Leadership in a Community

Topics: Leadership, Non-profit organization, Organizational culture Pages: 30 (9896 words) Published: August 5, 2006


This assumption of a simple transference of effective organizational activities from one nonprofit organization to another organization too often breeds frustration and organizational failure on the part of nonprofit organization leadership. There are simply too many interrelated variables to make such a simplistic assumption. The extant literature is too scant and too weak to provide the needed support for the nonprofit leader. This dissertation, therefore, is an investigation, a case study, of a nationally recognized successful, community action agency.

The intent of this investigation is to understand the role of a leader in the nonprofit organizational setting, and the dynamic interrelationship of leader's influence upon the elements of organizational leadership, culture and socialization. The primary incentive is to add to the knowledge of how an effective nonprofit community action agency functions. The study is grounded in extant research in the fields of nonprofit organization leadership which is not specific to community action agencies; yet, is the only literature available for this study, organizational culture and socialization.

Another pertinent interest is whether or how leadership may influence a synergy which affects the organizational culture and socialization when initiated, maintained, and continually renewed within the organizational context. Statement of the Problem The Nonprofit Assumption Is it real or only myth that a nonprofit sector organization is substantially different from private and public sectors? This question, and others similar in character, have plagued the research annals of nonprofit organizations from their inception. All three primary sectors face the question of what level of credibility can one accept of the research performed on another sector. Is a transfer of definition and understanding appropriate among the three sectors? It seems appropriate that one could make such a value judgement of a research transfer from one sector to another if the data support the application. The value judgement of the leader would be based upon his or her knowledge of the organizational system being considered. It is important; however, for a value judgement to be made prior to transferring and subsequently implementing any knowledge from one sector to the next. This value judgement would recognize the unique qualities of the respective organizations. It seems plausible to suggest that any organization has unique characteristics. If so, the Robert D. Herman, and Richard D. Heimovics, Executive Leadership in Nonprofit 1 Organizations, (CA: Jossey-Bass Publishers, 1991), p.34.

leader must find the institutional grounding for his or her organization and apply applicable research without distorting the intent of that research. This may be the greater dilemma. Will a leader of a nonprofit organization, or the public sector in general, take time to find the intent of the research to ascertain its creditable applicability? Creditable applicability, then, becomes the responsibility of the leader rather than the researcher's findings. Another problem faced by a nonprofit sector organization is the use of anecdotal experiences as theoretical dispositions. Many of the formal writings which fill the journals regarding nonprofit sector organizations are documented, personal experiences. These data are important for information and ideation. However, this kind of sharing of experiences seems to distract the serious student of nonprofit sector study from more rigorous research regarding the field.

When we anticipate a clean three sectors distinction of organizational groupings, we are ill informed. Each sector has within it a multiplicity of deviations from the norm. The value of the three sector groupings is to simplify the field. It appears to be the funding (i.e., the financial base) and product incentive of each sector that essentially determines the appropriate camp...
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