Differences in Leadership Behaviour Between Voluntary and Paid Leader

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16th Dec 2019 Dissertation Reference this

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4           Introduction

The aim of the research project is to understand leadership in the voluntary sector and how they lead or how their leadership practices are similar to or different from those leading in other sectors, and to understand the interaction between leader-member exchange and its relationship to motivation to lead. The purpose of the research is to examine leadership practices unique to leadership that occurs within organisations where both leaders and followers are volunteers. The Aims of the research are to identify differences in leadership behaviour between voluntary and paid leaders. And to understand the levels of leader member exchange within the voluntary sector.

Research in leadership has generally been conducted within profit making private sector organisatons or public sector organisations. However in non-profit organisations (NPO) leadership research has been limited, even though the charity commission for England and Wales estimated that the income from NPOs in 2014 was £64 billion (Keen, 2015).

Leadership definitions have been evolving over time, and still researchers in leadership have differing views and have not completely reached an agreement, overall the accord is that leadership is the dimension a person uses to intentionally impact the achievements of others in the undertaking of common goals within an organisation (Yukl, 2010).

4.1         Significance of Volunteering

Past studies by Pearce (1980, 1982) of volunteer workers discussed the organisational differences, which affected leadership within volunteer organisations. Pearces research in 1980 matched seven volunteer organisations with seven all employee organisations that work on similar tasks. Pearce found that leadership differed between paid and volunteer leaders in the desire for workers or volunteers to accept positions of authority and leadership and in the authority given to the leadership positions. Leadership in all-volunteer organisations is granted to leaders by the membership, by those to whom the leader leads, in a “bottom-up-process” (Pearce, 1982, p.390).  Also, volunteer leaders were cautious when taking on positions of leadership (Pearce, 1980) and they stated a desire for “Less organisational influence than they currently held” (Pearce, 1980, p89).

Jager, Kreutzer and Beyes (2009) explored leading without formal power. They collected information on experiences of leading volunteers from eleven chief operating officers, presidents and leaders of non-profit organisations in German speaking countries (Jager et al, 2009). The motivation to conduct the research was the fact, “few researchers have empirically studied and analyzed the topic of leading volunteers” (Jager et al, 2009, p80). The suggestion was made by Jager et al that the dependence of non-profit organisations on volunteers showed that understanding the “everyday practices” (Jager et al, 2009, p79) of leading volunteers was essential for organisations to gain the full advantages of the resource. Although the study by Jagar et al looks at the leadership practices of paid non-profit executives, it helps in understanding how volunteers are led. The study suggested more research was required to explore leadership in situations where there is a lack of traceable power (Jager et al, 2009, p.92), when followers are intergrated into the process of leadership and how organisations reach stated goals, and to look closer at what is actually undertaken by leaders when leading volunteers. The current study focuses on how voluntary leaders practice leadership when leading other volunteers.

Rowold and Rohmann (2009) conducted research on paid choir director’s leadership of volunteer vocalists in 24 German choirs. The study focused on volunteer followers perspectives unlike the study by Jager et al. In Rowold and Rohmann’s research they interviewed 288 choir members and the paid choir directors undertook the Multi-Leader Questionnaire – 5X (MLQ) and these results were analyzed. Two leadership behaviors became evident in the research of Rowold and Rohmann, individualized consideration and active management-by-exception practices resulted increased positive emotion on the volunteers, which led to increased effectiveness in achieving organisational goals. They also found that passive-avoidant leadership behaviors led to increased negative emotion and a decrease in achieving goals. It was indicated in the research that the findings had some differences from that of for-profit organisations where transactional leadership behaviors were more evident, inferring the suggestion that organisational context was a critical factor. The study recommended further research on a more complex volunteer organisation, with more levels of leadership and wider geographical range. The current study is based on one Scout County in the United Kingdom, of which is a unit of a national organisation with multiple levels of leadership.

Chiariello (2008) measured the motivation of volunteers to lead; this study was conducted using a web-based survey sent to 20,000 members of the American Occupation Therapy Association (AOTA), 223 responses were received with a usable sample of 181 participants (Chiariello, 2008). The study by Chiariello (2008) is helpful to the current study as it focused only on volunteer leaders and the motivation of volunteer leaders, the research also focused on discovering differences in motivations to volunteer whereas the current study looks at leadership practices and how motivations to lead can affect leader practices. The current study also examines leader-member exchange (LMX) and how this affects motivation to lead. The study by Chiariello (2008) suggested further research was needed in volunteer leadership. It was suggested studying leadership in an organisation such as a charitable or religious area and suggested a “qualitative examination of volunteer leadership would assist researchers to understand its characteristics, to construct a definition based on these characteristics, and to identify possible antecedents and motivators for the engagement in volunteer leadership” (Chiariello, 2008, p76).

The current research looks at the voluntary sector and how leadership practices are adopted, typically between Leaders and followers, a leader in this research would typically be a direct manager of followers in the voluntary sector of the West Yorkshire County Scout Association.

4.2        Leading Leaders

Paid leadership positions carry with them inherent authority of the followers where by volunteer leaders accept responsibility but seldom have the authority associated with being a leader. Salacuse’s (2006) description of leading leaders set out the challenges faced by people who are in leadership positions with limited authority. Volunteer leaders are in these positions by their election or selection to those positions. The people they are going to lead generally select volunteer leaders. Organisations that are solely run by volunteers cannot survive without them. Volunteers are often leaders in their professional career and it is unlikely they will pay attention to traditional methods of motivation from the voluntary leader (salacuse, 2006).

5           Review of Literature

This section provides a comprehensive review of theories of leadership and the unique definitions of each theory. In particular, three theories are discussed, including (a) the Leadership Challenge Model (Kouzes & Posner, 1987), (b) Motivation to Lead (Chan & Drasgow, 2001), and (c) Leader Member Exchange (Graen & Uhl-Bien, 1995).

Leadership researchers and practitioners continue to have interests in the relationship quality that develops between a leader and their followers. Much research has been conducted focusing on leadership styles and traits (e.g., leader personality traits, styles, behaviours).  Although leadership research has developed since Weber’s (1921) influential work on the interactions between leaders and followers in creating and upholding leadership processes, attention still continues in terms of endorsing a methodical approach to relationship-based leadership (Uhl-Bien, 2006).

5.1         Leader Member Exchange

The most recognized approach that centers on leader-follower relationships is Leader-Member Exchange (LMX), introduced as a vertical dyad linkage model (Danserau, Graen, & Haga, 1975). LMX theory was one of the first to include the follower in the systematic leadership process. The theory recognizes that both leader and follower are factors in the development and maintenance of the relationship; it also focuses on the mutual exchange between leader and follower. Meta-analytic research has presented the association of positive work-related outcomes with high quality relationships, such as satisfaction of followers, performance and commitment (Gerstner & Day, 1997). Camplin (2009) identifies detailed behaviors to which volunteer leaders should show to encourage the maximum degree of respect, trust and obligation, which contain high quality leader-member exchanges with volunteer followers. The behaviors recognized follow the concept that volunteer followers choose to follow and volunteer leaders must identify this to lead successfully. The leadership behaviors identified by Camplin center around Maxwells (2007) seventh law of leadership, establish mutual respect. Leaders must lead through change showing courage and effective communication with followers. It is essential the leader recognizes the success of the group and establishes a team that attracts other followers (Maxwell, 2007).   Leaders must demonstrate to followers the intrinsic benefits they receive from helping the organisation meet its mission and goals they attempt to do this by focusing on the followers needs and motivations (Maxwell, 2007).

Camplin (2009) highlights certain actions volunteer leaders can take in the process of leading volunteer followers. By the identification of those volunteers who are in the in-group and focusing on developing these members as future leaders, while highlighting out-group volunteers and encouraging them to become more active within the organisation and move across into the in-group. Effective volunteer leaders can develop others to lead, they can motivate volunteers who have become inactive, and they can develop capabilities with the use of coaching and mentoring. In-group volunteers are generally motivated from self-interest and they engage in leading quickly while out-group volunteers require the motivation from the leader to inspire them into actions.

The application of LMX to both paid and voluntary leaders researched by Hoye (2006) was undertaken within Australian voluntary sport organisations. The research was conducted using semi-structured interviews. Hoye stated that

“The quality of the leader-member exchanges, particularly between the board chair               and executive, was perceived by all interviewees to have a direct influence on the               ability of the board to perform” (Hoye, 2006, p. 306).

The development of relationships between leaders and followers is related to an individual’s skills, knowledge and experience through mutual respect and trust of both follower and leader. The view that leader behavior that focus on attaining high quality LMX relationships are also important for volunteer leaders to engage in, but the volunteer leader must develop these relationships and take responsibility (Hoye, 2006,Camplin, 2009). High-level performance is also attributed to high quality leader member relationships within organisations where the board is voluntary and led by volunteer leaders (hoya, 2004).

In voluntary organisations the situation often arises where voluntary leaders are leading individuals who are leaders (Salacuse, 2006). In these situations the leader has limited authority with the person they are leading (Salacuse, 2006, p.2) and followers can chose to follow the leader or not. Salacus (2006) stated that this was of high importance and the leader and follower relationship had to be built on trust, as this was the entire basis for leadership in these situations. In situations where a leader is attempting to lead followers such as other leaders or peers at the same or higher levels such as elites, they have limited or no authority. In situations like this the leader has authority through the fact they have been given the leadership role from the persons they lead (Salacuse, 2006, p. 192).

5.2         Leadership Challenge Model

“Leadership is a relationship between those who aspire to lead and those who choose to follow” (Kouzes & Posner, 2007, p.24).

Kouzes and Posner (1987) introduced five Fundamental practices that facilitated leaders to get extraordinary things done. These five practices were (a) challenge the process, (b) inspiring a shared vision, (c) enabling others to act, (d) modeling the way, and (e) encouraging the heart (Kouzes & Posner, 1987 p.9). The following section reviews these five leadership practices.

5.2.1        Challenge the Process

Managers in organisations are often faced with challenging situations that require difficult or immediate action in the decision making process. Leaders who are at the front line of challenging situations take risks and seek out new adventures (Kouzes & Posner, 2000). Leaders identify areas in an organisation that have dysfunctional systems, and they develop systems that are “definable, consistent, measurable, and efficient” (Kouzes & Posner, 1995 p.44). Effective leaders are not necessarily instrumental in the creation of new ideas nor are they inventors but rather they are at the forefront and instrumentally involved in embracing changes in an organisation (Kouzes & Posner, 1995). Leaders are people who are willing to direct their groups into developing new and innovative prospects for systematic change (Sudbrack & Trobley, 2007).  Leaders see a problem in a system, identifies the risks and challenges that are connected, and explores opportunities for change (Shoemaker, 1999). Effective leadership is responsive to the needs of followers (Davidovitz et al, 2007), and is also alert to the encouragement of others in regards to change (Kouzes & Posner, 2006). Kouzes and Posner (1995) introduced three important aspects of leadership:

Individuals who attain leadership positions do not always seek the challenges they               face, challenges also seek them. Challenging the status quo and the introduction of               change, opens the opportunities to doing one’s best and challenging opportunities               can often introduce skills and abilities that people do not know they have (Kouzes &               Posner, 1995 p.53).

5.2.2        Inspiring a Shared Vision

Leaders may identify the need for change and cultivate a vision as to how organizational change might look (Kouzes & Posner, 1995). The commitment of followers is not directed by the leader more so the leader expresses the vision he or she has so that followers feel motivated to participate in ensuring organizational change is effective (Shoemaker, 1999). The shared vision must be communicated clearly so that followers can be inspired and inspire others to share the direction and purpose of the changes being made by the leader (Dess & Picken, 2000). To ensure a progressive and organized future for the organisation the leader must motive others in a collaboration of shared vision (Adams & Keims, 2000). Inspiring a shared vision is the leader recognizing the assistance of others in developing organisational transformation (Kouzes & Posner, 2006). Furthermore leadership signals visionary rational based on motivation of others by the leader, commitment from followers, and collaboration from all to bring organisational transformation.

5.2.3        Enabling Others to Act

The cornerstones of ensuring others are on board to promote organisational change effectively are integrity, honesty, and humility (Fry, 2005). Trust is also another requirement to lead others (Looman, 2003). Relationships of trust and positive communication between the leader and follower are key in enabling others to act (Kouzes & Posner 2003). The leader recognizes the potential of followers and allows them to feel committed in the change making process (Kouzes & Posner, 1995). Empathy and open communication of the leader with followers and understanding their needs will focus on building positive relationships ( Kouzes & Posner, 2006). As a result collaboration established on empowerment and trust between leader and follower will promote universal change.

5.2.4        Modeling the Way

Kouzes and Posner stated that, in order to model the way, the leader needs to:

  1. Know his or her values;
  2. Have clearly stated goals; and
  3. Have unambiguous operational plans (Kouzes & Posner, 1995)

According to Rokeach (1973), values help in the understanding of a persons needs and how these needs can be achieved. If a leader is uncertain about his or her values, it creates difficulties when he or she is required to stand up for what he or she believes in (Kouzes & Posner, 2006). As such, an effective leader understands their values and seeks to understand the values of followers (Kouzes & Posner, 2003). With the establishment of shared values the leader is in a better position to lead by example (Kouzes & Posner, 1995). Therefore, modeling the way involves leading by example, which could be comparable to the concept of social modeling, people arranged performance requirements for others verified these requirements through personal contact, which Bandura introduced (Bandura, 1974). Hence to create an environment of shared productivity the leader is influential in encouraging action from followers (Kouzes & Posner, 1995). Accordingly, leaders who ‘model the way’ have an cohesive value system, communicates with followers to improve cooperation, and proceeds to demonstrate the process of change that is needed in the organisation (Looman, 2003).

5.2.5        Encouraging the Heart

Seven leadership essentials suggested by Kouzes and Posner (1999) in encouraging others in collaborative change are:

  1. Set clear organizational standards:
  2. Expect the followers best at all times:
  3. Support followers by paying attention in order to understand their actiosn;
  4. Get to know the followers and recognize them personally when an expected goal is attained;
  5. Share the productive followers stories to others in order to convey that they are valued for their performance;
  6. Celebrate the followers; success with other followers, thus encouraging others to duplicate their behaviors: and
  7. Encourage followers by setting an example.

The celebrations of big and small successes with the intention of motivating others to carry on their dedication to supporting organizational change is a further facet to encouraging the heart (Leech & Fulton, 2008). Effective leadership centers on where the need for attaining positive outcomes is greatest (Mulford & Moreno, 2006). Therefore, it maybe said that, leaders identify the contributions of followers and for their efforts the leaders shows appreciation in creating a meaningful change to the organisation (Kouzes & Posner, 2006).

5.3         Motivations to Lead

The definition of motivation to lead (MtL) is an individual’s preference to attain a leadership position (Chan & Drasgow, 2001). MtL makes a distinction between three mind-sets: first, moral obligations and social norms may be a primary reason for an individual to take up a leadership position. This is called social-normative MtL; second, the individual benefits attained by a leadership position are primary in some peoples mind. They would only assume a leadership position after calculating the cost and ensuring there is a clear advantage of taking up the role (Felfe & Schyns, 2014). This is called non-calculative MtL; third, some individuals just like leadership roles. They don’t look for extrinsic benefits and do not feel pressure from social norms. These people look out for leadership roles and are willing to take charge what ever the benefits may be. This is called affective-identity MtL.

Chan and Drasgrow (2001) Outlined and tested five possible antecedents to MtL: personality, values, leader self-efficacy (LSE), general cognitive ability and past leadership experience. Chan and Drasgrow show the significance of recognizing the antecedent variables to characterize MtL in coming to a total understanding of the theory and how it works. Their results supported the relationships between personality treats, values, LSE and past leadership experience, but they did not support general cognitive ability as an antecedent to MtL.

Chan and Drasgrow’s MtL model concentrates its main focus primarily on mastery experience and its impact on LSE. The model shows the process of leadership experiences and the impact specific experiences have on LSE and motivation to take up more leadership roles. The model by Chan and Drasgrow focuses mainly on mastery experience and its impact on LSE. However, when there is limited or no leadership experience additional mechanism, which LSE can arise, should be considered, such as observational mechanism from social learning theory.

6           Hypothesis Development.

6.1         Leadership Challenge Model

The first part of the research question, understanding volunteer leadership behavior and how this differs from leadership behavior of paid leaders, was tested by measuring the amount to which volunteer leaders in the study engaged in each of the five practices of textbook leadership this was done using the Leadership Practice Inventory (LPI), these results were compared to the study reported by Posner (2010) which engaged paid leaders in LPI. A research hypothesis is proposed for each of the five practices of Leadership measured by the LPI.

6.1.1        Challenging the Process

The professional level of volunteers affected key decisions in regards to control and autonomy of the processes (Schmid, 20002). Kolb (1995) stated that in non-profit organisations where results are key to the performance volunteers were given the opportunity to raise issues and these would be addresses through a process set out by the organisation. Gaston and Alexander (2001) discovered that volunteers had a desire to use their skills and talents and high levels of process control and organizational structure can create barriers that hinder the performance of volunteers and volunteer satisfaction.

Hypothesis 1a.

Volunteer leaders will demonstrate high levels of challenging the process compared to paid leaders.

6.1.2        Inspiring a Shared Vision

To increase volunteer performance Kaufman et al (2008) suggested that setting goals to cast a vision could increase performance. Solansky et al (2008) discovered that mental models of decision-making and goal prioritization shared between leaders of volunteers and volunteers in churches organizational performance was increased compared to when those mental models did not exist. Camplin (2009) said that a clear communication of the vision of the organisation from the leader of volunteers the creation of commitment and a sense of obligation among volunteers were present.

Hypothesis 1b.

Volunteer leaders will demonstrate higher levels of inspiring a shared vision compared to paid leaders.

6.1.3        Enabling Others to Act

The effectiveness of an organisation was found to be increased when volunteers where allowed more power and authority and given the opportunity to work without strict supervision (Schmid, 2002). Also volunteers in a non-profit organisation want to feel empowered and feel they are an integral part of the organisation (Wisner et al, 2005). Schneider and George (2010) stated that empowerment was a crucial mediator in their study of eight civic clubs. Volunteers stated that having a sense of empowerment as a result of there leader practices lead to higher commitment, more satisfaction and they would be more likely to continue volunteering.

Hypothesis 1c

Volunteer leaders will demonstrate high levels of enabling others to act compared to paid leaders.

6.1.4        Modeling the Way

Model the way behaviors exist in formal situations in an organisation, for example training sessions; they are also exhibited in informal circumstances as leaders build a connection with volunteer followers. Sobeck (2008) stated that pre-volunteering and in-service training leads to greater satisfaction of the volunteer. Hassan et al (2013) stated that commitment is increased when leaders model the ethical values and act as role models in an organisation. Posner (2105) stated that when volunteer leaders are acting as role models, trust and commitment are enhanced with the follower especially when the leader is acting with fairness and integrity.

Hypothesis 1d

Volunteer leaders will demonstrate high levels of modeling the way compared to paid leaders.

6.1.5        Encouraging the Heart

Rewards and recognition are a vital part in a volunteers overall feelings of satisfaction (Gaston and Alexander, 2001). This comment was supported by Shin and Kleiner (2003) who found that a volunteer’s connection to the organisation and a sense of achievement was enhanced with rewards and recognition.

Hypothesis 1e

Volunteer leaders will demonstrate high levels of encouraging the heart compared to paid leaders.

6.2         Motivations to Lead

Bernerth et al (2008) concluded that similarities between supervisor-subordinates facilitate higher quality LMX. They found that differences in emotional stability, intellectual openness, agreeableness, and conscientiousness had negative affects on employee relationships with supervisors.  Leaders who are intrinsically motivated and have positive LMX relationships are more likely to have higher commitment to a voluntary organisation than those who are extrinsically motivated. For example, those who are intrinsically motivated to volunteering in an organisation because they attribute benefits with an interesting job and gain a sense of doing the right thing and putting something back into society.

It is expected in this research that high quality LMX will have a positive effect on follower MtL In the cases of both affective identity MtL and social-normative MtL, effective leadership was a noticeable organizational indication. Effective Leaders attempt to create positive experiences for followers. When a follower has a high quality relationship with a leader the effective leader behaviors are evident to the follower and increases the likelihood of the follower perceiving theses interactions and positive experiences. In regards to social-normative MtL, effective leaders attempt to serve as a role model for the morms related to leadership within the organisation. Having high quality relationships with a leader increase to chance of observing the effective leader and understanding the leaders behavior as organizational norms. This leads to the hypothesis two below.

Hypothesis 2

Leader-Member exchange will have a positive effective on Motivation to lead. Such that when Higher Quality LMX is found MtL will increase.

7           Conceptual Model of Voluntary Leadership

8           Methodology

8.1         Methodological Considerations

Quantitative methodology was employed in the current research through a survey based on the main research aim: to understand leadership practices in the voluntary sector through statistical analysis. Quantitative methods usually involve a deductive approach to research, this method aims to generate quantifiable data and test stated hypothesis in order to obtain an objective. Quantitative methodology use practices associated with the positivist paradigm and scientific model (Bryman, 2008). A qualitative or mixed methods approach could have been adopted in the research, using qualitative methods alone in this type of research would have taken a different course and yield more subjective conclusions through semi-structured interviews, mixed methods approach was considered at the outset of the study but time considerations and geographical spread of participants would have limited the research (this is discussed in more detail in limitations sections).

Given the fact that all the participants of the study are volunteers, time was a crucial consideration in regards to the time taken to complete the survey, an advisable 20/25 minutes time duration was recommended, with this time consideration it was essential to survey questions were concise and non-repetitive, this would reduce the risk of potential drop-outs before the survey had been completed.

8.2         Participants

350 participants were selected in a voluntary not for profit youth organisation in West Yorkshire, England (‘NPO A’). The requirements of the research were that participants held a position of managerial leadership within the organisation. Participants were contacted via email prior to the survey being circulated to give a brief overview of the research. Age ranges of participants varied from 18 – 70, time spent volunteering with the organisation ranged from 1 year to 36 years. ___ participants completed the survey with a drop out of ____. The survey was completed over a 4 Week period, giving participants maximum time to complete the survey.

8.3         Design

The researcher created the online survey using survey monkey as a platform for all participants to easily access the study using laptops, tablets or mobile phones. An online survey was selected as an appropriate method of data collection due to convenience for design purposes and the ease of data administration (compared to traditional methods of surveys using paper and pen).  Participants were asked to complete the survey on a number of established scales used across leadership research acting as independent variables. Following this was demographic information and dependent measures acting as controls.

8.4         Procedure

The researcher completed a literature review in order to identify specific factors associated with leadership practices. The resulting review of well-established constructs from various studies lead to the final variables been chosen for this study.

Participants were initial emailed regarding the nature of the research and informed that a following email would provide more details with regards to participation and a link to the survey. The email containing the survey link confirmed the purpose of the survey and gave an estimation of the time to complete and a final date of closure of the survey. Only on agreeing to take part and giving consent could they move forward into the survey and start answering the questions pertinent to the research study. Participants were asked to click the final ‘Done’ button to complete the survey.

8.5         Ethical Considerations

Ethical approval was obtained through the University of Sheffield via the management Schools ethical review procedures (see appendix).

8.5.1        Data

Research was undertaken in accordance with the approved ethical processes within the University, and data was analysed using statistical software (SPSS). None of the data was fabricated and no data was omitted when reporting the results in this study. All participants were provided with exact information regarding the aims and outcomes of the research, and in particular how this information would be used and that the research outcomes would be used to produce an academic piece of work that contributed towards a post graduate degree in Leadership and Management.

8.5.2        Consent

The introduction page to the survey provided information regarding informed consent, all participants were advised in the covering email to read the informed consent before continuing to the survey (see appendix ). Consent was gained by participants clicking “I agree” to the statement on the first page of the survey, if the statement was not agreed to participants could not continue further into the survey (see appendix ). Questions relating to demographics and tenure in the organisation were non0compulsary and included a ‘rather not say’ option, allowing participants to continue with the survey and responses still recorded. Email addresses or IP codes were not collected from any particpants.

8.5.3        Anonymity

Participants were informed on the information sheet provided that all information provided was anonymous. Participants were not required to enter their name, date of birth, or any other information to which they could be identified, thus remaining anonymous. All completed survey responses were given a unique ID number which was only used as an ID code for each individual survey response. Neither the organisation nor the individuals who participated in the research were identifiable in the study.

8.5.4        Nonmaleficence

The research project did not cover any sensitive topics neither did it involve vulnerable participants, participants were subjected to limited or no harm through the taking part in the survey. Any inconvenience caused was justified by the potential benefits of the survey, with the online nature of the survey and period of time limited to 20/25 minutes the survey was convenient to complete. Participants were reminded that participation was voluntary through the initial invite and participation information sheet. In the event any participant had concerns regarding the survey details of the researcher and dissertation supervisor were provided on the participant information sheet.

8.6         Measure

8.6.1        Independent variables

In the final section of the survey participants will be asked their age, sex and ethnicity (see appendix). Past research has suggested that these variables are likely to influence leadership practices along with motivation to lead. Of the 54 respondents from the survey all participants noted they were from white backgrounds, therefore this was discounted in the results. Sex was measured within SPSS and was catagroised into ‘0’ – male and ‘1’ – female. Length of volunteering to lead in the organisation was also measured, respondents answered in years. Also, participant’s educational background measured, asking respondents to state the highest level of education they had received to date.

8.6.2        Dependent variables

Leadership practices inventory has been used in many studies over the past two decades, LPI has been proven to be a reliable instrument and is considered “to be quite powerful in assessing individuals’ leadership capabilities, and demonstrates that the five practices of exemplary leaders do make a difference at the personal, interpersonal, small group and organizational level” (Kouzes & Posner, 2002). Kouzes and Posner (2002) reported the coefficient reliability (Cronbach’s alpha) for the LPI to be between .75 and .87 for the self-assessment, which has been used in this study.

Leadership practices were measured using the Leadership practices inventory (LPI) a 30-item instrument, six items measure each of the five practices of leadership. Each question or statement is rated on a 5-point likert scale based on the frequency with which the participant practices or observes the leadership behavior. The scale ranges from Rarely or Never (1) to Frequently or Always (5). The responses for each of the six items of each leadership practice are added together to reach a combined score for each leadership practice.  The total scores for each practice may range from six, inferring all six of those leadership practices are never experienced, to 30, inferring all six of those leadership conducts are nearly always practiced. Table 1 details which items of the instrument were combined to measure each of the leadership practices.

Table 1

Match of Items in Leadership Practices Inventory with specific leadership practices.

Leadership Practices LPI Items
Model the Way 3, 4, 5, 14, 19, and 22
Inspire a Shared Vision 2, 6, 7, 12, 17, and 24
Challenge the Process 1, 11, 16, 21, 26, and 29
Enable others to Act 8, 9, 13, 18, 23, and 28
Encourage the Heart 10, 15, 20, 25, 27, and 30

This study is being compared to normative data (Posner, 2010) none of which had any voluntary leaders and and all were considered to be paid employees. The normative data that was collected by Posner (2016) was collected using a 10-point likert scale. Work on LPI and the voluntary sector is limited Siriwoharn’s (1995) study on voluntary leadership focused the research on comparing leadership behaviors between two groups of volunteer leaders, there was no connection in this work between volunteer leaders and paid leaders.

The normative database that was used to compare the data gathered in this research was compiled online from 2007 through 2015 (Posner, 2016), Nearly 2.8 million response have been collected and from leaders (N=446,780), and the remainder from observers.  The normative data statistically showed that the average scores of female leaders showing significantly higher than those of male leaders as shown in table 3

Table 2 – LPI Scores (Normative Data)

(Posner, 2016)

Table 3 – LPI Scores by Gender (Normative Data)

(Posner, 2016)

9           Results

The main purpose of this study was to understand the differences in voluntary leadership compared to paid leader. The organisation in the study provided an excellent opportunity to study the practice of leadership in the voluntary sector. This studies main aim was to identify unique leadership behaviors between volunteer leaders and other volunteers all who were active in a fully voluntary organisation.

A quantitative methods approach was adopted in order to collect data using the Leadership Practice Inventory. Data from the study was compared to normative LPI data (Posner, 2016).

The data from the online survey was entered into SPSS and preliminary analysis was conducted. Responses totaled 54 out of the possible 280 emails sent out asking volunteers to take part in the study. Early indications seemed to be that the study would collect more results than expected with a high percentage of participants completing the survey in the initial week. With the nature of the study being conducted in the voluntary sector it was deemed appropriate to only send one follow up email to ask participants to complete the survey, all participants of the study are volunteers are give their time freely, this added to the limitations of the study as with studies conducted within the profit making sector participants may feel obliged to take part.

9.1         Preliminary analysis

Initially descriptive statistics for variables were computed in SPSS to screen the data for any duplicates and to find any typing errors or values out of range. 54 participants completed the survey of which 33 (61.1%) male and 21 (38.9%) female (See Appendix). Ages ranged from 19 to 70 with the mean age being 44.91 (See Appendix). Over 40% stated having a Bachelors degree with ten respondents not answering the level of education question.

Secondly, reliability was tested for each LPI Practice in order to attain the Cronbach’s alpha values for each practice to provide justification for use in the study. All items demonstrated a coeffiecient of above 0.7, which is deemed acceptable (Cronbach, 1951) see table 3. In research reliability is about consistency. This means the survey should give the same results over and over, with the assumption that the variable being measured is not changing.

Table 4. Reliability Coefficients

Scale Cronbach’s Alpha
Challenge the Process .700
Enable Others to Act .839
Encourage the Heart .798
Inspire a Shared Vision .853
Model the Way .739
Leader-Member Exchange .832

Table 2 shows the normative data collected by Posner (2016) the means and standard deviation for each LPI scale for leaders, based on the normative data means scores paid leaders used the practice of ‘Enable Others to Act’ most frequently. This is then followed by Model the Way, Encourage the Heart, Challenge the Process and inspire a Shared vision.

9.2         Results of Hypothesis Testing

Five hypotheses were tested in the study. The dependent variable in each case was the five practices of exemplary leadership from the Leadership Practices Inventory, independent variables were age and sex of respondents. Respondents were also asked to give their ethnicity and all responses received where from people of a white background so this was discounted in the analysis of the results.

9.2.1        Leadership Practice Inventory – Challenging the Process

Table 5 – Descriptive Statistics Leadership Practice Inventory (Means and Standard Deviation

N Mean Mean x2 Std. Deviation SD x2
Challenge the Process (5) 54 19.85 39.7 4.75 9.5
Inspiring a Shared Vision (4) 54 20.44 40.88 5.25 10.5
Enabling Others to Act (1) 54 24.21 48.42 5.02 10.04
Modeling the Way (3) 54 22 44 5.28 10.56
Encouraging the Heart (2) 54 22.65 45.3 5.51 11.02

NB – this data was collected on a 5 point likert scale, to compare the data to the normative data from Posner (2106) the results have been multiplied by two.

Table 6 – Descriptive Statistics Leadership Practice Inventory Male and Female Split (means and Standard Deviation)

Male Female
N Mean Std.Deviation Mean Std.Deviation
Challenge the Process 54 19.64(39.28) 4.9(9.8) 20.18(40.36) 4.46(8.92)
Inspiring a Shared Vision 54 19.96(39.92) 5.38(10.75) 21.18(42.36) 5.00(10.00)
Enabling Others to Act 54 23.91(47.82) 4.92(9.83) 24.66(49.32) 5.08(10.15)
Modeling the Way 54 21.36(42.72) 5.48(10.96) 22.99(45.98) 4.84(9.68)
Encouraging the Heart 54 22.41(44.82) 5.52(11.04) 23.01(46.02) 5.51(11.01)

NB – this data was collected on a 5-point likert scale, to compare the data to the normative data from Posner (2106) the results have been multiplied by two and placed in brackets.


Hypothesis 1a.

Volunteer leaders will demonstrate high levels of challenging the process compared to paid leaders.

The results from the present study have shown slight differences in the hierarchy of leadership practices, table 5 shows the means and standard deviation from the present study. The mean score of volunteer leaders in practicing challenge the process was 39.7 with std deviation 9.5, compared to the normative data of 44 and std deviation 8.89. Challenge the process with volunteer leaders in the organisation of study was categorized as being least important form of practice on average for volunteer leaders whereas paid leaders did rank this process low on the scale but not as significantly low as the studied voluntary leaders. The differences between voluntary male and female leaders came out with similar statistics as paid male and female leaders, that said female volunteer leaders ranked the process of challenging the process far lower than there male counterparts and lower than the average means of the normative data, suggesting that female leaders in a voluntary organisation feel less able or are unlikely to challenge to process.

The differences here is quite significant and shows that predominantly paid leaders are seen to be practicing challenging the process more than volunteer leaders leading to a rejection of the hypothesis 1.


Hypothesis 1b.

Volunteer leaders will demonstrate higher levels of inspiring a shared vision compared to paid leaders.

Voluntary leaders showed little difference in the practice of inspiring a shared vision with paid leaders, normative results found an average of 42.72 with a standard deviation of 10.29 voluntary leaders average were significantly lower at 40.88 but the standard deviation was higher at 10.5, this could be due to the smaller size of data collected. For paid leaders inspiring a shared vision with subordinates was categorized as least important of all the five scales whereas for paid leaders it was seen to be slightly more important. The gender split in the category of inspire a shared vision was minimal in normative data for paid leaders, whereas with volunteer leaders the difference was significant with females score higher than male counterparts, mean for females 42.36 compared to males 39.92.

Once again there is a noticeable difference between volunteer leaders and paid leaders, the statistics have shown that overall in inspiring a shared vision paid leaders performing higher on the scale.


Hypothesis 1c

Volunteer leaders will demonstrate high levels of enabling others to act compared to paid leaders.

Enabling other to act once again showed little difference between paid leaders and voluntary leaders. The normative data collected showed a mean 49.5 with voluntary leaders giving an average of 48.42. The statistics for paid leaders showed that enabling others to act was the most frequent practiced on the leadership practices inventory scale, this was also the case for the current study on voluntary leadership. The gender differences showed similar results between the normative study and the current study on voluntary leaders, females once again showing higher levels of enabling others to act over there male counterparts, this was found to be the same in the normative study of paid leaders. Thus once again the hypothesis is rejected

Hypothesis 1d

Volunteer leaders will demonstrate high levels of modeling the way compared to paid leaders.

Once again model the Way showed no significant difference between paid leaders and voluntary leaders, the difference in gender between paid leaders in modeling the is very slight, but there is quite a difference between male and female volunteer leaders average being 42.72 and 45.98 respectively. Thus the hypothesis is rejected

Hypothesis 1e

Volunteer leaders will demonstrate high levels of encouraging the heart compared to paid leaders.

Encouraging the heart was the only leadership practice where volunteer leaders showed greater levels than paid leaders. The same was found with the gender split once again female leaders showed higher levels of encouraging the heart to there male counter parts this was visible in both volunteer leaders tested in this research and the normative results from Posner (2016)

9.2.2        Leader – Member Exchange and Motivation to Lead

Table 7 – Descriptive Statistics Leader – Member Exchange (Means and Standard deviation)

N Mean Std. Deviation
Do you know where you stand with your leader? And Do you usually know how satisfied your leader is with what you do? 54 3.80 1.016
How well does your leader understand your job problems and needs? 54 4.00 .911
How well does your leader recognize your potential? 54 4.20 .898
Regardless of how much formal authority your leader has built into his or her position, what are the chances that your leader would use his or her power to help you solve problems in your work? 54 4.04 .990
Again, regardless of the amount of formal authority your leader has, what are the chances that he or she would bail you out at his or her expense? 51 3.84 .903
I have enough confidence in my leader that I would defend and justify his or her decision if he or she were not present to do so. 54 4.02 .687
How would you characterize your working relationship with your leader? 54 4.09 .830
Total 27.99 6.235
Avarage Total 3.99 .890



Table 8  – Descriptive Statistics Motivation To Lead (Means and Standard Deviation

N Mean Std. Deviation
Most of the time I prefer being a leader rather than a follower when working in groups. 54 4.74 1.494
I can contribute more to a group if I am a follower rather than a leader. 54 3.81 1.518
I usually want to be a leader in the groups that I work in? 54 4.52 1.463
I am the type of person that would happily support a leader but prefer not to be appointed a leader. 54 4.46 1.437
I regularly take charge in most groups that I work in. 54 4.35 1.430
I need to see the benefits of a role before agreeing to be a leader. 54 4.56 1.621
What’s in it for me’ is a question I ask before agreeing to be a leader. 54 2.19 1.468
I never expect to receive privileges if I agree to lead a group. 54 5.91 1.663
Leading others is more of a chore than an honorable one. 54 2.78 1.645
I feel a sense of duty to lead if I am asked. 54 5.39 1.295
I agree to lead when others ask me. 54 5.72 .979
People should accept leadership roles when they are asked. 54 3.43 1.512
It is wrong to decline leadership roles 54 2.31 1.163
I would never agree to lead just because others voted for me. 54 4.56 1.860
Total 58.73 20.548
Average Total 4.195 1.467


In the study LMX was measured using the LMX-7 scale all mean scores were totaled to find the average overall LMX score for all respondents this came out at 3.99 just under the scale of ‘high’ showing that volunteers have and average high commitment to leader member exchange. On measure for motivation to lead the scale was measured on a 7-point likert scale and the average score was 4.195.

Hypothesis 2

Leader-Member exchange will have a positive effective on Motivation to lead. Such that when Higher Quality LMX is found MtL will increase


10      Discussion

Research was conducted to identify differences in leadership behaviour between voluntary and paid leaders. And to understand the levels of leader member exchange within the voluntary sector. The relevance of the findings from the research will be discussed in relation to the literature reviewed earlier in regards to its theoretical, research and practical implications. Future research suggestions will be made along with strengths and limitations to the research. The section will conclude with practical recommendations to the study.

The research firstly investigated the differences in leadership practices undertaken by volunteer leaders, this was administered using the Leadership Practices Inventory (LPI) 54 respondents undertook the survey and all respondents were volunteers in the organisation. The results of the LPI data were then compared to normative LPI date for paid leaders. From analysis of the data collected the indication is that volunteers leaders exhibited different behaviours to paid leaders in all the LPI practices. Secondly the research investigated the relationships leaders had with followers and how these relationships affected motivation to lead for voluntary leaders.

This chapter will discuss the findings above in more detail and correlate these findings to the research hypothesis from chapter six – Hypothesis Development. Also the discussion will look at the present research and its relationship to previous research in the area of volunteer leadership as discussed in the literature review. Conclusions will be presented in connection with the findings from the present study. Finally, suggestions for future research will be posed and limitations to the present study will be discussed.

10.1     Summary of Findings

Hypothesis 1a

The first hypothesis explored the view that volunteer leaders practiced Challenge the Process behaviors at higher levels than paid leaders. Scores from the Leadership Practice Inventory that related to Challenge the Process (see table 1) were submitted by volunteer leaders and were compared to normative scores fro Challenge the Process. After analysis of the data from volunteer leaders there were no significant differences to paid leaders. However, paid leaders showed a slightly higher level of Challenge the Process behavior compared to volunteer leaders.

Challenge the Process was described by Kouzes and Posner (2007) as leaders that enable change, ‘the work of the leaders is change. And all change requires that leaders actively seek ways to make things better, to grow, innovate, and improve”  (Kouzes & Posner, 2007, p.164).  For each of the questions concerning Challenge the Process volunteer leader behavior was recorded as undertaking these activities ‘sometimes’ or ‘quite often’ on the survey scale. In the leadership practice inventory normative case leaders who score high on Challenge the Process behavior also rated themselves as proactive leaders (Kouzes &Posner, 2007).

Hypothesis 1b

The second hypothesis, which was investigated, was whether volunteer leaders engaged with inspiring a Shared Vision in higher levels than paid leaders. Scores from the Leadership Practice Inventory that related to Inspiring a Shared Vision (see table 1) were submitted by volunteer leaders and were compared to normative scores from Inspiring a Shared Vision. There was no significant difference between volunteer leaders researched and paid leaders from the normative data. Once again paid leaders showed slightly higher levels of Inspiring a Shared Vision to volunteer leaders.

Inspiring a Shared Vision requires volunteer leaders having a captivating vision for the future and they are required to express this vision clearly to followers for them to become engaged in the vision for the future. Effective volunteers therefore are able to mold a shared vision of the organisation (Camplin, 2009).

Hypothesis 1c

The third hypothesis tested was whether volunteer leaders practiced behaviors of Enabling Others to Act at higher levels than paid leaders. Scores from the Leadership Practice Inventory that related to Enabling Others to Act (see table 1) were submitted by volunteer leaders and were compared to normative scores from Enabling Others to Act. Once again there was no significant difference in the behaviors of volunteer leaders with paid leaders. Again in the testing of this hypothesis paid leaders showed slightly higher levels of Enabling Others to Act than volunteer leaders.

11      Conclusion

12      Limitations to Research and Further Studies

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