanate from founding theorists, empirical research, and peer reviewed articles, books, and journals. The section has 110 citations published between 1998 and 2008, and these and the remaining citations are from germinal contributors to the emotional intelligence construct, such as Gardner (2003, 2005), Meyer and Salovey (2005), Goleman (2005, 2006), and Wolch (2009). Significant leadership experts, such Vail (2006), Kouzes and Posner (2005), Senge (2008), Bass (2007), McGregor (2012), Bennis (2003) and Maslow (2005), were incorporated in the rich literature review.
Organizational Leadership Philosophies
Leadership, as asserted by Bennis and Nanus (2003), is a field surrounded by much curiosity, passion, and debate. Review of previous literature shows there are numerous formal and informal epistemological studies supporting it. As Bennis and Nanus (2003) further stated, the large volume of literature has not, however, given much attention to the parallels between primary philosophies and the power of non-profit leadership driven by compassion for others. The notion of servant leadership, as popularized by Blanchard and Hodges (2003) and Greenleaf (2002), speaks predominantly to the ecumenical community, while interpreting team motivation processes that address the need to synchronize talent in corporate settings. As Daft (2005) postulated, a bridge between the higher concepts of leadership as a philosophical point of reference and a common ground from which to link personal and operational goals has been inadequately made as it relates to the functional requirements of non-profit organization. The following section presents a foundation for the discussion of the overarching value and impact of leadership, and in doing so, support the intention of this study to explore ways of leading among established non-profit executives.
All business environments, be they profit-oriented or non-profit, the latter being the focus of this study, require the orchestration of priorities, management of resources, and administration of intellectual capital- the employees. Work occurs through structure and designed approaches, and all aspects or units of the organization contribute to the overall mission and the successful delivery of a product or service that meets the needs of targeted consumers or end users.While the contemporary framework in place in the companies is similar to, and reflective of major evolutions in organizational process (Bass, 2007; Blanchard & Hodges 2003; Drucker, 2009; Wren 2005), scholars advocate that the distinguishing element in business performance is the presence, or absence of, effective leadership. The aforementioned point may be equally relevant to for-profit and non-profit organizations, although charitable organizations frequently lack funds to aggressively recruit, place, and ultimately retain top talent (Drucker, 2009). Despite the financial diversity between the two operational settings, each can capitalize on the enthusiasm and potential of their intellectual capital-their dedicated and inventive leaders.
The literature review focus turns to the work of dynamic philosophical influences on the evolution of modern business that reflect elements of leadership theory. True organizational leaders are engaged in testing, comparing, evaluating, and developing (Vail, 2006, p. 5). The intention was to bring about improvement, and this process constitutes learning. According to Vail (2006, p. 56), “our continual imaginative and creative initiatives and responses to systems are, in fact, continual learning; in other words, continual learning is what we are seeing as we observe people acting in complex situations.” Vail (2006) associated creativity with the “qualities of learning as a way of being” (p. 56). The position taken by Vail (2006) is logical, as experimentation frequently enables leadership to examine many more alternative solutions, rather than simply repeating the processes applied in the past. Therefore, for this inquiry, it is reasonable to assume that leaders are not intimidated by the unknown; rather, they are challenged by the prospect of exploring and comparing, using all resources at their disposal, including intellect (Gardner, 2007), sensory-based (Goleman, 2005), social (Goleman, 2005; Rediehs, 2003), and emotive (Goleman, 2005; Meyer & Salovey, 2005).
If this encompassing view of an aware and responsive individual is true, leaders may be potentially better prepared to guide their organizations, as suggested by Goleman’s (2005, 2006) philosophy. Goleman saw emotional intelligence, also called emotional quotient (EQ), as an extension of understanding of an individual’s world, empathy for others, and optimism. As defined by Goleman, emotional intelligence enhances motivation and social skills (2005, 2006). While researchers, such as Armstrong (2009), McBride and Maitland (2002), and Bradberry and Greaves (2005), agreed on the dimensions of emotional intelligence, wide scale concern regards whether a person can cultivate these capacities. Smewing (2004) asserted that emotional intelligence does not automatically lead to development of this awareness, and its exhibition through specific skills is not an easy or direct endeavor since “emotional intelligence is not a journey with a clear path” (p. 67). Gabriel and Griffith (2002) contended that emotions extend the intellect. From the review, there is difficulty in delineating where one begins and ends. Nonaka and Takeuchi (2005) connected the perspectives well as they asserted that senses (emotional perception) are essential for knowledge attainment, and people sense at different levels of competency.
Recognition of the business environment as a place of fluctuation encourages a certain openness to new discoveries and the willingness to adapt. In the view of Goleman (2005), leaders require more than just a level of openness and flexibility; they must recognize the corresponding necessity of “managing with a heart” (p. 149). The author supported leadership through persuasion, which guides people toward shared goals and enhanced performance. Further accentuating this point is a commentary by Johnson and Indvik (2009), which addressed how someone with “high emotional intelligence (EI) has the ability to understand and relate to people” (p. 1). Johnson and Indvik (2009) concluded that, “when emotional intelligence is present, there is increased employee cooperation, increased motivation, increased productivity, and increased profits” (p. 1). The existing literature suggests those who understand themselves may be more likely to understand others, and perhaps, lead them in a good way (Cross & Travaglione, 2003; Gangestrad & Synder, 2000; Goleman, 2005, 2006; Nonaka & Takeuchi, 2005).
Influence, Heart, and Service
Blanchard and Hodges (2008) contributed to the evolving definition of leadership and its corresponding accountabilities by stating that “it’s an influence process—any time you are trying to influence the thoughts and actions of others toward goal accomplishment in either their personal or professional life, you are engaging in leadership” (p. 10). Blanchard and Hodges (2003) described leadership as both a journey and “a matter of the heart” (p. 15) and others, such as King (2006), take the idea further, arging about the importance of moality in enabling leadership proficiency.
Blanchard and Hodges (2003) asked professionals to consider whether they are a “servant leader or a self-serving leader” (p. 17). The distinction is present, as Blanchard and Hodges asserted, in how a person responds to feedback. If a leader sees unsolicited commentary as beneficial, regardless of whether it is positive or negative in tone. Blanchard and Hodges (2003) contended that the person views leadership “as an act of service” (p. 18). The aforementioned point speaks directly to the social outcomes orientation of non-profits. Further, the leader goes beyond managerial accountability alone, embracing succession planning is vital to the organization’s continued growth and success, as fulfillment of its mission is paramount. Focusing efforts toward the gain of others rather than the self is another positive leadership indicator. Blanchard and Hodges (2003) explained that “the journey of servant leadership starts in the Heart with motivation and intent must travel through another internal domain, that of the Head, which is the leader’s belief system and perspective on the role of the leader” (p. 43).
Along similar lines, Vail (2006) took the stance that leadership does not emerge from environmental factors; rather, it emerges from within oneself. Vail’s commentary may be an endorsement of the multiple intelligence theory (Gardner, 2005, 2007) and the emotional intelligence construct (Goleman, 2005, 2006; Meyer & Salovey (2005). Leadership appears to be of particular importance in non-profit organizations where leaders are often motivated to sacrifice monetary gain for the satisfaction of rewarding work, and the opportunity to make a difference in a particular arena of need or interest. Vail’s (2006) argument about how “learners engage in complex and subtle learning processes about possible objectives, about resources for reaching them, and about barriers to overcome” (p. 27), are a reflection of promotion of empathy and social arts by Goleman (2005). Both Vail (2006, p. 27) and Goleman (2005, p. 32) reflected on the need for leaders to understand how employees develop knowledge, and suggested that it is vital not to overlook the nuances of perspective.
Fulton (2005, p. 103) believed that an awareness of others and commitment to integrity conduct provide guidance to leaders. Fulton (2005) offered 25 factors called positive behavioral characteristics that could help leaders improve,
sociability, trustworthiness, warmth, supportiveness, independence, dependability, leadership incentive, competitive nature, assertiveness, ability to listen, fairness, loyalty, flexibility, reliability, generosity, dynamic personality, adaptability, tough-mindedness, versatility, cooperation, risk-taking, approachability, ability to cope, orientation to people and responsibility. (p. 103)
Fulton (2005) suggested that leaders comprehend the complexities of the system; how the components interact, and how each component relates to success. According to Fulton (2005), they possess empathy, recognizing the necessity of thinking of others’ “goals, motivations, feelings, and concerns” (p. 85). Similarly, research conducted by Leck and Wang (2004) revealed five core ideas about how to develop leadership versatility and achieve meaningful business results. In summary, their findings recommend others-oriented approaches, such as building strategy execution skills among senior and developing leaders, tapping the power of group learning, investing in high-potential individuals, capitalizing on career-enhancement opportunities to enhance loyalty and “future leadership bench strength” (p. 66), and promoting a learning organization where leaders teach others to excel.
Empathy and Awareness as Positive Influencers
Compassion is a frequently cited reference point in leadership literature, and one of the most powerful commentaries Senge (2008) offered. Senge addressed the importance of bringing a disposition of concern to the workplace, which is a natural assumption in the mission driven non-profit environmental setting. Senge (2008) viewed empathy as an emotional state and one that is “grounded on a level of awareness…as people see more of the systems within which they operate, and as they understand more clearly the pressures influencing one another, they naturally develop more compassion and empathy” (p. 171).
Senge considered the need for individuals to develop an organizational climate of personal mastery and suggested commitment to the mission. Senge (2008) argued that “first, it will continually reinforce value of personal growth in the organization. Second, the extent that individuals respond to what is availed will provide an on-the-job-training…that is vital to developing personal mastery” (p. 172). Senge (2008) called the evolving connection to the organization a “continual, ongoing process” (p. 172) and asserted that “there is nothing more important to an individual committed to his or her own growth than a supportive environment” (p. 173). Senge’s (2008) view may be an endorsement for leadership cognizant of, and capable of, demonstrating decisions that benefit the team.
If executives are to lead with empathy and work to cultivate performance and commitment, many reputable scholars, such as Fulton (2005) and Goleman (2005), have suggested combining compassion with intellect, specifically in analysis and problem solving. Leaders should be inclusive in their assessment, considering the consequences of their choices on both the people involved and the organization. An analytical mind-set brings value to decision-making, and critical thinking is an imperative professional process, as noted by Gosling and Mintzberg (2003) and Russell (2009). Russell (2009) described the necessity of questioning the known and then looking beyond what appears to be obvious as an essential process for those who seek true comprehension. Russell’s point has strength. Scholars have also argued that leaders who perceive a tendency toward introspection and curiosity have high ability to attain growth and achievement (in the professional realm), and also endorse decision making that incorporates analysis, comparison, logic, and concern for others (Russell, 2009). A leader is encouraged to be sensitive to the cultural keys that shape observations and conclusions as individuals learn (Vail, 2006), and show regard for others’ interpretations and beliefs. Regarding this point, one can draw correlation that capable leaders assimilate experience and think beyond themselves. They think beyond a solitary focus on organizational interest and instead, concentrate on the individual team members with the capacity to contribute in meaningful ways and who, collectively, build a stronger, more progressive, and, ultimately, wiser structure. These leaders can attract followers, and serve as a point of inspiration and motivation (Bennis & Nanus, 2003; Daft, 2005; Kellerman, 2007).
In his study of creative giants who influenced the world during the period from 1885 to 1935 through cognitive and sensory-based intelligence, Gardner (2005) explored groundbreaking leadership that occurs outside the boardroom. Gardner’s detailed analysis of the achievements of scientists and artists is reflected in Vail’s (2006) later concept of the beginner who searches for improvement and may, therefore, be eager for guidance and support from leaders. Gardner’s examples of difficult, driven geniuses illustrate the domains of critical thinking married with creativity, which mimic the qualities of many employees who possess a wide range of talents awaiting cultivation. These reflective models give credence to Vail’s view of a world enriched by discovery and questioning, influenced by intellect and emotion. As explained by Gardner (2005), Einstein and Picasso knew their weaknesses and struggled with some of their early academic requirements, but both were driven to experiment to seek answers and to find new paths; attributes that may reflect solid leadership behavior. These examples speak of the creativity and commitment often embodied by those in non-profit settings, who struggle to find effective solutions, amidst the reality of tight resources and mounting societal needs. Gosling and Mintzberg (2003) further underscored that point, contending that leaders must be reflective and able “to stop, and think—to step back and reflect thoughtfully on their experiences” (p. 57).
Some scholars, including Goleman (2005), have credited Gardner’s (2003, 2005, & 2007) arguments for creating a more encompassing view of the many forms of intellect. An understanding that the spectrum of intelligence is diverse and multi-faceted replaced the prevailing concept of a single or monolithic form of intelligence. While various views on their origins exist, Goleman (2005) stated that the delineation of multiple intelligences emerged from Wechsler’s inquiry into the concepts of intelligence. A wide span of leadership literature (Bong, 2004; Riggio, Murphy & Pirozzolo, 2002; Smigla & Pastoria, 2000) embodies the view that intellect, in its many forms, not only gives an individual more dimension, it also increases his or her professional proficiency, and ultimately heightens organizational performance.
Leadership Competencies and the Intelligence
Kouzes and Posner (2005) addressed leadership qualities and concluded that leaders who can inspire and guide must have concern for others. Further, the leader must be flexible and open to adapting, for in this responsiveness comes the ability to make valuable contributions and to positively influence and nurture others. Kouzes and Posner (2005) believed that leaders must possess eight competencies, namely knowledge, communication skills, teamwork/team building, personal development, problem solving/critical thinking, strategic thinking, customer service, and business management. In their statement of necessary personal dispositions, strengths, and understandings, one can find correlation as learning is essential for mastery of applicable skills. In his discussion of the domains and intelligences studied in his review of brilliant contributors to the fields of science, psychology, music, literature, and dance, Gardner (2005) spoke of the stress and pressure resulting from inquiry, creative pursuits, and the dynamics that lead to achievement. The analysis by Gardner (2005) also supported the argument for lifelong discovery, as learners continue to bring merit to their activities and serve as a source of inspiration, and as they shape the performance of those whom they direct. Gardner’s position is increasingly supported by the existing literature as the case for the interconnectedness of multiple intellects, emotional intelligence, acquiring knowledge, and high-caliber conduct is developed (Dienhart, 2000, Goleman, 2005, 2006). Merlevede, Bridoux, and Vandamme (2003) made the assertion that there are factors beyond the classical descriptions of intellect often influence leadership behavior. As Gardiner (2005) and Goleman (2005) contended, there are two very distinct intelligences– the “traditional intelligence/class intelligence” and “emotional intelligence. The two forms of intelligence combine to form a new level of interpersonal competency, and can guide behavior choices.
In summary, this portion of the literature review addressed the others’ awareness, flexibility, eagerness to learn, and interest in betterment that may be visible among the most proficient of leaders. While there are questions on the origin of these qualities, if this disposition emerges from “within oneself,” as suggested by Vail (p. 61), there is a sound platform for exploring how non-profit executives act as guides. A rich base of literature points toward commonalities between organizational philosophies and leadership excellence.
Motivation and the Evolution of Self
An examination of the changing dimensions of human needs by Maslow (2005) illustrated the theory that basic innate drives propel needs of humans. Maslow presented a hierarchy in which people satisfy lower level needs on a physiological and safety level, advancing to love and self-esteem levels. If personal or professional setbacks occur in their lives, people can regress or step backwards, rather than progress through the hierarchy of needs. Those who acquire a sense of belonging and understanding of greater life motivations can, in Maslow’s view, move to the self-actualization stage or, in Maslow’s vernacular, to where “what a man can be, he must be” (p. 380). If, as the hierarchy of needs suggests, one must possess a commitment to values beyond self-interest, this point provides a sound foundation for this research study. Maslow (2005) interpretation of Maslow’s germinal contributions to the fields of psychology and organizational management suggests there may be merit in exploring the premise that leaders are distinct from managers.
Drawing parallel conclusions to Maslow, McGregor (2012) addressed the association between managers and leadership perspectives. McGregor pondered about how the view of those directing the organization and their individual philosophies of human nature could influence choices in structure, work management, leadership, and control or supervision. In his landmark design of Theory X and Theory Y, McGregor pondered about the very impact of managerial belief systems on leadership approaches. Theory X managers do not trust that employees are self-motivated and hard working. McGregor based Theory Y on the assumptions that people appreciate the challenges associated with work functions and are self-motivated to perform at a high level. Their outcomes are, in part, a result of the influence of the organization and its leadership, but pride in achievement and interest in high performance among individuals drives them internally. Just like Maslow, McGregor contended that fulfillment of work objectives brings personal gratification, or “the satisfaction of ego and self-actualization needs, and can be the direct product of effort directed toward organizational objectives” (pp. 47-48). Individuals who ascribe to Theory Y or acknowledge its potential benefits may view it as an endorsement of employee involvement in processes and decision-making. Similarly, Dennison (2005) spoke of motivation as related to organizational performance as a “liking for the work itself,” and stated that people often hold “regard for one or more members of the organization and for their good opinion, and take pleasure in working with them” (p. 63). When this level of inherent respect exists for the organizational hierarchy, Dennison believed that a corresponding “respect and regard for the main purposes of the organization” (p. 63) would result. If this notion holds merit, perspective, motivation, and maturity all play a role in formulating the emotionally intelligent leader. Other capabilities, such as the ability to assess organizational challenges and opportunities from cognitive, analytical, and creative perspectives, coupled with empathy, may distinguish a leader who has the potential to transform a non-profit from one who cannot perform at a higher, more advantageous level.
Multiple Intelligences as a Foundation for Leadership
This section presents a summary of the concept of multiple intelligences as defined by Gardner (2005), as a foundational theory for leadership that draws on emotional understanding. Gardner’s argument addresses the theory of emotional intelligence from the work of Meyer and Salovey (2005) and Goleman (2006), as an extension and further clarification of several aspects of the multiple intelligences. Goleman concentrated on the examination of four elements fundamental to emotional intelligence (self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and heightened social skills), which reflect some perspectives addressed earlier in the literature review. Despite some variances in approaches and customized reference points and coined terms, Gardner (2005, 2007), Merlevede, Bridoux, and Vandamme (2003), and Senge (2008) seemed to agree that the ability to relate to others and to be concerned about their welfare is essential to life success and professional contentment. Goleman (2006) highlighted the importance of nonacademic intelligence that evolves from rich life experience and interpersonal relations. Self-awareness also becomes a consideration as it enables people to both capitalize on leadership strengths, hopefully for the benefit of others and their employers directly, and improve upon their performance or character deficiencies.
Most scholars believe that effective leaders are better equipped to operate within a broader social context. People perceive them as having stronger abilities to comprehend the complex subtleties of interpersonal exchange, negotiate the treacherous waters of organizational politics and institutional memory, and cope more effectively with supervisory challenges. Gardner (2007) is acknowledged as a foundational contributor to the study because of his formulation of the multiple intelligences theory that allows a person to be receptive to self and emotions and to be well prepared to address some dilemmas noted above. Therefore, this component of the literature review began with Gardner.
The landmark contribution of Gardner (2007) to the field of management in Frames of Mind breaks interpersonal intelligence into four distinct abilities, namely leadership, the ability to nurture relationships and keep friends, the ability to resolve conflicts, and social analysis skill. He examined the notion of multiple intelligences primarily within the framework of personal attributes and capabilities that one can measure as intelligence. They include language abilities (such as command of vocabulary) and the ability to think and decide based on logical facts and conclusions. Gardner (2007) also drew attention to what he termed specialist intelligences, which embody musical, spatial, and kinesthetic qualities. While he did not speak specifically of the term emotional intelligence (that was a parallel later recognized and articulated by Meyer and Salovey (2005), Goleman (2005) and others), Gardner addressed the need for the successful leader to possess interpersonal capabilities.Through these very talents in understanding others and communicating effectively and with concern, leaders can support the needs of their team and, on a higher level, the organizational vision and mission, capitalizing on all available resources.
Gardner (2007) asserted that a prerequisite for intelligence is the competency to “resolve genuine problems or difficulties…the potential for finding or creating problems” (pp. 60-61). To solve dilemmas wisely according to the standards established by Gardner (2007) and earlier by Goleman (2005), leaders also must possess linguistic capabilities to identify, refine, and articulate ideas in a clear and persuasive manner. Those who potentially possess emotional intelligence would conceivably be more advanced, and be able to convey even complex or negative information in an effective style. Personal intelligences play a role and serve as a “sense of self” (p. 237), and rely on what Gardner described as the core capacity to access one’s own “feeling life” (p. 239). In suggesting a social self, Gardner created a parallel for the notion that one behaves in a circumstance in such a way as to satisfy or influence others, an idea at the heart of leadership practices and the maxim of modeling.
In his commentary on the biological foundations of intelligence, Gardner (2005) provided reflections on brain and biological science findings as they relate to overall “human intellectual competencies” (p. 31) and how they can be “altered by various interventions” (p. 31). By combining identity and capacities such as language, Gardner (2003) argued that research points to the evolution of individual achievement. Gardner (2003) argued that “taken together, these sets of quests add up to a search for general principles that govern the nature and the development of human intellectual capacities and that determine how these are organized, tapped, and transformed over a lifetime” (p. 32). Although he paid homage to the influence of genetics, Gardner said that “in a large and heterogeneous population like ours…one encounters a wide variety of traits, but over time, extreme traits tend to become invisible or to disappear altogether” (p. 35). The increasing influence of character leanings and actions speaks to the potential impact of environment, and even custom, on the choices made by individual leaders. Singling out that “spiritual or moral intelligence,” as Armstrong (2009) offered, there is a need to “apply abilities to ensure their use benefits all humankind” (p. 223). Armstrong’s (2009) comment echoed Gardner’s more recent work (2007), in which he pondered about the possibility of a ninth form of intelligence, existential intelligence, which reflects concern with ultimate life issues.
Emotional Intelligence, Capabilities, and Success
As leadership and organizational behavior experts examined the role of emotion in professional settings, the concept of emotional intelligence assumes a bridge function between response and performance (Cherniss & Goleman 2001; Goleman, 2006). Scholars have emphasized on understanding how to put emotive capabilities into action, and some, such as Hughes (2003), saw validity in distinguishing between intellectual and emotional smarts. Hughes (2003) cited Goleman’s addition of “the scientific basis for making the distinction. We’ve had a century of overemphasis on academic abilities as the key to success in life, but that is only part of the picture” (p. 13). Goleman (2006) stated that IQ remains the largest predictor of capability since it indicates cognitive capacity. Once a person enters and practices in a field, however, “emotional intelligence emerges as a much stronger predictor of who will be most successful, because it is how we handle ourselves in our relationships that determines how we do once we are in a given job” (Goleman, 2006, p. 13). Goleman (2006) supported the application of the capabilities rather than the awareness of the emotions themselves. On this point, Goleman (2006) defined a transition toward a trait effect during which a person embarks on a new set of behaviors that “actually change the neurology of [one’s] brain” (p. 15). Goleman’s approach is a form of doing things “mindfully,” as he said, which reflects attentiveness to the moment and the needs of others.
Predictably, Goleman (2006) relied on brain science as a physical justification for decipherable behavior patterns and provided an extension and further clarification of several aspects of multiple intelligences theory developed by Gardner (2007). Goleman (2005) identified emotional aptitude as “meta-ability, determining how well we can use whatever other skills we have, including raw intellect” (p. 36). As Goleman, documented, recent studies on the science of emotion have provided unprecedented clarity and the mapping of intelligence beyond traditional IQ descriptions. Goleman contended that the existing research demonstrates that many opportunities to explore where leadership and emotional intelligence co-exist. Goleman (2005) even suggested a strong connection to the work of non-profits as he specifically addressed the capability of “self-control” coupled with “zeal and persistence and the ability to motivate oneself” as attributes balanced by the “the root of altruism,” which lies in “empathy, the ability to read emotions in others” (p. xii).
The continuing dilemma appears to be that structures for charity and other non-profit organizations have difficulty acquiring and retaining leaders with professional and experiential depth and breadth of scope. Once recruited, their tenures may be short. One can link this phenomenon to many factors, including lower salaries and benefits, limited resources, and high fundraising requirements, areas not addressed in this study. However, it suggests that certain leadership behaviors exist among those with successful, enduring careers in non-profit settings.
Once individuals become emotionally aware, they are more efficient in performing their duties, as McMullen (2003) contended. Similarly, Sheldon et al. (2004) pointed to increased intrinsic motivation levels among those who are emotionally alert. The conclusions by Sheldon et al. are in synchronicity with the assertion by Bradberry and Greaves (2005) that emotional intelligence “is comprised of two main skills, namely personal and social competence” (p. 9). Bradberry and Greaves (2005) described the first element as “the ability to maintain self-awareness and manage [one’s] behavior and tendencies” and the second one as “the ability to understand the behavior and motives of other people and manage relationships” (p. 9). Therefore, it holds that the emotionally evolved leader approaches dilemmas with balance and is better prepared to “navigate social complexities and make personal decisions that achieve positive results” (p. 9). Shipper, Kincaid, and Rotondo (2008) advocated a similar perspective as they focused on the potential application of emotional intelligence. They noted that emotional intelligence “holds the promise of capturing that elusive set of personal characteristics are important to understanding the psychological and emotional growth necessary for personal growth” (p. 171).
The literature review leads to revelation of a contrary view for the actual wisdom of using emotions in professional settings. Fineman (2006) and Putname and Mumby (2007) are among scholars who have argued that revealing and managing emotions is complex and potentially disruptive to the work at hand. Fineman (2006) stated there are potential gender issues, citing the mechanistic view he finds common in men and how encouraging open display of, and reaction to, emotions may widen the differences between male and female employees. As emotions are influential entities that may emerge from communities if one individual were to respond with heightened emotions, it may send a signal this response is appropriate to model,which may compromise organizational performance (Kisfalvi & Pitcher, 2003).
Concern beyond Self
The leader who possesses more concern for others also embodies elements of character. As Goleman (2005) noted, this is an individual pursuing qualities, such as “self-discipline,” “virtuous life,” and behavior based on “self-control” (p. 285). Goleman (2005, p. 285) contended that, “putting aside one’s self-centered focus and impulses has social benefits; it opens the way to empathy, to real listening, to taking another person’s perspective. Empathy…leads to caring, altruism, and compassion” (p. 285).
Cooper and Sawaf (2003) endorsed the concept of character and individual’s integrity level from the perspective of “the deepest one of all, one of going home, of finding your own true home in work and life” (p. 141). Cooper and Sawaf (2003) address a point relative to the motivation of individuals serving in a non-profit, stating, “It takes a tremendous commitment and a lot of soul-searching to find this home. However, it is possible to do it. Great men and women and organizations have done it, and are doing it” (p. 141).
A primary contribution of Cooper and Sawaf (2003) is their view of how leaders may demonstrate innovation, commitment, and trust in relationships. Cooper and Sawaf (2003) further stated that “contrary to most conventional thinking, emotions are inherently neither positive nor negative; rather, they serve as the single most powerful source of energy, authenticity, and drive and can offer us a wellspring of intuitive wisdom” (p. xiii). If emotion has neutrality, the distinction lays in people’s integration and the decisions they make about how and where they will invest talents. With their four cornerstone model, Cooper and Sawaf (2003) strove to move the emotional intelligence concept, seen by many as an emerging foundation of leadership behavior, “out of the realm of psychological analysis and philosophical theories and into the realm of direct knowing, exploration, and application” (p. xxvii). They connected intuition with resilience, and effective listening capacity with quality choices. Further, Cooper and Sawaf (2003) advocated for exploration of “ways to align your life and work with your unique potential and purpose and to back this with integrity, commitment and accountability, which, in turn, increase your influence without authority” (p. xxviii). Leadership emerges from the last element of their model, emotional alchemy, as people exercise their capacity to extend “creative instincts” as a mechanism for working through problems and increasing their capabilities (p. xxviii). On a similar note, Weisinger (2008) offered practitioners encouragement to develop “good communication skills, interpersonal expertise, and mentoring abilities. Self-awareness is the core of each of these skills, because emotional intelligence can only begin when affective information enters the perceptual system” (p. 4).
Criticism of Multiple and Emotional Intelligence Constructs
No theory is universary accepted as truth, and the true value inherent in the idea emerges through the richness of debate and the challenges of application. This section presents previous literature that challenges the validity of multiple intelligences and emotional intelligence as potential foundations of leadership behavior. By providing a counterbalance to the earlier section, this discussion addresses some prevailing skepticisms.
By 2003, Gardner had acknowledged, in a revised edition of his landmark work, Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences, that “there have been numerous criticisms of MI (multiple intelligence) theory” (p. xix), many of which he has routinely attempted to counter in his publications and remarks. Throughout the decade, between the publication of his original Frames and its anniversary volume, Gardner stated that the primary challenges have been centered on “terminology, correlation among intelligences, intelligence and styles, the processes of intelligences, and the risks of repeating the sins of intelligence testing” (p. xix). As some are central to emotional intelligence theory, it is necessary to note that the dialogue about validity continues and vocal detractors exist. Both multiple intelligence and emotional intelligence theories are subject to scrutiny from those who believe that they are soft and ill-defined and, perhaps, surrounded by much hype and contemporary endorsement but left vulnerable because of potentially flawed substantiation.
Despite its widely held popularity, the theory of emotional intelligence has many detractors. Much of the backlash seems to center on informal behavior and personality traits as legitimate expressions of intelligence. As Cooper and Sawaf (2003) noted, some criticism appears to be well-founded as there are scholars who appear not to have based their literature on deep research, which gives credence to the view that the subject represents a certain pop psychology and a leadership trend, rather than a deep, enduring, and scientifically established form of leadership behavior. One weakness is that by placing heavily weighted emphasis on this area, one may disregard other more significant influences on leadership success.
Johnson (2004) expressed doubt about the value of focusing exclusively on emotional intelligence and suggested that it remains just a part and, perhaps, an over-rated aspect of the study of human behavior. According to Johnson (2004), “popular treatments of emotionally intelligent leadership give the impression that emotional intelligence is a widely accepted construct in the field of psychology. Nothing could be further from the truth,” (p. 2). Some critics, such as Antonakis (2003), Feldman (2009), Pfeiffer (2001) and Matthews, Zeidner, and Roberts (2002) ,contended that emotional intelligence is a contemporary reference for interpersonal skills, and that it remains too elusive to definitively prove its usefulness. Matthews et al. (2002) suggested that the many contemporary definitions of emotional intelligence serve only to confuse, as they are contradictory. They have offered a challenging question; will future research clarify the possible contributions of emotional intelligence and result in a more operationally sound definition to prove that the notion is more than simply one of the most high-profile psychological constructs of modern times? Matthews et al. (2002) suggested that if scholars do not find a resolution to this dilemma, “emotional intelligence will come to be seen as a chimera, a fantastical creature made up by stitching together the part of several real entities” (p. 527), even if merit is found in the notion of emotional competencies. On this point, Ashkanasy and Daus (2005) asserted that the concept of understanding is crucial in organizational behavior, and they endorsed examination of emotional intelligence as not only useful, but also valid, as substantiated by their own research into recent related scientific advancements.
While Cooper and Sawaf (2003) contended that interpersonal or emotional intelligence can be cultivated, many others, such as Antonakis (2003) and Furnham (2003), resisted that it can be learned or strengthened. Both authors suggested that in theory, one might be alert to his or her own surroundings to the emotions of others, and not empathetic or prone to positive intervention. The literature review and comments made by Antonakis (2003) indicated a lack of definitive evidence that multiple, interpersonal, or emotional intelligence significantly improves either conduct or work performance.
Emotions as Directed, not the Source of Leadership Behavior
While Marts (2000) acknowledged the potential to improve leadership, he cautioned that although the trendy and popular emotional intelligence position may influence leadership choices, it is an incomplete and perhaps a flawed theory. Marts (2000) stated that:
Inadvertently, the heart of the studies on emotional intelligence boils down to imaginational intelligence…The imagination is the first manifestation in the mind/body connection within our thought process. Intervening at this level halts the full psychological process of emotional urge and influence within the imagination. If you do not willfully run positive imaginings, your emotional storehouse has a few suggestions. In addition, as emotions become more potent, these suggestions become commands. (p. 47)
If the commentary by Marts (2000) holds, one may conclude that directed emotions reflect cognitive processes and that it is logic that ultimately directs action, rather than the potentially unstable emotions, which may serve as the impetus. The perspective by Marts (2000) maintains that social awareness and empathy are not sole sources for behavior within the organizational setting.
Furnham (2003) examined and then discounted a possible correlation between strong predictors of general happiness levels and investigated a variety of comparative studies and concluded that a clear gap in the literature exists. Furnham (2003) acknowledged Trait EI or “emotional self-efficacy” as evident through self-report questionnaires, but stated that one can only ascertain the ability to demonstrate emotional intelligence or “cognitive-emotional ability” through certain performance tests. The instruments for conducting the tests are complex in their design and may be prone to error. As Furnham noted (2003), not all scholars hold that individuals can focus on possessing and exhibiting leadership abilities.
Skepticism of Emotional Intelligence Value
Some scholars have challenged the legitimacy of testing for social awareness, leadership behavior, and emotional intelligence. Pfeiffer (2001) strongly supported the position that intelligence is a single and general biological factor. If there is no consistent understanding of the origin of intelligence and its exhibition, how can one make connection between conduct and leadership?
Antonakis (2003) criticized the assertion by Prati et al. (2003) that interpersonal awareness and emotional intelligence are “vital for leadership” (p. 355). In challenging the endorsement of emotional intelligence as fundamental to organizational effectiveness, Antonakis (2003) boldly came up with hard-to-lobby questions regarding empirical data. Antonakis (2003) demonstrated that emotional intelligence “predicts variance in leadership effectiveness beyond that which is predicted by personality and general intelligence factors” (p. 356), the level of “emotional appraising ability” needed, and whether “the ability to gauge emotions” is part of “normal psychological functioning, culturally transmitted,” or simply a reflection of “tacit knowledge” (p. 356).
Antonakis’ (2003) query about lack of empirical evidence in the existing literature contains a compelling challenge. Antonakis (2003) asked whether it was possible for any instrument, whether developed by Caruso, (2004), Sternberg (2002), or others in the emerging realm of emotional intelligence-related studies, to unequivocally measure in a quantifiable manner, emotional intelligence in a subject.
Antonakis (2003) made a compelling argument for discounting the feel-good value of interpersonal and emotional intelligence by turning toward the documented contextual factors that potentially bound leadership theories. Antonakis’ list includes dynamic influences, such as national culture, hierarchical level, leader-follower gender, and organizational and environmental characteristics, all of which have been recognized as having impact on a company’s structure, processes, and social interactions. Antonakis (2003) identified three personality factors, self-monitoring, agreeableness, and need for affiliation, which are likely to be tenuous and bear no true association with leadership. Further, he suggested that possessing “elevated levels of emotional recognition may not be useful in industrial settings because individuals can easily gauge, then magnify or misinterpret negative emotions in others” (p. 357). Antonakis (2003) appears driven to incite and challenge the logic for what he considers the overly enthusiastic reception reserved for the emotional intelligence theory by its ardent supporters. Antonakis (2003) contended that many people view emotional intelligence as having influence greater than it may contribute to organizational function.
Leadership Behaviors and Non-Profits
Knowlton (2001) is one of the first researchers in the non-profit setting to identify a connection between leadership behavior and capability as she discussed how, “despite its enormous potential, it has been largely ignored by the nonprofit sector” (p. 29). In recent literature, Knowlton cited the results of a survey distributed in association with the Council of Michigan Foundations and circulated to program officers, directors, associates, vice presidents, and presidents. Knowlton (2001) concluded that traits, such as emotional awareness (the ability to recognize one’s emotions and their effect on others), self-control (management of one’s own disruptive emotions and impulses), empathy (sensing others’ feelings and perspectives), and collaboration (working with others toward shared goals), are among the attributes and competencies that “may predict success better than any other performance measure” (p. 31).
Schmitz (2004) carried out a related research, the author of a dissertation titled The Relationship between EI and Leadership Practices in Not-for-profit Executives. The study conducted by Schmitz (2004) is dissimilar from Knowlton’s because Schmitz concentrated on only the social service non-profit sector and its focus is on emotional intelligence rather than on non-profit leader behaviors. Schmitz (2004) reported that an area of great weakness in his study is the inability to conduct interviews with the respondents. As Schmitz (2004) explains, this is not an issue for the present study since it incorporates multiple unstructured interviews to ensure that participants give in-depth information. Electronic research on this subject has been extensive but has not resulted in the identification of additional material reflective of the dissertation’s focus.
The Nature and Struggles of the Non-Profit Organization
Wolch (2009) perceived non-profit organizations to be as much like corporations in structure, but the author concentrated on the delivery of services rather than on the attainment of profit. Hall (2007) identified the focus of charitable organizations as committed to the performance of public tasks, often in direct outreach. The extension of support through education, programming, and pursuing medical research provides a substantial contribution that would not otherwise be available or funded through public means.
Many of the non-profits incorporated in this study were similar in structural design. They had hierarchical leadership establishing policies, procedures, and controls, although some local nonprofit organizations (such as the American Heart Association) report to divisions that are accountable to national operations. The United States government identifies all of them by the qualifying designation of 501(c) 3, and each looks to a carefully crafted mission as its guiding principle. Another issue is that they were facing many challenges, such as competitive factors, resistance to change emanating from loyalty to the organization and the status quo, and the need to maintain organizational credibility. A concern regarded the non-profit community’s overall ability to perform and make progress against the problem, whether it is through education or medical research investment.
Malloy and Agarwal (2003), in their empirical investigation of a non-profit’s ethical climate, suggested there is yet another key distinction between structures for profit-oriented organizations and structures for nonprofit organizations. According to Malloy and Agarwal (2003), “the for-profit sector, which fundamentally follows the justice model, is increasingly embracing the tenets of relationship marketing that involves treating customers and other groups as long-term stakeholders rather than immediate transaction-specific profit centers” (p. 228). Conversely, and not that relationships are less important but that they assume a different form, as Malloy and Agarwal noted, “intuitively, the non-profit sector is better placed than the for-profit sector to launch and leverage relationship marketing practices effectively since it is grounded on the caring feminine model” (p. 228). Malloy and Agarwal (2003) noted further that:
Positioning and promotion of the organization and its causes to the external stakeholders must consider the genuine caring and long-term perspectives. Individual caring (internal marketing) and social caring (external marketing) should then become major drivers of policies and practices. (p. 228)
Eisenberg (2009), Millar (2009), Ready (2007) and Tierney (2004) suggested there is a grave need to identify leadership behavior among non-profit executives if a new generation of competent managers was to be cultivated to assume the reins when aging Baby Boomers retire. Leaders influence the culture of service organizations, and this is vital to isolating how they perform, and the aspects of behavior they model.
The Link between Mission and Leadership
While non-profits achieve their directives through paid staff and volunteers, their greatest asset may be the dedicated leaders who keep the mission in focus and their eye on financial performance. Dym and Hutson (2006) contended that leadership within the non-profit realm is an active process involving interplay between the leader’s “skills, style, and values and those of the organization and the community in which the organization resides” (p. 68). Fernsler (2001), an official with Habitat for Humanity in Washington State, offered the commentary that “organizational success may be the best measure of leadership effectiveness, because leaders are inherently results-oriented” (p. 39). Fernsler emphasized that other factors also play a part in long-term viability, including whether they attract good people to the organization and whether they foster effective teamwork. To this point, long-term volunteer and nonpaid program leader, Petersen (2009), added the following considerations: non-profit staff may feel overburdened by the weight of their responsibilities and pressure to perform. Some may not have proper skills for their tasks. Volunteers enable the accomplishment of a greater volume of tasks and act as extensions into the community. “They and the staff give of their heart, their time, and their experience,” said Petersen (2009).
While not speaking specifically of non-profit leadership, Cooper and Sawaf (2006) offered related commentary about those who give of their time for others, rather than just having monetary motives to benefit the welfare of the organization.Cooper and Sawaf (2003) supported their point with a reference to a contemporary managerial influence, stating that “Peter Drucker reminds us that the best and most dedicated people in any enterprise are volunteers, those with the opportunity to do other things with their lives besides showing up for work” (p. 200). Greenleaf and Spears (2002) also addressed the point of investment, not as a sacrifice, but as an act of dedication. In their endorsement of servant leadership, germinal contributor, Greenleaf and Spears (2002), emphasized on the need to bring service and commitment, which are two guiding ideas of non-profit leadership reflective of emotional intelligence theory.
In their landmark work, Servant Leadership: A Journey into the Nature of Legitimate Power and Greatness, Greenleaf and Spears (2002) first introduced the term servant leader as a way of describing those leaders who are committed first to the higher organizational needs and obligated to support the highest priorities of others. Essentially, a leader who acts as a servant serves first and directs second. The professional environment emerges from the leader’s philosophies, beliefs, principles, and, ultimately, becomes their expression through values and actions. Walker (2003), commenting on Greenleaf and Spears’s ideas, suggested that non-profit leaders hold their organizations in trust for the greater good of society. Stewardship, according to Walker (2003), “requires the willingness to be accountable for the well-being of larger organization. Also, making sure operating in services rather than in control to those around us” (p. 25). Non-profit leaders who ascribe to the servant leadership view can dedicate themselves to building staff and volunteers by engaging them in the work of their organizations and making them meaningful on a personal level.
Building effective non-profit leaders is reliant on recognizing “how to be, not how to do it” (Hesselbein, 2003, p. 6). Hesselbein’s idea appears to reflect the leadership behavior of self-awareness as shaped through the process of analytical growth and discovery. Further, it reflects Gardner’s (2007) endorsement of the ethical mind that holds others in respect and “considers the nature of work and the community in a larger way” (p. 52). The chairperson of the Peter F. Drucker Foundation for Not-for-profit Management and the former chief executive officer of the Girl Scouts of the USA, Hesselbein (2003) realized that “we spend most of our lives learning how to do it and teaching others how to do it, but the quality and character of the leader determines performance and results. I have tested this repeatedly.”
Hesselbein (2003) said that the strength of a non-profit organization begins with its mission statement as it is core to describing “the organization’s reason for being” (p. 63) but emphasized that, “you just can’t talk values. Your people watch you and every action, everything you do is the embodiment of what you believe. We hope (the actions and words) are consistent” (p. 63).
Hesselbein (2003) argued that leaders must model what they say they believe in. She emphasized on demonstration of leadership investment in employees through language and behavior consistent with “the values that the leader preaches and espouses” (p. 64). According to Hesselbein (2003), the need for servant leadership is intensifying as;
Today, for our sector, one of the real challenges is that the needs of people in the community are raising and traditional sources of support are declining at the same time. Non-profit organizations have a mandate to lead from the front and to see themselves as equal partners of business and government. (pp. 64-65)
The need for Progressive, Empathetic Leaders
Lynch (2008, p. 4) concentrated on the heightened needs within the context of contemporary non-profit and government organizations, saying that there is a new cry for leadership; old ways of doing things are no longer good enough for the clients of those organizations or for the people who serve them. People are growing frustrated with services that require large sums of money but have little impact and all management procedures that waste people’s lives in bureaucratic routine.
The solution to organizational challenges, according to Lynch (2008), was to “breathe new life into our efforts to solve our social problems and to provide for the common good” (p. 4). While inspiring, this statement points to a predominant issue in the non-profit community, preparation, and retention of inspirational leaders. Leadership is crucial as it enables the fostering of motivation (Bennis, 2003). With strategic leadership, an organization can make the most proficient investment of human capital and other resources. Yet another positive outcome is that new leaders can be cultivated to both perpetuate the existing strengths of the non-profit’s systems and to take the organization in new, meaningful, and successful directions.
Lynch (2008) suggested that where there is effective leadership, people’s lives take on a sense of meaning they traditionally find only away from work if the work experience enhances people’s self-esteem. Scholars consistently embrace this perspective, but identifying and leveraging talent is difficult. While non-profit boards of directors “speak of seeking people with ‘leadership potential,’ they are often unable to define what leadership is,” as Lynch (p. 4) stated. Lynch (2008) explained, “Non-profit boards of directors assume that leaders are individuals with inborn, amorphous traits that allow them to galvanize others. Many studies of leadership and a growing body of anecdotal evidence have shown leadership involves a group of skills and productive habits of behavior and thought” (p. 4).
Schwartz and Catalano (2006) underscored the need for non-profit leaders to reflect on their conduct and to “see themselves as part of a team, balancing organizational goals with their employees’ needs” (p. 22). Fundamental to carrying out the aspirations of the non-profit is the creation of a positive environment in which “leaders link the organization and staff” (p. 24) as a mechanism for enhancing loyalty and the sense of involvement and job satisfaction. They advocated engaging employees in problem analysis and decision-making, and stressed the necessity for leaders to commit to change and betterment for themselves, their team, and their organizations.
Neck and Ashcraft (2000) addressed how the contribution of a positive disposition has on output, explaining that “nonprofit personnel (paid employees and nonpaid volunteers) have a plethora of information available to enhance their effectiveness. However, they often overlook one excellent strategy—self-management of their mental processes” (p. 27). Neck and Ashcraft (2000) contended that it is more vital in non-profit environments, where the demands are high and there is shortage of resources, to think in an opportunistic manner, to let go of “obstacle thinking,” and “envision constructive ways to manage challenging situations” (p. 27). Through a combination of observing and recording, analyzing, and developing new beliefs, Neck and Ashcraft (2000) asserted that team members can progress towards new performance patterns that increase performance, reduce resistance to change, and heighten the overall levels of contributions. Cultivation of “inner leadership” (p. 25) requires people to draw on their existing capabilities, to apply them in new ways, and, possibly, to discover new talents that can be channeled into organizational improvements.
Greater Demands for Non-Profit Leaders
Heimovics, Herman, and Jurkiewicz (1993), in their examination of the relationship and corresponding responsiveness and balance in issues of non-profit organizations’ dealings with government, concluded that challenges have grown in both complexity and interdependence. They reflected on the topic as a mechanism for comprehending public policy in America and identified stress-inducing changes, such as fluctuation in “federal spending priorities…and challenges to the tax-exempt benefits of non-profit organizations by small businesses” (p. 419). Further, Heimovics et al. (1993) concluded that “non-profit organizations are particularly vulnerable to external events (such as changes in government funding) and are highly dependent on the efforts of their top executives to find resources for and to revitalize the missions of their organizations” (p. 419).
Performance mandates for non-profit leaders remain the same, although the obstacles appear to be more pronounced today than at the time of the study conducted by Heimovics et al. (1993) that examined how effective non-profit chief executive officers were in responding to various operational challenges. Drucker (2009) noted that research has suggested a “more pivotal leadership position for the chief executive officer…than the familiar, prescriptive model, which places the board of directors at the top of the hierarchy of authority and at the center of leadership responsibility in non-profit organizational leadership” (p. 420). One justification for the need for expanded influence is that “because the political and funding challenges facing non-profit organizations are so complex and volatile, their resolution is often beyond the scope of the volunteer boards and must be a principal concern of the organization officer” (Drucker, 2009, p. 13). Further, Dym, and Hutson (2006) described certain interconnectedness as “all individuals and systems, leaders and followers shape one another” (p. 69).
Centrality of control and scope of influence also present unique challenges for the non-profit organization. Studies indicate there is an ever-present tug of war for non-profits, as their resources are limited and they depend on the volunteer base as an extension into the community. Thus, a non-profit leader is concurrently accountable for two tiers of workers; paid staff, and often highly influential volunteers who may serve the organization inconsistently. These conditions may speak to the need for management practices reflecting the multiple intelligences and emotional intelligence theories basis as the leader draws on linguistic skills, the ability to read and respond to interpersonal relations needs, and openness and empathy for many viewpoints, while maintaining the organization’s best interests. Some scholars believe that this orientation distinguishes non-profits from for-profit organizations.
Non-profit organizations are cause- and service-related by nature. They are attempting to decrease suffering, eradicate disease, educate the public, and serve the less fortunate. They reflect the notion of social intelligence, as articulated by Goleman (2006), and ideally their leaders are aware, and possess social cognition; “they know how the social world works” (p. 84). One can argue that non-profit leaders have social facility, presenting themselves, influencing, and exhibiting concern for others (Goleman, 2006, p. 84). They are humanitarian and compassionate; they give to others for their betterment. The challenge is that to accomplish these things, they must balance the demands of volunteer and staff management and meet fundraising and operations demands. Leadership in this environment has a unique complexity.
The non-profit leader often approaches long-term organizational priorities and immediate demands through an operating structure that provides for consistent problem solving. Bolman and Deal (1991, as cited in Heimovics et al., 1993, p. 421) suggested four organizational perspectives that leaders may adopt to understand many realities of organizational life; structure, human resource, political, and symbolic. They believed that knowledge of these frames and their various strengths could help leaders understand and intervene in their organizations more effectively. Gardener (2007) extended this point with his comment that leadership must cultivate an ethical mindset (p. 52). In Gardener’s view, this emanates from discipline, the ability to synthesize information in “a coherent fashion for oneself and others,” and the courage to create and innovate (p. 52). Gardner contended that the respectful mind “tries to understand and form relationships with other human beings…A person with an ethical mind asks herself, ‘What kind of person, worker, citizen do I want to be?’’ (p. 52).
Organizational Design to Support Mission and Employ Symbols
Structure allows for the design and organization of the work and includes division of tasks, reporting relationships, and, sometimes, direct measures against the stipulated outcomes. In their description of human resource perspective, Heimovics et al. (1993) stated “[It] searches for the balance between the goals of the organization and the hopes and aspirations of its members by attending to individual hopes, feelings, and presences; valuing relationships and feelings; and advocating effective delegation” (p. 421).
Nonprofit leaders who apply human resource perspective concept believe in sharing and helping. As Heimovics et al. (1993) explain, the political perspective involves the resolution of conflicts and “the influence of coalitions and interest groups” (p. 421), while the symbolic reference category speaks to the “cultural and historical systems of shared meaning where group membership determines individual interpretations of organization phenomena” (p. 421). According to Heimovics et al. (1993), “leaders evoke ceremonies, rituals, or artifacts to create a unifying system of beliefs,” (p. 422).
As a mechanism for creating unity, non-profits may employ symbols and mission moments to create connection and bestow a sense of the organization. These graphic images, slogans, and testimonials evoke emotional responses that may strengthen the sense of commitment experienced among employees. Further, these approaches create a certain storyline for conveying achievements. While this study intends to explore leadership behavior within non-profit executives, this inquiry may lead to conclusions about the inspirational role of non-profit leaders in establishing a deeper understanding of an organization’s fundamental purpose.
The research investigation for this literature review included a comprehensive review of peer-reviewed articles and books cross-referenced on academic search engines.
The study involved reviewing hundreds of dissertations contained in ProQuest database and other university electronic resources. Search words included non-profit leadership behavior, multiple intelligences, stewardship, emotional intelligence (EI), emotional quotient (EQ), and character in organizations. One study that focused on emotional intelligence dimension in the non-profit setting was the research conducted by Schmitz (2004). Schmitz’s study had no direct connection to the current study. A second, more relative study, carried out by Ohara (2005), was a qualitative investigation that showed non-profit leaders have a higher level of emotional intelligence than for-profit leaders, but the study did not speak of the larger realm of non-profit leadership behavior. Several University of Phoenix dissertations published between 2003 and 2006 examined emotional intelligence in relation to leadership, but none of these, nearly 130 studies, focused exclusively on non-profit organization or on the more broad dimensions of leadership behavior.
While there is common agreement that the constructs of multiple intelligences (Gardner, 2003, 2005, 2007) and emotional intelligence, formulated in the 1990s by Meyer and Salovey (2005) and Goleman (2005), hold importance for leaders and have generated significant ideas about management and leadership experiences, there has been limited examination of their connection to the non-profit organization. The letretature review shows a clear gap in literature.
The literature review presented the theoretical foundations for this study. By providing acombination of germinal and contemporary material, it explained the nature of leadership, key behaviors commonly associated with leadership, the theory of multiple intelligences, the construct of emotional intelligence, and views of integrity conduct as relative to non-profit organizations and to the nature of this study. The literature review contained an assessment of theories and previous studies on the connection between motivation and disposition as well as a review of leadership as a complex, growing discipline.
The literature review began with an overview of selected organizational theories and philosophies to reflect the evolving field of leadership as one reliant on progressive people who bring a combination of cognition, analysis, and compassion to their work. The discussion addressed organizational structure and its function, and progressed into multiple intelligences and the corresponding notion of emotional intelligence in relation to non-profit leadership behaviors. The review concluded by defining the non-profit organization and isolating key issues affecting performance and credibility among donors, service recipients, and the public. With these overall objectives, the literature review provided a deep foundation from which to reflect on the transferable principles of leadership theories to practitioners.
By providing this frame of reference in this chapter, the review established support for this study, which suggests that awareness of, and concern for, others, shapes effectiveness of management. Their professional environment is mission-driven, and the explicit purpose was to bring value to society. To fulfill this role, scholars projected that leaders must be self-aware, empathetic, and invested in those whose contributions they guide. Further, the review consisted of key concepts and conclusions regarding the role of empathy and leading from the heart, with criticisms about the validity of emotional intelligence and the challenges involved in verifying its existence.
The literature review established a baseline for the existing body of knowledge related to this study. As such, the review helped to identify gaps or inconsistencies in previous work, ensured continual relevancy in the research process, and provided justification and credibility for the project. Further, the review served as a central focus of the topic and raised the critical issues central to the theme of the study. Narrowing and reinforcing the theoretical framework and related hypothesis crucial to true advancement of knowledge helped to accomplish that goal.
The literature review pointed to several areas that warrant further research. Examining the role of volunteers in non-profit organizations and the way of managing them is essential. Second is opportunity to explore possible correlations between experience level and emotional intelligence within non-profit leaders. Third, the review concentrated specifically on the influence of the professional environment on non-profit leaders and their subsequent level of emotional intelligence attributes. The next section, Chapter 3, details the corresponding methods and procedures applied in this study.
The current chapter is a presentation and description of the approaches, methods, and procedures used to conduct the study. Overall, the focus of the study was on collecting information about the experiences of leaders of non-profit organizations in metropolitan area of Houston, Texas. Achieving this prompted the use of a qualitative research approach. This chapter presents an explanation of the meaning and application of qualitative research applied in this study and justifies the use of the approach using an explanation of theoretical foundation. Further, it explains, in brief, the research design used. In details, the chapter gives explanation of the meaning and application of phenomenology, the relevance of use of different phenomenological methods used in this study, and the criterion used to select study population and to collect data from the respondents. Last, the chapter gives details related to data collection, storage, and analysis.
The work of Seidman (2008) provided the pattern for the multipart qualitative phenomenological interviews. The inquiry employed inductive data analysis techniques combined with data comparison and classification processes. The inquiry process supported an in-depth review commentary and relevancy to the proposal focus. Dym and Hutson (2006) contended that investigating leadership through observation and study is theoretically sound since “individuals and the context in which they live reciprocally influence one another has become a commonplace of social science research. The power of person-context interaction is so great it literally shapes all levels of human behavior” (p. 69).
This study utilized a phenomenological qualitative methodology that focused on learning about an event or probing in order to gain a deeper meaning or interpretation (Rossman & Rallis, 2003). The data collection process took place within a naturalistic setting that facilitated exploration of experiences within the non-profit and for-profit environment. In this study, as Rossman and Rallis (2003) suggested, the researcher was “the driver through which the study was conducted” (p. 5). The phenomenology and transcendental approach played a vital role in the philosophical foundation of the study, and it required use of a well prepared but flexible conceptual framework. Rossman and Rallis (2003) postulated that in a qualitative study, it is vital for a researcher to use formats of reasoning, deduction, induction, reflection, and inspiration to describe the phenomenon of the study.
In a qualitative research, there are several ways of gaining results in areas, such as ethnography, phenomenology, socio-communication, and case studies, as postulated by Rossman and Rallis (2003). Instead of using a quantitative study that simply measures and predicts, this qualitative research used a phenomenological methodology that allowed for the use of contextual rich data to describe and interpret experiences of the participants. Patton (2009) asserted that in qualitative study, the researcher should identify the modes utilized in the study and be able to employ a system known as triangulation that involves looking at the data collection from different angles.
Pertinence of Qualitative Study of Non-Profit Leadership Behaviors
A qualitative study offers distinct advantages as the researcher explores experience that may be holistic, context-bound, and personal in viewpoint (Shank, 2002). As Wilson (2002) articulated, a phenomenological study examines human phenomena without assessing the related causes or appearances. The principal ambition was to consider how people experience human phenomena in consciousness, cognitive, and perceptual acts. As Wilson (2002) explained, this leads to an understanding of how people value experiences or appreciate them aesthetically. Similarly, Creswell (2009) contended that “qualitative research involves studying research problems requiring an exploration and understanding of a central phenomenon” (p. 50). A qualitative investigation was important to this study because of the depth of subject experience revealed, and transfers of the findings (Byrne, 2001; Donalek 2005; Farber, 2006; van Manen, 2010; Oakley, 2004; Patton, 2002; Ponterotto, 2005; Rennie, 2002). Previous studies agreed that qualitative research could provide rich descriptions and help construct an understanding of the social world (Denzin & Lincoln, 2000, p. 488).
Qualitative research involves four distinct phases, according to Makowski and Stein (2004). The first involves the act of asking, the second, witnessing, the third interpreting, and the fourth, the act of knowing. Makowski and Stein (2004) described the function of exploring through asking as a necessary step in recognizing the metaphors and assumptions of experience. When witnessing, the researcher gains first-hand access to the lived experience of the subject, and this provides an engaged aspect to the qualitative research process. Interpreting, as Makowski and Stein (2004) explained, enables the potential conceptualization of the meaning of the subjects’ experiences as conveyed to the researcher. Finally, the last phase allows for the isolation of common themes of experience that contribute to field knowledge, and potentially, an insightful interpretation of the experience. Seidman’s (2008) work provided a pattern for multipart qualitative phenomenological interviews. According to Seidman (2008), this approach “involves conducting a series of three separate interviews with each participant [so that]…people’s behaviors become meaningful and understandable when placed in the context of their lives and the lives around them” (p. 11).
The first interview concentrated on acquiring background on the subject and served as a focus life history. Seidman (2008) stated that “the interviewer’s task is to put the participant’s experience in context by asking him or her to tell as much as possible about self in light of the topic up to the present time” (p. 11). Discussion with the first participant for the current study took 90 minutes. The second interview explored what Seidman (2008) called “the details of the experience” (p. 12). The approach involves asking respondents not for opinions, “but rather, the details of their experience, upon which their opinions may be built” (Seidman, 2008, p. 12).
In the final interview, “participants should be asked to reflect on the meaning of their experience; it addresses the intellectual and emotional connections between the participants’ work and life” (Seidman, 2008, p. 12). Integrating this component was vital since “making sense or meaning requires that the participants to look at how the factors in their lives interacted to bring them to their present situation” (Seidman, 2008, p. 12).
The purpose of this qualitative phenomenological study was to describe leadership behavior among non-profit executives as expressed in experience documented through unstructured interviews. The conducting and recording of comprehensive interviews provided data for the subsequent identification of categories expressed as themes. In-depth phenomenological interviewing provides merit when examining how subjects reach key conclusions about their lives and behavior. Seidman (2008) noted that,
Perhaps, the most distinguishing of all its features, this model of in-depth phenomenological interviewing involves conducting three separate interviews with each participant. People’s behavior becomes meaningful and understandable when placed in their lives and the lives of those around them. (p. 20)
Without context, there is little possibility of exploring the meaning of experience (Melanson, 2004; Patton, 2002). “Qualitative approaches are particularly useful for understanding the nuances of the ways–understanding people’s thought processes, decision framework, and emotional motivations–as opposed to the more tangible how many and which one’s” (Melanson, 2004, p. 26).
According to Bogart (1992), individuals usually experience knowledge of new ideas as a narrative theme in their lives and might only know it in retrospect. Phenomenology is retrospective and it arose from the work of Hegel and Husserl. Hegel formulated phenomenology as the science in which people gain knowledge through the study of how they think. However, Husserl’s (1913/1931) phenomenology became a descriptive method, and a human science movement based on modes of reflection at the heart of philosophic and human science thought (van Manen, 1990, pp. 183-184). Van Manen (1990) supported this reflective component of the method and clarified this when he stated,
Phenomenological reflection is not introspection but rather retrospective. Reflection on lived experience is always re-collective; it is a reflection on experience already passed or lived through. Through this reflection, people make meaning of the things they encounter in their daily lives. (p. 184)
Phenomenology study simply centers on the participants’ lived experience and the meaning of their experiences, and not on the researcher’s keen description of overt behavior or actions. The physical world enables an individual to interpret the meaning of the experience as it translates the mental and emotional aspects of nonphysical world. Personal interwoven world is a pivotal point where the greatest understanding can develop and phenomenological reflection seems to create the best of itself to discovery. A comprehensive review of themes can provide a solidified understanding of the lived experiences of respondents.
This qualitative study focused on examining and broadening the existing body of research and knowledge that centers on the dimensions of management, specifically the ways of managing in a population of executives found within non-profit settings. A primary objective was to isolate, explore, and describe discernable factors present among study participants. The process generated lived experiences that supported the exploration of leadership behavior within non-profit organizations.
Phenomenology and Phenomenological Methods
According to Rossman and Rallis (2003), phenomenology is the study that involves focusing on describing the lived experiences of a small set of groups of individuals to get an in-depth meaning of a phenomenon. The purpose of experiencing the phenomenon comes from, as stated by Morse (2004), knowing subject to who these phenomena appeared. Morse (2004) further elaborated that phenomenology should be a subjective process. Husserl (1913/1931, as cited by Morse, 2004) explained that the process in which a researcher perceives the experiences of the subjects the way they appear to him or her, rather than the way they appear to the subjects, is transcendental subjectivity approach. The disadvantage of the simple perception in this methodology is that, according to Patton (2009), “the researcher will only know the experiences of the participants by attending to the perceptions and meanings that awaken the conscious of awareness” (p. 69).
According to Morse (2004), the reflection process in a phenomenological study is important because it stimulates the researcher’s inner awareness, which is vital in facilitating determination of validity and accuracy of a study. In this methodology, it is vital for one to use a language that enables the subjects to describe or express the experiences of a phenomenon or event. In this study, using phenomenological approach helped to obtain details of the phenomenon of study from a descriptive standpoint of a small set of individuals. The approach was appropriate because it helped to probe into an understanding of human experience as related to specific setting or context, as Patton (2009) expressed. Morse (2004) explained that in a phenomenological study, true revelation of experiences becomes possible when participants remember memories of their lived experiences and the researcher understands the meanings of those experiences. Moustakas (2004) postulated that in phenomenological concepts, the researcher derives validity from scientific investigation when descriptive analysis of the lived experience enhances understanding of meaning and importance of experience.
In a qualitative research, there are several approaches related to phenomenology available for a researcher to choose. A researcher needs to select the most suitable approach for a given study. However, all approaches of phenomenology focus on the fundamental basis of German philosophy, which is to understand the individual experiences of the study subjects (Laverty, 2003). Hein and Austin (2001) and Todres and Wheeler (2001) supported the same view. Four major phenomenology approaches paid attention to are hermeneutic, interpretive, empirical, and transcendental. The four approaches represent, in different ways, philosophical assumptions about lived experiences and ways on how to organize and create descriptive phenomenological data. The four phenomenological approaches differ in their theoretical basis (whether an approach is based on Heidegger, Husserl, Moustakas, or Giorgios theories), methodological procedures, and their current proponents (Laverty, 2003; van Manen, 1990).
Hermeneutic phenomenology is concerned with the lived experiences of individuals, and it focuses on illuminating details and describing aspects of experience that may be taken for granted in order to develop meaning and achieve a sense of understanding (Wilson & Hutchison, 1991). At some point, there was a disagreement between the views of Husserl and Heidegger regarding the way of conducting exploration of experiences. Husserl (1913/1931) was interested in knowing the world of human beings in relation to their attending, perceiving, recalling, and thinking of the world. On the other hand, Heidegger centered his philosophy on the human being mode or the existence of meaning of a human in the world. Heidegger, viewed humans as concerned creatures whose experiences relate to the world they live (Annells, 1996; Jones, 1975).
Interpretive phenomenology approach posits that there is a connection between people’s talk, thinking, and emotion because these aspects relate to their cognitive, linguistic, affective, and physical being. However, scholars realized this connection creates complications because people find it difficult to express what they think and feel, and this creates a situation where people do not wish to disclose their lived experiences. Further, this compels the researcher to interpret people’s mental and emotional being from the stance of what they say. Interpretive phenomenology also reiterates the fact that the researcher plays an active role in this dynamic process. As Wertz (2005) explained, this compells the researcher to come closer into the participant’s personal world to get an insider’s lens, but with caution because one cannot totally get involved directly.
Empirical phenomenology emerged from the phenomenology philosophical assumptions of philosopher Edmund Husserl and sociologist Alfred Schultz, who believed that it is vital to place emphasis on theoretical insights in an empirical approach. Empirical approach focuses on preventing subjectivity when conducting studies. The primary focus of empirical phenomenology is that researchers should rely on the first-hand information collected based on the subject’s meanings and words. The researcher then construes the information collected from his or her own perspective. Further, empirical phenomenology posits that a researcher should base the collected information on the phenomenon studied.
The transcendental phenomenology simply involves focusing on understanding and knowing of lived experiences of participants from their viewpoint (Moustakas, 2004). Using transcendental phenomenology, with emphasis on getting the lived experience as its focus, emerged as the best approach for this study. Transcendental phenomenology, as Moustakas (2004) argued, inspires accessibility into an individual’s, experience and feelings, and subtle qualities of the phenomenon studied. Further, it enables a researcher to access full details or knowledge of a particular phenomenon.
The transcendental phenomenology approach used in this study involved adopting two methods of phenomenological reflection, namely the reduction and constitution of meaning. Husserl (1913/1931), Finlay (2009), and Giorgi (2008) supported transcendental phenomenology and regarded it as a manifesting science. They opposed the use of interpretive phenomenology due to its reliance on the views of the researcher rather than the participant.
Transcendental phenomenological approach, as Moustakas (2004) expressed, focuses on the importance of a qualitative research that involves gathering information on the wholeness of the experience and that relates to viewing the experience and behavior as integrated and undividable relationship of phenomenon. Moustakas (2004) further noted that transcendental phenomenology emphasizes on the features of experience, essence of experience, and viewing experience and behavior, but suggested that a researcher should set aside prejudices so as not to influence the outcomes of a research. Transcendental phenomenology allows the researcher to look at a phenomenon as new and facilitates open-minded approach to data collection (Moustakas, 2004).
Using transcendental phenomenology approach in this study, as Chiari and Nuzzo (2006) advocated, allowed for use of descriptive approach in the process of data collection. Transcendental phenomenology focuses on the utilization of the phenomenological attitude over the naturalistic attitude. The simple interest attached to this approach was to discover and describe lived experiences of a phenomenon. Transcendental phenomenology approach allowed for viewing of the phenomenon of study as a new, first-time situation.
Although this study involved the use of Seidman’s interview techniques, it also involved the use of transcendental phenomenological process. The transcendental phenomenological process involved the use of the followings methods: epoch, reduction, imaginative variation, and synthesis, as Moustakas (2004) advocated. Moustakas (2004) postulated that in using transcendental phenomenology approach, a thorough knowledge of the phenomenon or situation under study is an important process. The process allowed the understanding of the lived experience of CEOs both within non-profit and for-profit organizations, in relation to management process.
Epoché, according to Moustakas (2004), provides the researcher the ability to engage in a non-prejudgment, unbiased, and non-preconceived ideas about things. The researcher must have a conscious stance in conducting data collection and analysis. As Moustakas (2004) explained, epoché enables the researcher to remain unbiased or non-judgmental in data collection and analysis.
In phenomenological reduction, the researcher’s first engagement involves creation of a research inquiry and completion of the data analysis, as Moustakas (2004) noted. Moustakas (2004) explained that “in phenomenological reduction we return to the self; we experience things that exist in the world from the vantage point of self-awareness, self- reflection, and knowledge” (p. 97). To achieve phenomenological reduction, one can use methods, such as the bracketing method, horizon and identification method, horizon clustered into themes, and organizing the horizon into consistent themes that describe the phenomenon. Phenomenological reduction process involves revisiting the phenomenon to achieve a self-conscious evident understanding. In other words, it allows the researcher to determine when self-consciousness enhances the process of understanding lived experiences. These lived experiences, according to Moustakas (2004), are evidential in inward reflection, perceiving, and continued visualization.
According to Moustakas (2004), phenomenological reduction involves selection and maintenance of literature review themes that create the essence of the research or study. Researchers use this process as a guide to prepare questions. As Moustakas (2004) stated, this process enables the researcher to stay focused on the study during data collection process. In addition, it allows the researcher to maintain the equality value of all statements collected.
According to Moustakas (2004), in this phenomenological process, meanings and intuitions are determined. The researcher may imagine the lived experience from various stances as described by the participants. Imaginative variation enables a researcher to create a structural description of the experience and its occurrence as narrated. Moustakas (2004) postulated that “imaginative variation consists of free play of fancy; any perspective is a possibility and it allows consciousness to prevail” (p. 99). According to Moustakas (2004), disposition related to the phenomenon forms the basis or foundation of experiences
Moustakas (2004) stated that the process of synthesis emerges from the importance of the experience of an event. The process allows the researcher to conduct a structural description of a phenomenon through intuitive integration. The rationale is this creates the quality that determines the value of the phenomenon as it occurred. Moustakas (2004) further exerted that open-ended questions play a vital role in allowing the researcher to stay focused and attentive when gathering data, which creates a textural and structural description of the lived experiences. Subsequently, the questions allow the researcher to gain substantial understanding and meaningful description of experience.
The overall targeted population for this study comprised CEOs based in metropolitan Houston, Texas, operating in non-profit organizations classified by the United States Internal Revenue Service as 501(C) 3, with both experience in non-profit and for-profit organizations. These leaders represented many mission-driven groups, including health and human services and arts, civic, religious, and educational organizations. While there was some anticipated variance in the position titles and key accountabilities among the participants, all those involved in the study held senior manager statuses, with most being executive directors.
Coming up with a final interview pool involved selecting them from a group of pre-qualified subjects, based on evaluating the complete Houston metropolitan non-profit organization population compiled by the Volunteer Center of Texas. The July 2013 review listed 60 organizations in the greater Houston metropolitan area. The study process involved application of multiple criteria to the targeted population to make certain that all interviewees qualified. The first criterion applied was that law in 501(C) 3 recognized the non-profit organization from which a leader worked. Second, the organizations for the interviewees must have been successful as measured by the American Institute for Philanthropy and the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance. The final criterion was that the leader had to have minimum of more than three years of non-profit experience and with for-profit organization management experience. After applying the criteria, the next step involved selecting 10 respondents, who agreed to participate in the interview. The total number of interviews conducted was 30. The approach applied to identify the study population was purposeful sampling, as Whitley and Crawford (2005), Creswell (2009), and Leedy and Ormrod (2010) advocated. The intention was to select study participants based on the projected relevance of their experience.
As the qualitative study requires researchers to situate themselves within the inquiry, there were concerns about the objectivity of the exploration. A researcher should go through certain steps to enhance participant’s familiarity with the material and phenomenon under study, and to deal with “personal biases, values, and assumptions” (Creswell, 2009, p. 49). The advantage of phenomenology process is that “data becomes meaningful and understandable when placed in the context of the lives of participants” (p. 11).
The first interview concentrated on acquiring background on the subjects and focused on life history. The discussion session took 90 minutes. The second interview explored what Seidman (2008) called “the details of the experience” (p. 12). As Seidman (2008) explained, this involves asking respondents not for opinions, “but about the details of their experience, upon which they may build their opinions” (p. 12). As Seidman (2008) advocated, the final interview involved asking participants “to reflect on the meaning of their experience; it addresses the intellectual and emotional connections between the participants’ work and life” (p. 12). As Seidman (2008) argued, this last step functioned as a point of integration as “making sense or meaning requires that the participants look at how the factors in their lives interact to bring them to their present situation” (p. 12). The three-part interview process relied on unstructured questions built from one discussion to the next. Data coding and analysis followed the interview process. Collectively, the multiple-step approach captured details that offered reflections and sharper correlations among respondents.
The study process complied with federal regulations, which mandated the inclusion of my signature on documents circulated to study participants. Another important step was communicating to respondents about the voluntary nature of their participation in the study. Designing of materials involved paying attention to enhancing maximum comprehension. Appendix A incorporates the informed consent policy statement.
The first of the three-part interview process comprised a meeting in person with pre-qualified participants serving as leaders within metropolitan Houston non-profit organizations. The sampling stage provided insight into the participants’ professional background and leadership philosophies. In addition, the stage involved validating the subjects’ background to ensure that they met the study requirements. If a potential participant did not meet the requirements, he or she would not participate in the study. All individuals in the sample signed the consent form.
The initial interview also consisted, in more detail, the purpose and time commitment required of the volunteers. Further, it provided them with the opportunity to accept or decline participation in the rest of the interviewing process. The study focused on CEOs with a minimum of 3 years in managing non-profit and for-profit organizations. Experienced CEOs chosen had to have developed their unique leadership styles.
The execution process for this study involved paying attention to the protection of privacy and confidentiality of all participants as well as data sets (see Appendix B). Consent forms did not incorporate private information, and the responses of subjects were confidential. A vital activity was recording of all proceedings for later transcription to enable accurate coding procedures. Data collection process involved use of a coding and tracking system to take appropriate follow-up steps, which encouraged participation. Generalization of all results provided within the body of the proposal and in any subsequent journal articles, books, or lectures helped to protect the identity of study participants, as Meltzoff (2008) advocated.
Recording and archiving all interview results helped to enhance integrity and to maintain original data. Documentation and audio recording process were the same in all interviews. Making follow-up calls for each interview helped to confirm participation interest and appointment details.
The transcendental phenomenological approach incorporated these sequences or steps in the research:
- Performing a literature review to evaluate the evolution of leadership theory and emotional intelligence and to develop interview questions for the study.
- Identifying the target population of non-profit leaders residing in metropolitan Houston metropolitan, Texas.
- Isolating the research population through conducting interviews with organizational leaders identified through referral or those included in the metropolitan non-profit list provided by the Volunteer Center of Texas.
- Completing the first interview in the three-part series. The intention was to gather biographical and historical information on the subject.
- Transcribing the interviews.
- Coding the data using personal analysis via the Transana diagnostic software program.
- Identifying properties within the data.
- Analyzing the data, and isolating themes and descriptions.
- Refining the questions that guided the second unstructured interview.
- Completing the second interview in the three-part series. The intention was to solicit experience-based reflections on leadership.
- Transcribing the interviews.
- Coding the data, using personal analysis via the Transana analysis software program.
- Identifying properties within the data.
- Analyzing the data, isolating themes and descriptions.
- Refining the questions that guided the third unstructured interview.
- Completing the third and final interview in the series. The intention was to describe how the non-profit leader with both experiences on non-profit and for-profit organizations bridge experience to leadership behavior and future decisions.
- Transcribing the interviews.
- Coding the data using personal analysis via the Transana diagnostic software program.
- Identifying properties within the data.
- Analyzing the data, isolating themes and descriptions.
- Reporting the conclusions. Chapter 4 presents the findings in narrative and graphical forms. Chapter 5 consists of conclusions and discussion related to the study.
- Storing the data. Any information and data acquired during this phase of the study was stored in a data warehouse accessible to the researcher only. The data is available for review for three years following publication, after which it will be destroyed. Soft copies will be deleted permanently and hard copies shared.
The data analysis process for this study included the use of a software program called Transana Diagnostic Software designed, developed, and maintained by a scholar named David K. Woods, an employee at that Wisconsin Center for Education Research, University of Wisconsin-Madison. Transana Diagnostic Software is a program, according to Dempster and Woods (2011), created to help in the transcription and analysis of video data. The program facilitates a way to view video, create a transcript of data collected, and connect areas in the transcript to features in the video. Dempster and Woods further supported the program’s potential and capability, stating that it is be able to identify and organize analytical interest areas of the videos and align keywords to the video clips that it creates. Subsequently, the program can be database, and file manipulation tools that allow for improvement in organization and storage capability of larger data collected by digital video process.
Transana Diagnostic Software adopted in the first pilot evaluations to identify the potential for improving the usability of the program on the actual research process. The simple and less sophisticated version called the Standard version was used, that, according to Dempster and Woods (2011), is affordable, easy to use, and articulates details for the novice researcher to conduct transcription and analyzes video and audio data collected and stored in a single computer.
Role of the Interviewer/Researcher
The researcher conducted the interviews alone. The experience of working in a non-profit setting helped in identifying with the participants and developing a trustworthy relationship with them. The past experience as a supervisor in a non-profit environment helped in relating with the ways of managing among CEOs. The interviewer was as a concerned listener, rather than an executive member. Therefore, the final sample included no CEOs who had worked with the interviewer.
As Moustakas (2004) explained, “evidence from phenomenological study emerges from first-person reports of life experiences”(p. 84). There was a need to understand the experiences of the respondents from their viewpoint. To experience the phenomenon, epoché was applied. Using epoché helped to avoid making suppositions from prejudgments, biases, and preconceived ideas about the experiences of leaders of profit and non-profit organizations. The relationships and observations from the past were not included so as to view the experience as fresh and new. Inter-subjectivity was practiced, as advocated by Moustakas (2004), through experiencing what others experience.
Conducting the interviews with the CEOs involved focusing on knowing the experience of working in a non-profit organization the way they experienced it. Throughout, the key focus was to draw out the unique experiences of the respondents and validating statements and descriptions without leading the participant away from their personal perspective. Contrary to the quantitative researchers, who distance themselves from the participants and the research question, a qualitative researcher is participatory (Merriam, 2008). The phenomenological discipline using Modified Stevick-Colaizzi-Keen method requires that the researcher should act as one as a participant, and participants act as co-researchers (Moustakas, 2004).
Conducting of interviews involved use of a sample size that justified the interviewing participants until reaching a data saturation. Determination of sample size involved first specifying a minimum sample size for initial analysis. The second step involved determining how many more interviews to conduct without new ideas emerging.
According to Charmaz (2006), the premise of descriptive saturation is that the researcher should not lead to new descriptive themes emerging from the study. The study had a set of 10 CEOs participants who met the stipulated criteria. The goal was to collect data to explain a phenomenon of interest and then construct theories from the collected data. Theory construction takes place during data collection. Saturation is the point in data collection when no new or relevant information emerges regarding the newly constructed theory (Charmaz, 2006). Saturation occurs when the theory appears to be robust, with no gaps or unexplained phenomena, making it easy to construct the resulting theory.
The primary instrumentation for data collection exercised in this transcendental phenomenological approach or study was interviews. Interview process occurred in three phases; the first gathered background information on the participants, such as understanding what attracted them to the non-profit environment and drove them to remain employed within this sector. The second interview examined current reflections on non-profit leadership and leadership characteristics. The third interview concentrated on the participants’ intentions to shape their future leadership choices and their awareness of the sustaining characteristics needed to thrive in non-profit environments. Developing probing questions helped to support each component of the three-interview process. The content analysis, coding, and subsequent identification of themes emerging from the first interview were incorporated in the second interview. The third interview incorporated themes that emerged from the second interview.
Prior to the launching of the research study, the Volunteer Center of Texas that honors non-profit organizations achievements in various categories was requested to recommend two or three CEOs in the study area of interest to partake in a pilot study. These selected individuals met the inclusion criteria. None of the selected individuals who participated in the pilot study was included in the sample used for the actual study. Ideally, the study followed due process where briefing of the participants took place on the purpose of the study, and seeking their consent and conducting of interview occurred. Data analysis followed through a criteria that involved bracketing, reducing phenomenology, delineating units of meaning, clustering units of meaning to come up with themes, summarizing the interview, validating the same, and finally, extracting general and unique themes from the interviews. The guiding question tested during the pilot study determined whether the actual study would address information pertinent to the study. The research question was understandable, flowed well, and was interesting and easy to answer. The question elicited responses pertinent to the actual study and the pilot transcript contained context rich data that was easy to cluster into themes.
Unstructured questioning strategy was utilized, as advocated by Dicicco-Bloom and Crabtree (2006). Appendix C presents verbal script, whereas Appendix D presents field log process. The letter formally introduced the project to the participants before the interviews and informed them that all conversations would be audio. The appendix section also includes a sample cover letter and letter of appreciation for the participants in the process and support for the interview process.
The steps adopted in qualitative data collection process, as defined by Christensen, Johnson, and Turner (2010) were:
- Obtaining permission to conduct the study
- Selecting participants and sitespurposefully to best understand the phenomenon
- Identifying data from various sources such as observations, interviews, documents, audio-visual materials
- Administering and recording data using protocols, such as observational and interview protocols
- Administering the data collection in a manner sensitive to individuals and sites
The study involved using two primary data collection approaches. The first was conducting of unstructured interviews “consisting of asking a few, open-ended questions and recording the views and meaning of participant interviews” (Christensen et al., 2010, p. 199). The second approach involved conducting of “unstructured observational data consisting of observing and taking field notes or constructing drawings about a setting” (p. 199).
The study process involved recording of field notes, as Creswell (2009 suggested. As Creswell (2009, p. 201) advocated, the activity served to “record a description of the events, activities, and people (such as what happened)” and to capture “personal thoughts that researchers have that relate to their insights, hunches, or broad ideas or themes that emerge during the observation” (p. 203).
The selection process for participants involved contacting them by telephone, briefing them about the study, and requesting them to set aside time for a meeting. The study process also involved validating the participants against the target population screening process mentioned earlier in this chapter. When the prospective participants and their organizations met these qualifications, the next step involved asking them to volunteer for this study. Scheduling for interviews followed for last 10 participants who qualified, which served as the start of the formal data collection process. To prepare for the discussion, the potential participants received parcels containing these elements: a cover letter requesting their participation in the study, the informed consent form, and information on the multiple-part interview process.
Specific procedures for the interview process, as informed by the work of Christensen et al. (2010), were:
Identifying the interviewees…Determining the type of interview…Audio-taping the questions and responses…Taking brief notes during the interview…Using probes (sub-questions) to obtain additional information. (pp. 207-208)
Transcription enabled conversion of the “field notes into text data” (p. 259). The conversion process allowed the subsequent assembly of a preliminary exploratory analysis evolving from a “general sense of the data” (Christensen et al., p. 265). Data recording protocols that captured detail for later analysis supported these steps.
Trustworthiness of Results
While quantitative research relies on measures of reliability and validity to evaluate the utility of a study, one can evaluate it by its “trustworthiness.” Coined by Lincoln and Guba (2009), this term represents several constructs, including (a) credibility, (b) transferability, (c) dependability, and (d) conformability. The aforementioned terms are defined below.
The truth-value, or credibility, of conclusions in a qualitative study is comparable to the concept of internal validity in quantitative research. Lincoln and Guba (2009) and Miles and Huberman (2010) suggested that research results should be scrutinized according to the following three basic questions: (a) Do the conclusions make sense? (b) Do the conclusions adequately describe research participants’ perspectives? and (c) Do conclusions authentically represent the phenomena under study? A sample saturation size of seasoned CEOs and the pilot study helped to enhance credibility. Experts in the field consulted, as Lincoln and Guba (2009) advocated. Presenting results to participants after a conclusion of the study served as a method of enhancing the credibility of this study’s results.
Similar to the concept of external validity in quantitative studies, transferability seeks to determine whether the results relate to other contexts (Lincoln & Guba, 2009; Miles & Huberman, 2010). Transferability was enhanced by providing a thick, rich description of the contexts, perspectives, and findings that surrounded participants’ lived experiences. Providing adequate detail to draw a well-defined context gives readers the opportunity to determine whether the results are transferable to other circumstances. Maintaining a detailed field log of all activities, contacts, and procedures and keeping a current reflexive journal of personal research experiences helped to provide enough description to enhance transferability of findings.
Dependability refers to whether or not the results of the study follow in time and across researchers. As Miles and Huberman (1994) explained, dependability is similar to Similar to the concept of reliability in quantitative research. Reliance on the three series of interviews conducted with the ten CEOs helped to enhance dependability.
Conformability assumes that the findings reflect the participants’ perspectives as evidenced in the data. The findings do not reflect the researcher’s own perceptions or bias. Reliance on the interviewee’s feedback alone and avoiding interfering with what they said helped to achieve conformability.
As explained by Moustakas (2004), analysis of data derived from a phenomenological inquiry takes several steps. Phenomenological inquiry starts with building the research inquiry; the data analyst goes through the data collected, such as interviews results, transcripts, and significant sentences, quotations, which describe the lived experience of the phenomenon of study. According to Moustakas (2004), this process is called horizontalization. The process helped to develop meanings from the sentences or quotations collected from the participants into themes. The next step involved formulating a descriptive analysis lived experiences as related to the research inquiry.
Because of the non-profit organizations and the increasing pressure to generate higher levels of funds through community outreach sponsorships, signature projects, and donations, it was anticipated based on the results of initial descriptive discussions that some potential participants would be uneasy with a 360-degree assessment, a tool commonly applied in an identification process. In a strictly qualitative study supported by primary research, participants can experience greater comfort in one-on-one interviews. The study’s descriptive approach should develop or disprove specific theories and build, as advocated by Christensen, Johnson, and Turner (2010), details that offer the opportunity for abstraction and concepts.
Qualitative interviewing allows the acquisition of different points of view. As Rubin and Rubin (2005) stated, “getting one side of an argument is not sufficient. A researcher needs to understand different arguments and balance them. Using multiple interviews with the sample populations and the selection of participants from non-profit organizations with experience in non-profit and for-profit organizations of varying size, sophistication, and mission focus allowed for a larger view of leadership in these settings. As noted by Simon and Frances (2002), qualitative methodology supports the view that the world is holistic and that no single reality exists among all individuals. By seeking meaning and purpose, as expressed through experience and philosophy, understanding of the qualifications of current-day non-profit leaders can inform the selection of their replacements.
In the selection of germinal and other supporting literature, the study reflected content reviews, a process subjective by nature. Therefore, it becomes vulnerable to perception and subsequent interpretation. Content analysis refers to a systematic compression of many words of text into fewer content categories (Stemler, 2003). Content analysis enabled the engagement of actual collection and assessment of textural material. Neuman (2003) described its flexibility and value as a far-reaching analysis approach that examines both the primary message and latent content, such as the symbolic meaning attached to words or phrases. Neuman (2003) stated that content refers to “words, meanings, pictures, symbols, ideas, themes, or any message that can be communicated” (p. 310).
Internal threats to the validity of the three-interview process were assessed throughout the interview process. The main internal threat was the possibility that an element of subjectivity might exist in the phrasing of the questions. A secondary internal threat might be the possible due isolation of key words that may have had meaning beyond the context of the study.
The study involved use of pure research to the business world, which is an example of applied descriptive research. Using the transcendental phenomenological method facilitated the participants (CEOs) to describe their experiences. The intention was to examine leadership management behaviors within CEOs operating in then on-profit environment. One of the key assumptions held was that if executed with diligence and control, one-on-one interviews would provide valuable qualitative data on the current leadership employed by Houston metropolitan, Texas, non-profit organizations. The conclusions reached through this process might help to identify opportunities for leadership development that would improve workplace efficiency, improve leadership capabilities, and strengthen tenure.
This chapter addressed the methods and procedures used to select study subjects, data collected methods and processes, and instruments used. A secondary function of this chapter addressed the presentation of the research design. The discussion incorporated a review of scope, primary and secondary approaches, and general procedures. Data presentation and analysis are contained in the next chapter.
Presentation and Analysis of Data
The purpose of this qualitative study was to describe the ways of managing as articulated by executives with both non-profit and for-profit lived experience working within non-profit organizations. The study applied a phenomenological methodology that involved examining and establishing the meaning of 30 qualitative interviews with 10 non-profit CEOs. The phenomenological methodology approach facilitated the conveyance and identification of lived reflections. Further, it created understanding of the context of the individuals in the setting and their responses to managerial challenges (Daniels, 2000).
The study process included using the three-intensive method developed by Siedman (2008) to provide a framework for a multipart phenomenological exploration. The method provided for a comprehensive examination of experience and the subjects attribute meaning to their leadership philosophies and subsequent choices. Employing phenomenological data analysis techniques combined with multivariate analysis to assess themes emerging from the data helped to enhance validity. The intention was to develop an in-depth and meaningful understanding of the data collected to support the subject under study.
The study design facilitated investigation of ways of managing and leadership characteristics present within a previously unexamined population in a centralized geographic area. Recording, transcription, and analysis process, which incorporated the Transana analysis software program, helped to isolate emerging themes. The resulting interview data then provided insight into the perceptions, lived experiences, and philosophies of the purposeful sample of non-profit leaders. These seasoned individuals served in senior level positions in non-profit organizations in Houston metropolitan area meeting the 501(C) 3 legal definition.
This chapter presents the results derived from the qualitative phenomenological study. Qualitative phenomenological study provides descriptive, multivariate analysis and corresponding themes. Data collected from each of the three interviews is available in this section. A discussion of reliability and validity is also available. The chapter ends with a summary of the data analysis and bridges to the content in Chapter 5.
According to Alonso, Geys, Molenberghs, and Vangeneugden (2002) and Leedy and Ormrod (2010), the validity of the research instrument (again, the qualitative researcher in this study) refers to what the instrument is used to measure. The literature addressed the potential for bias, as the implementation of the instrument was necessary to obtain the data from qualitative studies (Creswell, 2008, 2009; Morrow, 2005).
Leedy and Ormrod (2010) regarded the reliability of the research instrument as the consistency of its measurement of the phenomenon. They endorsed a standardized approach to achieve a base of similarity. Tape recording the interview series enabled reliability and helped to develop a baseline of constructs and themes from the unstructured interviews. The overall data collection approach encouraged study participants to reflect more deeply upon their perceptions, experiences, and practices.
Using a screening interview (Appendix E) helped to determine the potential suitability of study prospects. Initial identification of individuals involved use of referrals or inclusion in the non-profit list provided by the Volunteer Center of Houston. Key indicators of suitability were the organizational designation as a 501(C) 3 and the years of experience held by the executive. Thirty-seven screening interviews were conducted to identify 10 qualified participants. The screening interview document (Appendix E) guided the discussion with the prospective study participant and to record notes of their responses.
The method of study participant selection was purposeful and the final sample only included the respondents who met the study criteria. All participants involved read the informed consent form before the interview series and confirmed their approval for participation (Appendix A). Prior to the interview, each participant read and understood the information about the content of the interview and the whole project, as Siedman (2008) advocated. To maintain the privacy of the study participants and to minimize bias, it was essential to use numbers (such as Participant 1 and Participant 2) instead of using personal identity details of the interview subjects.
Data collection occurred between November 2014 and January 2015. In its entirety, this part of the research covered 43 days. The next step involved contacting thirty-seven potential respondents. Although some potential interviewees were eager to participate, they did not do so because they lacked the correct 501(C) 3 designation, which was a requirement. Others did not participate because of lack of responsiveness to the inquiry request or inconsistencies in availability. The final list had 10 qualified participants, who possessed a minimum of three decades of non-profit and for-profit experience, and their affiliate organizations had the required designation. The study design called for a screening interview and Seidman (2008) three-part qualitative interview series. The study participants completed 40 interviews. Data saturation, determined by the recurrence of themes, occurred after the set of interviews with the 10 participants who met the prescribed selection criteria. The data saturation pattern continued to develop through the next two interviews in the series.
Data richness resulted from this purposive sample and three-part interview series, which enabled the creation of meaningful composite descriptions of the ways of managing present within the group of non-profit subjects. Transcribing process took approximately two months, leading to 69-page Field Notes document and 258 pages of interviews. Field notes and interview transcripts and housed in a secure location. The next step involved content analysis and development of charts.
The study participants willingly provided informed consent and gave their permission to participate in the series of three in-person interviews. Each participant had an identification code assigned. Codification enabled confidential but consistent identification of study participants. During the screening interview, notes were written on a pre-developed form (Appendix E). Information gathered during this phase informed development of demographic and experience-related tables and graphics presented in this chapter. Besides taping each of the three interviews in the series, field notes were maintained to record quotations, comments, and the context of statements. The next step after the completion of the 10-interview series was translation of the tapes and organization and typing the field notes. Running the emerging data through Transana analysis software program helped to enable the isolation of key words, themes, and subthemes, and the subsequent presentation of the analysis.
Identification of participants involved use of referrals from members of the Houston metropolitan area non-profit and corporate communities. A secondary source of potential subjects was a directory of area non-profits maintained by the Volunteer Center. A third form of study recruitment was participant endorsement of the opportunity to their non-profit colleagues.
Ten non-profit executives participated in the three-interview series constituting the study. Seven individuals were female and three individuals were male. Although this was not a direct intention of the qualification process, the study population represented diversity in ethnicity. Figure 1 presents the results:
Figure 1: Ethnicity.
The individuals included had a large range of experience from the minimum screening qualification or 10 years to over 30. The longest tenured individual presented three decades of direct non-profit experience, while two participants each had 28 years of experience. The least experienced study participant had nearly 11 years of experience. The average number of years of non-profit experience among the study participants was 21.4. Figure 2 about Years of Non-Profit Experience gives a brief presentation of these results.
Figure 2: Years of Non-profit Experience.
During the screening process, each participant answered whether he or she saw self as a leader or manager. Ninety percent said they were leaders. One individual characterized herself as a manager. When asked this question in the second of the three part interview series for the study, 100 percent said they were managers.
Reflecting on the trait theory of leadership, study participants explained whether they believed leaders are born or nurtured by other leaders. Three respondents said that leaders are born; one said they are natured and the rest said they are both born and natured. All individuals answered a question about the characteristics or aspects of leadership they felt were important. Figure 3 about Personal Performance Characteristics presents these responses. Some of the performance responses in Figure 3 are also present in the content analysis.
Figure 3: Personal Performance Characteristics.
Two were affiliates of national charities. The remaining participants were affiliates of statewide or community organizations. After official selection and their agreement to support the study by the participants ended, each participant involved in a three-interview series. Transana analysis software program helped to analyze the recorded and the transcriptions data. The next step involved coding of data and performance of keyword search. The analysis process enabled the sorting of themes and the identification of recurring word use. The next step after transcription analysis involved removal of the key word searches, which facilitated accurate tracking of comments. Figure 4 shows the number of subjects who used similar key words during interview series one (the set of interviews with each subject). Figure 5 presents the total of times those words were used.
Figure 4: Key Word Counts Series 1 Interviews.
Figure 5: Key Word Totals Series 1 Interviews.
An analysis followed the conclusion of each of the three interview series, to identify themes common among the participants in each component of the interviews. Forty-four themes identified. The researcher divided the summary of the data collected into three sections:
First Interview Series Themes
The analysis of the first interview series resulted in the identification of six themes:
Theme 1: Organizational vision serves as the guidepost against which study participants measure key decisions.
Theme 2: Passion and objectivity appear to be valuable leadership attributes among study participants.
Theme 3: The participants indicated there is great awareness of the importance of management, and study participants strive to understand and develop their core competencies.
Theme 4: The participants held integrity and character with high regard.
Theme 5: Interest in professional development is a common driver; participants noted that leadership is an evolution, and that leaders develop new skill sets as they mature.
Theme 6: The participants cited the ability to connect with people as significant to non-profit leaders.
Several participants spoke of their mutual accountabilities and requirement to help foster understanding of vision and purpose of organizations. Since the study adopted a phenomenological methodology approach that facilitated the conveyance and identification of lived experiences, there was natural variance in the way participants expressed experiences and ways of managing. For instance, Participant 1 spoke of the need to be assertive, to multi-task, and to help others “enroll in the vision with you.” The phenomenological adopted approach enabled participants to have tenacity, ability to think out of the box, high ethics, and ability to communicate the parameters in which the particular non-profit organization and its leader accomplish its work. Participant 2 concentrated on the satisfaction that arose from assembling a successful team and the accomplishments they can make possible. The participant reflected on parental influence and the advice to honor the responsibilities of the position, and serve with integrity and “heart.” Participant 6 expressed leadership as the potential others saw and nurtured, even though these qualities were at the time unknown to the individual. Participant 10 noted that non-profit leaders might have a more profound awareness of the world around them. The respondent was an early anti-litter activist, and while a child participated in walks to end suffering and generate greater concern. Overall, most participants believed that their efforts played a major role in building strong organizations.
Besides the prevailing themes that emerged from the first interview series, there were numerous commonalities among the responses. Both participants 5 and 2 expressed the loneliness that may accompany leadership. They stressed the necessity of operating and handling touch decisions independently. Participants 7 and 10 addressed the unique satisfactions that come from mission-driven work, and stated leaders in that arena may be driven to select jobs that provide societal rather than monetary rewards. Again, as noted in Figure 6 and Figure 7, there were notable similarities in expression and the description of personal values and behaviors, many of which echo the leadership of their management principles in the literature review.
Figure 6: Key Word Count Series 2 Interviews.
Based on the analysis, unstructured interview method was designed and applied to the second interview series to enable responsive follow-up questions. The unstructured interviews provided the opportunity to probe, and encouraged participants to share descriptive explanations of their leadership philosophy and influential management experiences.
The second series of interviews resulted in both the identification of new key words, and the reinforcement of key words previously identified during the content analysis of the first interview set. Figure 6 shows the number of subjects who used similar key words, during interview series two. Figure 7 presents the total of times those words were used.
Second Interview Series Themes
The analysis resulted in the identification of 11 themes:
Theme 1: Management is often an intentional choice.
Theme 2: Strategy and commitment to the vision and mission of the organization are key factors in decision-making.
Theme 3: Leadership often requires weighing risk and balancing concerns.
Theme 4: There is necessity for leaders to take charge and to drive the direction of the organization’s followers.
Theme 5: Organizational capacity and a structured approach are important characteristics of leadership.
Theme 6: Division of accountabilities and recognition of roles are vital to effective leadership.
Theme 7: A leader may understand the course of action to take, but may give the team time to reach that conclusion on their own.
Theme 8: Leadership models are influential in the formulation of leadership acumen and philosophy.
Theme 9: Storytelling, advanced articulation, and expression skills may be vital to leadership.
Theme 10: Integrity and character-driven behavior are core to admirable leadership conduct.
Theme 11: A disposition of adaptability and flexibility make leadership responsive to organizational challenges, both those internal and external.
Once again, the expressions of lived experience revealed many observations on leadership. For instance, Participant 1 concentrated on the lessons she had learned in a recent leadership scenario. Participant revealed confusion about how someone in the industry responded competitively to a progressive program, and how the participant’s innovation and good intentions did not have the correct interpretation. Several leadership observations emerged during the interview that reinforced the participant’s capabilities and opportunities for continual development.
Participant 2 underscored the importance of communicating why the work is essential, and how leaders must help followers to fulfill their responsibilities. Participant 3 focused on how leaders must assess the caliber of their team, isolating strengths and weaknesses. The strategy enables the leader to recruit needed capabilities so the group is well rounded and qualified to achieve its mission. The individual spoke of how valuable it is for the leader to foster independence in her employees and the importance of trusting the team. Participant 8 relayed how leadership style is cultivated by watching how other leaders address challenging scenarios, and by personal life experience. The respondent referenced crises and spoke of how the capacity to see what needed to be accomplished revealed leadership. The participant drew a comparison between how this person might have viewed a situation earlier in her career, and the wider perspective that now shapes her interpretations and decisions.
As anticipated based on the content analysis of the first two interview series, the third series of interviews resulted in both the identification of new key words, and the reinforcement of previously isolated key words. Figure 8 shows the number of subjects who used similar key words during interview series three (the third and final set of interviews with each subject). Figure 9 presents the total number of times participants used those words, as participants reflected on transferring leadership, and offered conclusions on the ways of managing.
Figure 8: Key Word Count Series 3 Interviews.
Figure 9: Key Word Totals Series 3 Interviews.
Third Interview Series Themes
The analysis stage resulted in the identification of 27 themes:
Theme 1: Leadership requires continual reflection, and often involves an interest in self-development.
Theme 2: Leaders must acknowledge and perform with accountability to others.
Theme 3: The ability to inspire and motivate may be critical to leadership influence.
Theme 4: Frequently cited expressions of leadership style were collaboration, cooperation, and common commitment.
Theme 5: Leaders may vary significantly in competency levels, and their results may be uneven.
Theme 6: Ethical dilemmas are larger areas of concern for non-profit leaders today than in previous years.
Theme 7: Relationships and coalition building remain an integral element of the successful leader’s attribute set.
Theme 8: The leader holds ultimate responsibility for non-profit performance. All team contributors need to learn about individual accountability.
Theme 9: Assessment of strengths and skills, and compensation to build the most diverse and capable team remain the obligation of the leader.
Theme 10: Concentrating earnestly on improvements, becoming analytical, and looking for comparisons in practices enhance leadership ability.
Theme 11: Competency in current demanding non-profit world requires financial understanding, diplomacy, and planning expertise.
Theme 12: The ability to recognize diverse perspectives and to consider them objectively is vital to leadership.
Theme 13: Steadiness, balance, and consistency are among the most positive attributes of the informed, accountable leader.
Theme 14: Consistency of the leader’s convictions reveals character.
Theme 15: Leaders must appreciate the unique dimensions of each major situation they face; they cannot rely solely on historical experience.
Theme 16: Leadership is an evolving set of practices and measured choices.
Theme 17: Leadership relies on inclusion. Team members who cannot contribute to organizational decisions may feel they are under authoritarian rule.
Theme 18: Leaders must learn from their followers, and recognize when it is time to pull back.
Theme 19: Leaders must prepare and anticipate, so they are ready to take action when needed. They must be alert to signals.
Theme 20: Leaders must be guided by “right action” and strive to perform appropriately.
Theme 21: A strong sense of direction and leadership are crucial to leadership.
Theme 22: Participants stated there might be impossibility to lead people; they will not respond.
Theme 23: A leader must be open to learning, to new styles, and to lessons in the literature.
Theme 24: Leaders must engage in educational activities and community collaboration to gain better preparation for the challenges of guiding tomorrow’s non-profit organizations. Increasing sophistication will be required.
Theme 25: Leadership intuition may result from experience and knowledge of what is ultimately right and correct.
Theme 26: Effective leadership encompasses superb communication and effective listening skills, and competencies in objective, inclusive thinking.
Theme 27: The strongest leaders usually combine cognitive decision-making and solid behavioral choices.
At this final component of the interview series, the participants were to express their beliefs and reflections on their ways of leading. Further, the participants offered correlations that drew from the earlier interview series and their continuing consideration of leadership between the scheduled discussions. For instance, Participant 1 argued that the ethical leader moves from an “essential core” and must cultivate the “ability to inspire and motivate others to common mission and vision.” The participant noted that, “it is an interesting dichotomy in that, to be a leader you have to be able to create an effective team and make sure everybody is in their proper positions in order for management to be effective.” Leaders must engage in continual learning to develop what the participant called “unique recognition” of their capabilities and style that “comes from your individual working or analysis” as “most leaders cannot necessarily articulate what they are and how they do what they do.” An argument emerged that for non-profits to prosper in troubling economic times, leaders must transfer the competencies they apply in their own organizations to develop a strong local network of non-profits. The strategy requires capitalizing on the trend “to develop community partnerships and to collaborate, to go forth in that kind of synchronicity and synergy.” Participant 3 concentrated on the interconnectedness between the leader and the followers as “it takes a team to do anything.” The participant identified an array of qualities a leader should cultivate; the capacity to be a good listener, creativity to deal with new problems, interest in soliciting recommendations from the team, strength to step in but not micromanage, willingness to change and to honestly assess one’s strengths and weaknesses, interest in collaboration and coalition building, and continual focus on communication.
Participant 10 considered how individuals with leadership capacity and experience might still fail to lead. In relating an example, the respondent noted the influence of personality and disposition on leadership outcomes. Further, the respondent stated that leaders may be “behind the scenes” rather than being more obviously authoritative and visible, such as elected officials. Among the dimensions of leadership the respondent identified as most significant were “listening, empathy, appreciating, and thinking.” She advocated for development of a stronger sense of awareness and responsiveness to better address the myriad of opportunities that may exist. The participant suggested that non-profit leaders should focus on becoming “better drivers” by giving higher caliber directions and delegating more easily. Leaders must always “be clear with their own intent,” and should strive “to truly appreciate all the different people and all of their different talents and skills.”
This study involved use of qualitative paradigm and phenomenological methodology to seek meaning. The intention was to examine the ways of leading present among seasoned executives in non-profit organizations. Siedman’s (1998) three-interview series served as the basis for the qualitative study. Each interview lasted approximately 30 minutes to an hour. The next step involved categorizing data from each interview and passing it through respective qualitative software analysis program to isolate key themes. Figures 4 through 9 identify the usage of key words by interview series, as revealed through the content analysis process. Twelve themes were identified following the final analysis of the data.
Chapter 4 presented summarized findings and data analysis for the study. The chapter also presented design methodology applied to the research, and introduced the reasons for selecting the qualitative method. The group of participants and selection methods adopted were presented in the chapter. The conclusions gathered from the data collection are present in Chapter 5. Chapter 5 also incorporates conclusions drawn from the literature review, methodology, data analysis, the implications of the findings of the study, and recommendations for future research.
Discussion, Recommendations and Conclusions
This chapter presents and summarizes key study conclusions and recommendations drawn from the content analysis. Predominant themes are isolated and addressed. A further objective was to reiterate the significance of the study from the perspective of the newly gained data and subsequent assessment. The chapter proceeds into a discussion of assumptions and limitations, supported by a presentation of implications. Finally, the current section comprises conclusion, recommendations for further research, and a summary of the study.
Purpose of the Study
The qualitative study led to identification of both uniform and distinct ways of managing that influences successful non-profit leaders. The study may encourage other professionals “to stop, and think—to step back and reflect thoughtfully on their experiences,” as explained by Gosling and Mintzberg (2003, p. 57). By incorporating Seidman’s (2008) multiple interview process, participants could share stories of successful management and leadership, and place meaning and purpose behind them. The research data revealed frames of experience, and subsequently identified themes through content analysis. The dissertation themes advanced the research by contributing a frame to the ongoing dialogue on management, and extending concern to a larger range of factors affecting management and leadership transfer and proficiency.
A comprehensive literature review provided a foundation for theoretical and research perspectives and offered Gardner (2003, 2005, 2007) multiple intelligences and Goleman (2005, 2006) emotional intelligence theory as areas relevant to management and leadership in current day non-profit organizations. Vail (2006) provided a theoretical framework that further substantiated the study rationale. The study incorporated an overview of organizational theories and philosophies reflecting the evolving field of management as related to leadership. Key study conclusions reflected the notion of stewardship (Blanchard & Hodges, 2003), servant leadership (Greenleaf & Spears, 2002), and the influence of effective leadership (Bass, 2007; Wren 2005) upon organizational performance, and the necessity of continual learning. The significant experiences and perspectives underscored the opportunity to transfer the study results directly to practice by defining and demonstrating sound management related to leadership techniques. Key observations related to the interview reflected the view that leadership encompasses multiple forms of intelligence and problem solving, and there is a profound requirement for interpersonal communications competencies. The leaders or managers addressed the need to refine their competencies to be of greater service to their organization and their team members. Further, participants underscored how essential communication proficiency was to situating the vision, expressing impact, and inspiring volunteer and donor audience.
Significance of the Problem
The results of this research contributed to the body of knowledge regarding non-profit management as related to leadership and the understanding of leadership practice. The study has specific value for executive directors and senior managers engaged in pursuing charitable, health, cultural, arts, and social-advancement missions. The research documented leadership qualities isolated in daily decision-making, and the character-driven choices and belief in service expressed by the participants. Certain uniformities in the way of managing and leading were uncovered.
Recognizing leadership behaviors is especially relevant to future non-profits because of the often-high turnover in staff they experience, the constant pressure of fundraising, and the challenges of recruiting and managing volunteers. Further, it is anticipated that with the retirement of Baby Boomer leaders or managers, some of their traditional values (including resiliency and deep commitment to work) may not be present in younger individuals aspiring to leadership roles. Examining the experiences and reflections on leadership behavior within given current day non-profit executives, and subsequently isolating themes through the process of content analysis, provided insight that may guide organizational leaders to determine what qualities they may seek in their leadership. Operational knowledge of these competencies and the patterns of their application may help non-profits to function effectively even in turbulent economic times. Study participants complained about organizational performance and adaptability. Many of the leaders noted the complexities of defining and applying management as related to leadership principles and the urgent need for high capabilities if non-profits are to succeed in an increasingly competitive environment.
Design and Conduct of the Study
This study examined and broadened the existing body of research and knowledge that centers on the dimensions of management as related to leadership, specifically the uniformity of leadership belief and experience in a population of non-profit executives. A primary objective was to describe discernable and potentially meaningful factors present among study participants on lived management experiences in both non-profit and for-profit organizations. The resulting data then enabled the identification of fundamental themes. As a systematic study, the process incorporated a comprehensive literature review that compared and contrasted leadership theories and constructs that may influence prevailing managerial views and actions.
The research study followed a sequence (presented in Chapter 3 and in the Research Map found in Appendix F), and the primary instrumentation for data collection was the interview. The research process involved three phases: the first gathered background and biographical information on the participants, such as what attracted them to the non-profit environment and what drove them to remain employed within this sector. The second interview examined current reflections on non-profit leadership and leadership characteristics. The third interview concentrated on the participants’ intentions to shape their future management skills as related to leadership choices and their awareness of the sustaining characteristics needed to thrive in non-profit environments. The participants answered probing questions during the interviews.
Data collection involved two primary approaches. The first was unstructured interviews and the second was the use of field notes containing observational data. The field notes provided a mechanism for capturing potential connections between leader expressions and theory. The documentation also served as a point of validation when reviewing the accuracy of the interview transcriptions.
The study applied a phenomenological methodology that involved identification and analysis of the lived experiences and personalized reflections of non-profit leaders. The phenomenological methodology approach relied on Siedman’s (2008) multiple interviews method to isolate qualified study participants. Besides providing a framework for a multipart phenomenological exploration, this approach provided insight into the context of the individuals and the settings in which they operate (Daniels, 2000).
Through their distinct articulations, the participants addressed their perspective on management as related to leadership orientation, functions, and obligations. They spoke of the essential need for leaders or managers to understand their own core competencies so they can best support the organizational vision and mission and the personnel they guide. Organizations require seasoned individuals who are both strategic in their thinking, and emotionally connected to the organization. Participants noted that leaders or managers must serve multiple populations—team members, volunteer leaders, corporate partners—with grace, wisdom, and accountability.
Various Intelligences Influence Style
The results of the interview series revealed that participants possess aspects of multiple intelligences (Gardner, 2003, 2005). A wide span of leadership literature (Bong, 2004; Riggio, Murphy & Pirozzolo, 2002; Smigla & Pastoria, 2000) embodies the view that intellect not only gives an individual more dimension, but it may increase their professional proficiency and heighten organizational performance. The aforementioned dimension of leadership was present in the analytical responses of most participants through the experiential frame they brought to their reflections, and their subsequent ability to draw conclusions and attach meaning to their operational decision-making. Participants spoke of the need to grapple with complex funding dilemmas and delicate personnel issues. They exhibited flexibility and analytical skill in responding to sponsor criticism, the political influences of volunteer boards, and the increasing demand for support services in their communities. Heading a non-profit requires the ability to be decisive, while simultaneously focusing on near- and long-term impacts.
As participants conveyed experiences and reflections through the context, there were clear indications of the emotional intelligence attributes of empathy, self-awareness, and concern for others (Goleman, 2005, 2006). Participants spoke of mutual commitment, sensitivity to individuals, the need to motivate, and the obligation to objectively assess and correct performance. The interviews provided an opportunity for the executive directors to convey their preferences and specific techniques for managing change in a way that made it meaningful and less intimidating for the team. Experience enabled the participants to be highly thoughtful when reviewing alternative courses of action. Compassion and a commitment to open multilevel communication are present in a responsiveness that can positively nurture team members.
The participants emulated the leadership competencies identified by Kouzes and Posner (2005), namely knowledge, communication skills, teamwork/team building, personal development, problem solving/critical thinking, strategic thinking, customer service, and business management. The participants mentioned these factors and frequently gave clear examples of competency. Participants addressed the need for continual learning and the proficiency acquired through performance and introspection. They emphasized the necessity of communicating the organizational vision clearly, concisely, and passionately. Participants underscored the importance of effective communication when conversing with diverse audiences, such as corporate sponsors, donors, and community partners. Most participants saw teamwork as essential both because organizational resources, collaboration, and cooperation are vital elements of leadership. The executives often referenced experiential and formal learning as central to their personal evolution and professional progression. The emphasis on continual development refined the level of their functional skills, and provided interpersonal insight that improved their leadership abilities. Most individuals spoke of the influence of degree programs, intensive workshops, leadership analysis activities, and other professional development experiences that helped to formulate their philosophical perspectives and operational choices.
Participants detailed business decisions that required inclusive, objective assessment. The encompassing view they brought to these dilemmas reflected capacity in problem solving and critical thinking. The participants exhibited strategic thinking acumen by conveying the need to concentrate on both the immediate and the long-term, sometimes simultaneously, as they evaluated a course of action. Those in the non-profit setting embrace a unique challenge as they must meet the expectations of numerous, and often diverse, audiences. Therefore, as conveyed by the participants, it is vital for the leader to clearly articulate achievements and performance toward stated directions. Conveying program results and service caliber, and developing means of measurement were essential. Workers usually exhibit customer service proficiency through grant acquisition and retention. As non-profits must often rely on external bodies for funding, management and leadership must meet the standards, and be able to address the scrutiny that accompanies the validation process. Above all, the study participants recognized that besides their mentoring, promoting, and educating roles, they must be competent business managers. While their daily duties may take various forms, it is crucial to maintain the organization’s fiscal health needs, and to ensure the capable delivery of its programs and services.
Leadership through Service
Participant responses reflected a sound familiarity with, and integration of servant leadership (Greenleaf & Spears, 2002), and stewardship principles (Blanchard & Hodges, 2003). In their discussion of accountability to the organization, to the public, and to internal stakeholders, participants echoed the call for ethical decision-making (Gardner, 2007) and morality (King, 2006). Expressions of accountability, concern, and compassion for others among the participants’ responses echoed Fulton’s (2005) commentary. The participants seemed to comprehend the complex subtleties of interpersonal exchange, had refined abilities to negotiate the sometimes-treacherous waters of organizational politics and institutional memory, and could cope more effectively with supervisory challenges. They appeared to be genuine leaders as they were effective in directing the behavior of others toward the accomplishment of some objective (Certo, 2003, p. 326). Furthermore, they could inspire confidence and support (Dubrin, 2004).
Several of the study participants spoke of the obligation of the leader to make bold, difficult choices. After identifying a course of action, it is incumbent upon the leader to weigh the options, weigh the consequences, and do their best to convey fair expectations to the team. The participants noted that they strived to motivate and inspire employees by continually reinforcing the organizational vision and mission, and the important contribution the non-profit makes to the individual area of concern and operational focus.
Preparing for the Future
Participants indicated that it is insufficient to recognize the national leadership vacuum, and the impending shortage anticipated in the non-profit arena. Besides critical thinking and developing a comprehensive response strategy, individual non-profits must know of the numerous internal and external variables that affect the context of leadership. There are myriad sociological factors associated with workplace performance, including significant national demographic and psychographic shifts that influence both the availability and disposition of employees who could be groomed for demanding roles, distinctions in value and belief systems among the different generational groups, and work style and motivation perspectives based on the industrial setting in which the individual works. Personal barriers to leadership transfer include the limitations of personal vantage point, competency differences in the ability to identify what form of leadership necessary, and potential inadequacies in transferring leadership philosophy into action. The variance present in the participants’ responses demonstrates that leaders may succeed, but deficient in the recognition of key leadership attributes, both self-possessed and present in others. Even those individuals with formal academic credentials may not lead, as they struggle with application of the theoretical to a world of work fraught with personnel supervision and motivation complexities.
The deep experience level elevates other dilemmas, such as the enduring distinction between the ability to embrace the notion of leadership philosophies and the ability to actualize them in a demanding professional setting. The intent of the study was not to examine how defining meaningful ways of leading will resonate with those engaged in non-profit work. From the review of the previous studies, there is lack of clear knowledge about whether prospective leaders will be equipped to embody these conclusions, reshaping their beliefs and practices to enhance results.
Variance among the participants’ expressions demonstrated that even seasoned individuals with a larger command of leadership principles might be uneven in their use of corresponding techniques. They may be fluent in the language of leadership, but not effective in its administration, which indicates that this is an important area of concern for executive directors. As they become cognizant of greater leadership demands, can they translate these observations into action and compensate for their limitations? Participants concluded that resiliency, commitment, and honest assessment are vital for both current and emerging leaders to serve their organizations with competency and compassion.
One way of exploring uniformity in leadership experience involved the identification of similar expressions of meaning. Several respondents cited parental influence as instrumental in shaping their philosophical leanings and potentially guiding them to their careers in the non-profit arena. Participants seemed to agree that leadership, as defined through lived experience, is diverse and multi-faceted, yet certain key indicators seemed common among the respondents. The participants stated that leadership has origins in the individual’s character and ethical base, and quality decision encompass a solid review of the facts, empathy for others, and the strength to do what is in the best interest of the organization. As such, a leader has to have ability to weigh options, consider consequences, and decide. Participants emphasized those who lead must take their inspiration from the organization’s vision and mission, and they must believe in it to convey its principles and dimensions to those who follow their direction. They often cited the words mission and vision as critical to their professional choices. When faced with difficult operational dilemmas or challenges in managing personnel, the participants consistently noted that the mission functioned as the barometer for weighing their decisions.
The non-profit leaders interviewed for this study demonstrated through content analysis, and frequently cited in the interviews themselves, the notion of commitment. The participants noted that this was a driving influence in their professional lives. They expressed engagement in their positions and conveyed their reflections with enthusiasm and high-energy. The participants expressed accountability to their organizations, their followers, and themselves. When asked what recommendations and observations they would like to share with developing non-profit leaders, the participants continuously referenced to passion for the work, integrity conduct, perseverance, discipline, communication skills, analytical ability, and the capacity to look comprehensively at issues as crucial elements of leadership. One participant emphasized the need to be innovative and to isolate ways to approach problems creatively. Several participants underscored how non-profit leaders work for the satisfaction that emerges from serving others, making a difference, and by bringing a larger–perhaps more profound–contribution to society. Integrity was a commonly isolated factor that emerged in the early screening interviews and frequently mentioned throughout the three-part interview series. Several participants stated that the consistency of character and the strength of convictions should guide leaders of non-profit organizations. They included words, such as honesty, fairness, truthfulness, values, morality, duty, obligation, and respect in their expressions.
While participants spoke of the need to develop others, to demonstrate and to model best practices and ethical conduct, none cited the word mentorship in their interviews. Several participants focused on the need for leaders to assess their strengths and weaknesses and to strive for improvements in behavior. While the term knowledge transfer was not used, several participants cited the importance of using teaching and learning lessons to point out better techniques as a strong mechanism for developing others. The leaders participating in the study demonstrated initiative, entrepreneurial spirit, concern for others, and interest in accountability. While there was natural variance in their articulations, each individual spoke of his or her conviction and the overarching obligation to do the right thing. They addressed the importance of performing with honesty, integrity, and commitment, and then coaching/counseling, and supporting their team members. The participants noted with great frequency the unique obligations of non-profit leadership, and awareness of the perseverance and decisiveness serving with honor requires.
Variances in Leadership Styles and Approaches
Besides the identified themes, the interview series yielded unique results, as there was variance among the articulation styles and approaches of the study participants.
Theme 1: Some respondents were more philosophically inclined, responding from the perspective of the ideal aspirations of leadership, while others had operational skills and had technique-driven reflections.
Theme 2: Participants portrayed variance in the communication styles and the caliber.
Theme 3: The participants consistently conveyed the importance of growth and development in the cultivation of leadership as related to management skills.
Theme 4: The majority identified examples of personal challenge and strategies that helped them to refine their approaches.
Theme 5: All participants addressed the concept of followership (though few used that term, instead favoring “team” and underscored the need for a leader to determine when to make a decision independently, and when to engage others.
Theme 6: The majority identified elements of leadership they admired; some gave examples of behaviors they felt other leaders should re-examine and perhaps modify.
Theme 7: All participants noted that their styles relied heavily on their interpersonal competencies and their ability to interpret when the team required their intervention and guidance.
Theme 8: Some participants spoke of recent assessment tools they had applied that provided them with insight into their leadership capacity. Even those who did not mention about recent involvement in instrument-based exploration noted that they possessed inquisitiveness about their leadership style, and were constantly identifying new ways of improving their effectiveness.
Theme 9: Although the participants were diverse in their years of experience and the non-profit organizations they led, all cited their commitment to vision and mission.
Theme 10: Each individual consistently expressed the importance of placing organizational aspirations and requirements at the top of the decision-making hierarchy.
Theme 11: The participants spoke of responsibility, accountability, and the obligation of leadership.
Theme 12: They held a commonality of opinion that leadership was complex, demanding, invigorating, and rewarding.
Significance of the Study
This study yielded unique results because it was the only known exploration of seasoned non-profit leaders operating in successful organizations within the Houston metropolitan area in Texas. The participants represented 21.4 cumulative years of relevant expertise, and came from a wide range of settings. Two participants were affiliates of regional offices of national non-profit organizations, and eight were from locally originated non-profits. The study advances the research by uncovering common, meaningful expressions of management as related to leadership through phenomenological means. Further, the conclusions speak to numerous contributing factors that influence the nation’s management as related to the leadership vacuum and point to the complexities of leadership transfer.
The data demonstrated that one could identify uniformity in leadership in a manner that advances the research, yet points out compelling opportunities for continued study. The study supported ongoing examination of the non-profit sector, and demonstrated integration of management, leadership philosophies, and practices. Further, the conclusions single out contributing factors that will exasperate leadership transfer as the current crop of executives prepares from departure from their positions.
There were several limitations encountered in the research process. A portion of the data emanated from the respondents’ self-disclosed perceptions; therefore, content gained from one-on-one interviews could reflect self-bias or distortion. The results for the study are unique for the current study only. Participant responses were limited to the time, caliber of effort, and honesty in approach invested in the interview series. One assumption held was that interview quality, and the subsequent disclosure of information, would vary because of philosophical and operational differences among the participants. Some recognized that there would be variance between the participants’ abilities to recognize and articulate leadership. The limitations affected the ability to establish the validity of the data collected. However, adequate preparation helped to deal with the limitations.
The following are delimitations of this study. The incorporated population comprised executives with an observable successful history with non-profit organizations, who would participate in the interviews. The research process involved the application of academic rigor and consistency. The participants answered broad questions to elicit reflections on their experiences, which led to variances in their responses. Interview sessions took roughly the same time to respond. However, as the intention was to probe, the unstructured discussion advanced in the direction set by the participants. The delimitations helped in the determination of the project, problem statement, and variables to use. The delimitations helped to establish what to exclude during the study.
Recommendations for Further Research
The study described a previously unexplored population of seasoned non-profit executives. The data revealed substantial opportunities for additional study, and other methodologies may yield diverse results. Several recommendations may further extend field knowledge and provide substantial insight into the ways of managing. These include conducting a quantitative study to measure non-profit leader behaviors and attributes against a validated instrument, or conducting a mixed methods study that compares qualitative and quantitative data. Another recommendation was to implement a study that utilizes additional methodologies and tools—such as a validated 360-degree instrument—to investigate perspectives of non-profit executive directors leadership as concurrently reflected through the experiential frames/lived experiences of the leader, an organizational board member, team members, and, potentially, beneficiaries of the non-profit’s services or programs. Applying other research may cause the addition of new texture and expansion of the context and value of the study. Continued exploration will enable the integration of a wider number of voices in the assessment of non-profit management in leadership.
Further study of the participants later could be beneficial. Scholars advocate two approaches; returning to the participants later in their careers to identify their evolving views on the ways of managing, and broadening the number of non-profit leaders or managers incorporated. Revisiting the participants later to determine how their individual leadership philosophy and techniques will have perhaps expanded would be vital in order to determine whether there are any changes in their views over time. Including a larger field of participants might bring tremendous symmetry or inconsistency to the identified themes isolated through the study’s content analysis process. The new discoveries might expand the context of the discussion and bring new meaning to the examination of non-profit leadership.
As few current-day senior-level non-profit leaders are likely to remain in their positions 10 to 15 years from now and thus, there is opportunity for continued assessment of attributes and behaviors that enhance success in this arena. The rich results obtained through the methodology applied in this study provide a foundation worthy of continued study. A final recommendation is this study, and its full research design, be expanded to explore other leadership dimensions exhibited in non-profit communities. Continued exploration may prove beneficial to cultivating a new, philosophically aligned generation of non-profit leaders or managers. There may be particular value in conducting a geographically broad study to determine if some of the key attributes identified with this participant base hold true on a larger scale.
The review of previous literature indicated that there is little known about how non-profit executives manage. There was an opportunity to examine uniformity in the ways of managing exhibited by those seniors in non-profit settings as these groups provide essential social services and programs to their communities. Further, the participants’ rich life experiences imply that advanced leadership conclusions warrant continued study. The literature and professional performance may benefit from ongoing exploration of actualization and refining of leadership philosophies.
Research Question Answer(s)
What are the lived experiences of CEOs relative to the special concerns related to management of non-profit organizations?
The purpose of this qualitative study was to describe the ways of managing as articulated by executives with both non-profit and for-profit lived experience working in non-profit organizations. The study applied a phenomenological methodology that involved examining 30 qualitative interviews with 10 non-profit CEOs, and establishing meaning. The approach enabled the conveyance and identification of lived reflections. Further, it created understanding of the context of the individuals in the setting and their responses to managerial challenges (Daniels, 2000).
The interview series yielded unique results, as there was variance among the articulation styles and approaches of the study participants. Some respondents were more philosophically inclined, responding from the perspective of the ideal aspirations of leadership, while others had operational knowledge and their reflections were technique-driven. There was notable variance in the communication styles and the caliber of participant reflections.
The participants consistently conveyed the importance of growth and development in the cultivation of leadership as related to management skills. The majority identified examples of personal challenge and strategies that helped them to refine their approaches. All participants addressed the concept of followership (though few used that term, instead favoring “team”) and underscored the need for a leader to determine when to make an independent decision or to engage others.
The majority identified elements of leadership they admired; some even conveyed examples of behaviors they felt other leaders should re-examine and perhaps modify. All participants noted that their styles relied heavily on their interpersonal competencies and their ability to interpret when the team required their intervention and guidance. Some participants spoke of recent assessment tools they had applied that provided them with insight into their leadership capacity. Even those who did not mention recent involvement in instrument-based exploration noted that they possessed inquisitiveness about their leadership style, and were constantly identifying new ways of improving their effectiveness.
Although the participants were diverse in their years of experience and the non-profit organizations they led, all cited their commitment to vision and mission. Each individual consistently expressed the importance of placing organizational aspirations and requirements at the top of the decision-making hierarchy. The participants spoke of responsibility, accountability, and the obligation of leadership. They held a commonality of opinion that leadership was complex, demanding, invigorating, and rewarding.
The study findings incorporated an overview of organizational theories and philosophies reflecting the evolving field of management as related to leadership. Key study conclusions reflected the notion of stewardship (Blanchard & Hodges, 2003), servant leadership (Greenleaf & Spears, 2002), and the influence of effective leadership (Bass, 2007; Wren 2005) upon organizational performance, and the necessity of continual learning. The significant experiences and perspectives underscored the opportunity to transfer the study results directly to practice by defining and demonstrating sound management related to leadership techniques. Key observations related through the interview reflected the view that leadership encompasses multiple forms of intelligence and problem solving, and there is a profound requirement for interpersonal communications competencies. The leaders or managers addressed the need to refine their competencies to be of greater service to their organization and their team members. Further, participants underscored how essential communication proficiency was to situating the vision, expressing impact, and inspiring volunteer and donor audience.
Chapter 5 presented a summary of the overall research, and focused on the content of Chapter 4. The chapter’s content included conclusions drawn from the literature review, methodology, and data analysis. The chapter addressed the implications of the findings for non-profit organizations preparing for the impending talent drain/loss as experienced leaders or managers near retirement and separation from the non-profits they nurtured. Among the key recommendations for action presented was to study non-profit leaders using many qualitative and quantitative methodologies. The recommendations for further study also suggested expansion of the current study to a wider population, as the diversity of the emerging themes provided insight into the ways of managing. The study results had numerous implications, including the possible merit of the reflections of non-profit executives on their ways of managing and their singular contributions to the literature. The chapter concluded with recommendations for further study of seasoned non-profit executive directors as they represent scores of organizations who possess emerging leaders requiring cultivation.
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Letter of Consent
Dear <Insert Name>
Please allow me to introduce myself and explain the reason for contacting you for your kind assistance. My name is Mathew S. Kamara and while I am a consultant and dedicated volunteer to non-profit organizations, my primary concentration is completing the final stages of postgraduate studies in a Doctorate of Management in Organizational Leadership. I am conducting a proposal research project entitled, “Ways of Managing among CEOs in Non-profit Organizations.” The intention of this study was to gather the lived experience of seasoned executives in successful organizations, and to convey the nature of their leadership beliefs and experiences. I will screen participants for suitability and request a small percentage of the qualified to volunteer for the study based on two qualifications: a minimum of years’ experience in both non-profit and for-profit organizations leadership positions, and affiliation with an organization classified by the United States Internal Revenue Service as a 501(C) 3.
The focus of this study was to examine participants’ professional insight, organizational philosophies, and leadership characteristics. Specifically, through a process of three interviews per subject, the study findings will identify and describe frames of experience. Your expertise and unique vantage point are greatly important to this study’s accuracy and credibility. I respectfully ask you to consider participation, which will involve three direct interviews. Your participation in this project is voluntary. If you choose not to participate or withdraw from the project, you can do so without penalty of loss of benefit to yourself. You may publish the results of the research project but your name will not appear and your results will remain confidential unless specifically authorized by you for release. Further, all participants in this research project may request a complete copy of the dissertation following its completion. In this research, there is no foreseeable risk to any participants.
Please signal your intent to participate in the research project by agreeing to a screening interview during which you will engage in a lengthy one-on-one interview series. Meanwhile, should you have questions, please contact me by telephone or e-mail.
Thank you for your thoughtful consideration.
Mathew S. Kamara
University of Phoenix
School of Advanced Studies
Informed Consent Form
Please signal your intent to participate in the research project by agreeing to a screening interview during which you will engage in a lengthy one-on-one interview series. Should you have questions, please contact me by telephone or through the e-mail offered below.
By signing this form in ink, I understand the nature of the study, any potential risks as a participant, and how my identity will be confidential. My signature on this form also indicates that I am over the age of 18, I am not a member of any protected category of participants (minor, pregnant woman, prisoner, or cognitively impaired), and I give my permission to voluntarily serve as a participant in the study described by Mathew S. Kamara in the Introductory Letter.
Signature of Participant Date
Thank you for your thoughtful consideration.
University of Phoenix
School of Advanced Studies
Topic: Ways of Managing Among CEOs in Non-Profit Organizations
Researcher’s Name: Mathew S. Kamara
As a researcher working on the above research study at the University of Phoenix, I must maintain the confidentiality of all information concerning all research participants as required by law. Only the University of Phoenix Institutional Review Board may have access to this information. “Confidential Information” of participants includes but is not limited to: names, characteristics, or other identifying information, questionnaire scores, ratings, incidental comments, other information accrued either directly or indirectly through contact with any participant, and/or any other information that would be confidential.
To maintain the confidentiality of the information, I agree not to discuss any Confidential Information regarding research participants, to any individual not part of the above research study or in need of the information for the expressed purposes on the research program. The interview process may involve discussing the research project or its participants in a place where such a discussion might be overheard, or discussing any Confidential Information to allow an unauthorized person to associate (either correctly or incorrectly) an identity with such information. I further agree to store research records whether paper, electronic or otherwise in a secure locked location under my direct control or with safe guards.
I further agree that if I have to use the services of a third party to assist in the research study, who might have access to any Confidential Information of participants, I will contract with said third party prior to using any of the services, which will provide at a minimum the confidential obligations set forth. I agree that I will immediately report any known or suspected breach of this confidentiality statement regarding the above research project to the University of Phoenix, Institutional Review Board.
_______________________ ________________________ _________
Signature of Researcher Printed Name Date
_______________________ ________________________ _________
Signature of Witness Printed Name Date
Hello. My name is Mathew S. Kamara and I am a doctoral student conducting a study in non-profit leadership. The data collection method used in this study comprises three brief interviews:
- The first interview explores your professional background and how you became a leader for a non-profit organization. Through questions, this unstructured interview will help me to gain an understanding of how you arrived at your current professional level.
- The second interview will explore your interpretation of leadership behavior.
- Through your responses to unstructured questions, you will share insight into your view of management as related to your leadership in action.
- The third interview will concentrate on how you are intending to expand and test your leadership abilities as related to management. The discussion may reveal how your views of leadership have evolved, and key conclusions you have reached.
Following the interview series, I will code your answers. The process will allow me to keep your responses anonymous and provide for content analysis. Ultimately, I will compare (through a software program) how you have articulated leadership, and how closely your responses and those of other respondents align.
Due to the qualitative design of this study, your experiences remain. Your examination of leadership will be unique, and compared against a frame of literature, and the articulations of other study participants. Ultimately, the research study will provide insight into leadership behaviors exhibited among certain executives operating within the non-profit setting.
Field Log Process Supporting Unstructured Interviews for a Study
Objective: To conduct 30 unstructured interviews, allowing for elaboration from the respondents and open commentary, to support the research inquiry of describing ways of Managing among non-profit Chief Executive Officers (CEOs).
- Review the Volunteer Center list of Houston Metropolitan, Texas area nonprofit associations, speak to organizational leaders, and identify prospective study subjects.
- Make initial contact by telephone or e-mail, and request a 30-minute meeting during which the I will conduct the screening interview and ask the participant to complete the questionnaire.
- I will record responses using the attached form.
- The completed forms will be kept with all project files to confirm authenticity of the process, as needed.
First Exploratory Screening Interview
Length of employment: ______________________________________
Number of years in a non-profit setting: _________________________
Primary accountabilities: _____________________________________
Number of individuals supervised: ______________________________
- Do you predominantly characterize yourself as a leader or a manager? Why?
- What management qualities are most important to your performance?
- What management qualities do you believe you possess?
- Are you familiar with the terms “social intelligence,” interpersonal intelligence” or “emotional intelligence?” If so, what do they mean to you?
- What considerations influence a leader’s or manager’s style and decision-making?
- Please, indicate which of the following have the greatest importance to your professional performance:
The study involved four major steps advocated for by Makowski and Stein (2004), namely, asking, witnessing, interpreting, and knowing.
The current study involved use of field log process, three distinct, but progressively in-depth, interviews based on Seidman’s (2008) methodology, and applied coding and content analysis to extrapolate themes reflective of the experience in managing. The research map is in form of a diagram and in narrative form.
|Writing Introduction and Literature|
|Gathering data using Qualitative Methodology|
|Preparing Prescreening Tools|
|Presentations of Findings|
|Writing Discussions, Conclusions, Summaries and Recommendations|
My name is Mathew S. Kamara. I was born in Makeni on July 12, 1963, in the capital city of Bombali district in the Northern Province of Sierra Leone. My father, Albert Kamara, was the headmaster at Sierra Leone Wesley Church Elementary School in Makeni. My mother, Fatu Kamara, has always been a housewife, and has always stayed at home, and taken care of the family. She later worked as midwife at the under-five children’s clinic for two years. I had a happy childhood and spent my time in a beautiful natural environment. My parents have five children. My siblings comprise three boys and one girl, and I am the eldest child in our family. Three of my brothers are in Sierra Leone working as public servants while my only sister is in Maryland working as a nurse.
I completed by elementary school at the Sierra Leone Wesley Church elementary in Makeni. I pursued my high school at Government Secondary School for Boys and St. Francis Secondary School respectively where I attained my Ordinary General Certificate of Education and advanced level respectively. Upon completion of my advanced level a two-year equivalent college certification, I taught at the St. Francis Secondary School in Makeni. Later, I enlisted into the Republic of Sierra Leone Military Force (RSLMF) as an officer cadet. I completed the officer cadet training, commissioned as a Second Lieutenant, and commenced my military journey until when I retired as a Major.
I am residing in Sugar Land, Texas. I earned an A in Criminal Justice from the Wharton County Junior College, a B.S. in Criminal Justice from the University of Houston Downtown, an M.A. in Counseling from the Prairie View A&M University, and enrolled in the doctoral program in the Management & Organizational Leadership program. I feel that my education will not only give me a strong background in the specializing fields of security operations, military operations and command spectrum, it enhances my strong foundation in the management field and looking forward to reaching that milestone. I have completed my proposal and IRB approved. I am looking forward to complete my program before the end of this year 2015.
I have twenty-six years supervisory and administrative experience. I have worked as a Shift/Building supervisor at Harris County Juvenile Probation Department (HCJPD), Site Captain at the Wells Fargo Guard Services, Military Adjutant, Intelligence Officer, Operations Officer, and Acting Commanding Officer of several battalions and garrisons in the Republic of Sierra Leone Military Force (RSLMF) in West Africa after which I will retire with the rank of Major. I enjoy life to the maximum, especially spending it with my lovable family, which comprised of my wonderful wife Esther, my daughters Jenny, Joy, Esmatu, and Albert my son. I believe in respect, honesty, integrity, and do not judge people on face value.