Date of Award

Spring 4-28-2017

Document Type

Dissertation - Brandman access only

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department

Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Cindy Peterson

Second Advisor

Dr. Keith Larick

Third Advisor

Dr. Jim Cox

Abstract

Exemplary Nonprofit Leaders and the Behaviors They Use to Create Personal and Organizational Meaning

by Candice Flint

Purpose: The purpose of this mixed method case study was to identify and describe the behaviors that exemplary nonprofit leaders use to create personal and organizational meaning for themselves and their followers through character, vision, relationships, wisdom and inspiration. In addition, it was the purpose of this study to determine the degree of importance to which followers perceive the behaviors related to character, vision, relationships, wisdom and inspiration help to create personal and organizational meaning.

Methodology: A mixed method case study was utilized to identify and describe behaviors exemplary nonprofit leaders use to create personal and organizational meaning for themselves and their followers. Participants were identified for the qualitative portion of the study based on leaders meeting at least five of the six criteria for an exemplary leader. Through purposeful, random sampling three leaders were chosen and face to face interviews were conducted using an interview protocol and script. For the quantitative portion of the study, each leader provided the researcher with names and email addresses of twelve followers to participate in an online survey. The qualitative data was analyzed to determine themes and the quantitative data was analyzed to determine frequency distribution and mean scores.

Findings: This study revealed that exemplary nonprofit leaders felt the leadership elements of character, vision, relationships, wisdom and inspiration were all important in creating meaning within the organization. The leaders believed there was an interplay between all five elements and in some situations the elements were used simultaneously while in other cases they were used separately. The study also identified specific behaviors leaders utilized to create meaning through the five leadership elements.

Conclusions: The study supported the combined effects of the behaviors when intertwined have a greater impact on leaders and followers to create personal and organizational meaning.

Recommendations: Recommendations for further research included replicating this study on a larger scale, conducting a phenomenological study with an equal number of female and male exemplary nonprofit leaders to determine if any differences emerge and replicating this mixed methods case study in different geographical locations in the United States.

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