Leadership in a Community

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 colonization. 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 colonization.

Another pertinent interest is whether or how leadership may influence a synergy which affects the organizational culture and colonization 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 f 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 judgment of a research transfer from one sector to another if the data support the application. The value judgment of the leader would be based upon his or her knowledge of the organizational system being considered.

It is important; however, for a value judgment to be made prior to transferring and subsequently implementing any knowledge from one sector to the next. This value judgment would recognize the unique qualities of the exceptive organizations. It seems plausible to suggest that any organization has unique characteristics. If so, the Robert D. Herman, and Richard D. Homesick, Executive Leadership in Nonprofit 1 Organizations, (CA: Josses-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 irritable 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 of the organization. This proves to be a limited view of sector differentiation. A characteristic of the nonprofit sector which may be different from public and private sectors; however, is the disparate nature of the nonprofit sector. It not only is the Internal Revenue Service which categorizes the numerous kinds of nonprofit organizations; the local agencies also pride themselves on their special “callings. Herman and Homesick state that, “Ethereally for most nonprofit organizations is that they are expected to promote many values and be accountable to many groups while furthering the organization’s mission. ” Accountability, then, 1 becomes a major issue to a nonprofit organization seeking to fulfill its mission, a mission quite often dictated by a minority group. The assumption that a literature can be constructed for the nonprofit sector becomes one of seeking moon ground. In this sense, a form of unified diversity becomes an important consideration in this quest.

The practical side of this consideration is to find a common ground upon which to found a literature. The need for a working definition of “nonprofit” becomes vital to this quest for a sector literature. The notion seems to be that “we” are diverse, yet we have a common spectrum within which to work we are unified (same sector), yet different (unique). A Sector Without A Discrete Literature To say there is no literature specific to the nonprofit sector regarding the leader or leadership would beg the truth. Indeed, there is a prolifically of literature pertaining to the nonprofit sector.

Numerous library computer searches and conversations with nonprofit leaders, librarians and publishers of literature devoted to nonprofit sector leadership have uncovered a body of literature which speaks to organizational functions: budget, board members’ roles, organizational structure, funding, administrative responsibilities and such, but are found lacking when delimited to the role of the nonprofit leader, or nonprofit leadership per SE. Further, there are essentially no references which combine the elements of nonprofit organizational culture and colonization to the activities of the leader (Appendix B – Computerized Library Search).

It seems appropriate that more studies be done specifically with the nonprofit organization leader in mind. Will a new basis of leadership be discovered? Are nonprofit leaders required to function differently from other sector leaders? It may be too early to expect this literature to Dennis Young, “Executive Leadership in Nonprofit Organizations,” in W. W. Powell 2 (Deed. ), The Nonprofit Sector: A Research Handbook, (CT: Yale University, 1987). Also, R. D. Herman, and R. D. Homesick, “Nonprofit Chief Executives’ Careers and Work,” in Working Papers for the Spring Research Forum, (DC: Independent Sector, 1989).

Cynthia D. McCauley and Martha W. Hughes, “Leadership in Human Services: Key 3 Challenges and Competencies,” in Young, et al, Governing, Leading, and Managing Nonprofit Organizations, (DC: The Independent Sector, 1993), p. 1 56. 5 surface; however, it is incumbent upon nonprofit sector leaders to take the initiative and investigate the possibilities-2 The position of this dissertation is that research may become distorted when transferred among the various sectors. True, the probability of similarity can be recognized among sectors; yet at what point is there an epistemological/ ontological flaw?

McCauley and Hughes give their impression: Because the nonprofit sector has some unique characteristics, we cannot necessarily generalize research results on corporate managers to managers in this sector. Nonprofit organizations’ missions, governance structures, funding sources, and reliance on volunteers create differences in their internal dynamic and external relationships. 3 This “generalized research” flaw seems obvious, yet, often ignored; or worse, it s accepted as being of no consequence. How can the literature of one sector be applied to another when the very essence of each is different, even contrary to each other?

A cursory explanation of the sectors may be defined. For example, when considering the nonprofit, private, and public sectors some primary differences often suggested are funding base, organizational purpose, and human resources. Funding Base Private: The funding base is contractual. For a given product, an agreed upon amount is paid. The market controls the cost and the quantity. 6 Public: The funding base is assessed. For a given activity, regarded as necessary by the public or legislatively mandated for the public good, a tax is assessed.

Granted, some public good is subsidized by a user’s fee, but the primary cost is based upon the tax rate per citizen. Nonprofit: The funding base is from a variety of sources. It specifically contributes to the services being provided by the respective organizations. This funding, also, may have a fee base that helps subsidize the cost, but the fee is usually less than the cost of the service in the private sector. In reference to all three sectors, the goods being provided may be incentive based. The significant difference is in the kind of goods being offered, and the way the goods are funded.

Organizational Purpose Private: The motivation of the private sector is goods provided for a profit. The goods are designed to meet some perceived need of those who purchase them, but the purpose of the organization is to earn profits for all parties involved at the best market price. Public: The public purse is to provide prescribed goods for the citizenry. Those goods speak to the collective good of those concerned. Goods tend to be for the advantage of the client or recipient. Another service, forever, is regulatory. Rules and regulations may cause problems to those who must abide by them.

Yet, the public good is strengthened because of the public mandate and the fact that the service is enforced by agency policy. Nonprofit: The purpose of being is to address specific needs that are often ignored by either of the other sectors. Often a smaller base of a consensus is needed to initiate the service, and the population may be only a small segment of the community in need. Most often, however, it is a 7 community incapable of obtaining the necessities of quality living that bring the need to some public forum.

Human Resources Private: Most often, the human resource base is the paid employee. Although there are some other constituencies involved, the paid employee is the primary base of operations. Therefore, there are considerations made by employers that may be necessary for the viability of the business that take precedence over the wishes of the employees. Decisions, right or wrong, can be and are made by the primary leader or leaders. Demand for profits and invested stakeholders make decisions that do not always set well with the human resource base, but the organization accepts their authority.

Public: Though similar to the private sector, there are other considerations that must be made by the public sector. The “profit” may be compared to meeting the need of the public interest, yet there is no monetary incentive for product development as such. The service is granted by the public agency with the intent to address a prescribed need O not to make a profit for the service being provided. Policy decisions are made by legislative mandate or political power brokers. Policy becomes a procedural control called rules and regulations.

A prescribed constituency may or may not agree, but the policy remains until a ewe policy is drafted into law. Nonprofit: The human resource base of this sector is usually mixed. The private sector may become involved for political reasons, such as, to be seen as supporting a particular public interest. The public agency is involved because public funds are being used to initiate the service. 8 Policy and organizational decisions are often beyond the control of any nonprofit organization personnel because the funding base may stipulate how the funds are used.

Also, there is usually a volunteer constituency within a nonprofit organization that contributes political strength. They may or may not be willing to support a policy superimposed upon the organization by a funding base. The leader, consequently, becomes the negotiating party who must be able to balance the initiatives between the funding mandate and the volunteers. The human resource issue may require a different leader dynamic for each sector, especially when it becomes necessary for the nonprofit organization to work from the mixed base of provider constituents.

It seems logical, therefore, for the nonprofit leader to take this misdeals dynamic into account when making decisions related to his or her agency. Other areas of concern are product rendering and dissemination, process of implementation, and limits of tenure among numerous significant organizational stakeholders. These issues; however, are recognized, but not pertinent to the discussion of this dissertation. A Literature of Presuppositions When considering a theory base for any research, quite likely, there are some presuppositions necessarily made by the researcher.

One such presupposition is that a general theory base is normally applicable when considering a particular issue. While this presupposition is appropriate upon occasion, it is he exception that must be challenged. Generally speaking, it is not feasible to consider every exception on any given subject, but in the case of organizational sector characteristics; one must be advised. Psychological and sociological considerations may be transferable among the sectors, yet the unique organizational 9 characteristics of the three sectors need to be addressed on an individual basis.

To ignore the unique characteristics of sectors (i. E. , private, public, nonprofit); then, becomes an epistemological barrier that cannot be taken lightly. Research seeks to hold an idea to its unique and simplest form. It would seem to be imperative, therefore, that organizational characteristics are individually considered. At least, those involved in organizational research should require the literature to address his or her particular sector of interest. This legitimating reference may be called relevant inference.

The notion that each sector has some unique qualities which must be considered when using the extant literature is pertinent to this study of a nonprofit community action agency. If a researcher accepts the definition of Lester Salomon and the differences in funding, organizational purpose and unman resources among other particularly identifiable characteristics of the nonprofit organization, it seems that research must make some allowances to address these qualities. In addition to the aforementioned characteristics, though institutionalized to some extent, the nonprofit sector has no idealized organizational setting.

It is not government controlled or operated, nor is it a corporate structure dependent upon profit sharing of one sort or another. Yet, each of these entities affects the character and operations of a nonprofit organization. A nonprofit organization has a private sector mentality when efforts are made to make it conform to government regulations. It seeks the independence of the private sector, but it is not circumscribed by a market economy. Though the nonprofit may accumulate profits, the profits are not distributed to its employees or investors (e. . , board members). These profits are funneled back into the operation of the nonprofits mission. The powerful characteristic of self-governing is one of the unique qualities often overlooked or dismissed by a researcher. Outside entities do not control a nonprofit organization. 10 There are many internal and external influences placed upon a nonprofit organization, but none has dominant control of the organization. For example, the services of the nonprofit are not market driven as in the private sector.

Special interest groups do influence the nonprofit; yet, it is not the majority opinion of the public sector that mandates the nonprofit sector’s service delivery. Quite often, a minority issue becomes a primary service consideration for a nonprofit organization. Another characteristic of a nonprofit organization that usually attracts the attention of the public is its reliance upon voluntary participation. No other sector relies so heavily upon volunteers. Volunteers are involved because of some vested interest.

Their interests, therefore, affect the policies and services of the nonprofit organization. Do the volunteers control the nonprofit organization? Probably not, but they do influence policy and action. In summary, these characteristics, as identified by Salomon, seem to call for some uniqueness consideration when designing research for a nonprofit organization which relates to extant organization or leadership theory. Also, the major body of leadership theory could venture some attention to the unique qualities of the nonprofit organization as it does with the public – private sector debate.

This dissertation is an attempt to open such a dialog. It also makes the assertion that a nonprofit community action agency leader may be wise in paying close attention to the basic nature of his or her organization’s culture and colonization as a symbolic representation of the spirit and soul of that organization. The nonprofit sector is a vast array of specialized organizations. They have unifying characteristics as Salomon identifies. Characteristics of a Nonprofit Organization Lester Salomon, America’s Nonprofit Sector: A Primer, (NY: The Foundation enter, 4 1992), p. 6. 1 Lester Salomon provides six defining characteristics of organizations in the nonprofit sector:4 1. Formal – though not necessarily incorporated, they are institutionalized to some extent. They have a legal identity and legally enter into contracts without obligating its officers of personal financial responsibility for the organization’s commitments. 2. Private – institutionally separate from government. They are neither a part of the governmental apparatus or dominated by government board members. 3. Non-profit-distributing – not dedicated to generating profits for their owners.

If a profit is generated it must be reinvested in the basic mission of the agency. This differentiates nonprofit organizations from the other component of the private sector O private business. 4. Self-governing – equipped to control its own activities. They have their own internal procedures from governance and are not controlled by outside entities. 5. Voluntary – involved in some meaningful degree of voluntary participation. Usually, this takes the form of a voluntary board of directors, but extensive use of volunteer staff is also common. . Of public benefit – serving some public purpose and contributing to the public good. Further, Salomon provides a rationale for the nonprofit sector as having five major considerations: 1. Historical – in the United States and many other countries, societies (i. E. , voluntary organizations of social significance) predated the state. People met voluntarily to decide what was best for the common concerns of their respective communities. These voluntary organizations often continued to function even after government agencies entered the scene.

They frequently helped government meet various needs for the common good. John Stuart Mills, On Liberty, Quoted in Bruce R. Hopkins, The Law of Tax-Exempt 5 Organizations, 5 Deed. (NY: John Wiley and Sons, 1987), p. 7. The Alexis destructible, Democracy in America, the Henry Reeve Text, (NY: Alfred A. 6 Knops, Inc. , 1945), up. 114-118. 12 2. Market Failure – the market is able to handle such commodities as consumer goods, but falls short when the goods are consumed collectively, such as clean air, national defense, or safe neighborhoods.

Government attends to these interests by imposing a tax to remedy the problem. Nonprofit organizations, conversely, allow groups of individuals to pool their resources to produce elective goods they mutually desire but cannot convince a majority of their countrymen to support. Often these collective goods are for a constituent group other than the providers. Because nonprofit organizations do not exist principally to earn profits, they often are preferred providers in such situations. 3. Government failure – government functions on majority vote.

By forming nonprofit organizations, smaller groupings of people can begin addressing needs that they have not yet convinced others to support. 4. Pluralism/Freedom – Nonprofit organizations encourage individual initiative or the public good just as the business corporation encourages individual action for the private good. Government operations tend to be everywhere alike. With individuals and voluntary associations, on the contrary, there are varied experiments, and endless diversity of experience. 5 5. Solidarity – a response to the need for some mechanism through which to give expression to sentiments of solidarity . Mongo democratic nations … All the citizens are independent and feeble; they can do hardly anything by themselves, and none of them can oblige his fellow man to lend him their assistance. They all, therefore, become powerless if they do not learn voluntarily to help one another…. If they never acquired the habit of forming associations in ordinary life, civilization itself would be endangered. 6 Lester M. Salomon, America’s Nonprofit Sector: A Primer, 1992, up. 102-103. 7 Stephen R. Smith and Michael Lipids, Nonprofits for Hire: The Welfare State in the Age 8 of Contracting, (MA: Harvard University Press, 1993), up. 71-187. 13 Voluntary associations are thus needed especially critically in democratic societies to create artificially what the quality of conditions makes it extremely official to create naturally, namely, a capacity for joint action. 7 With a view of these characteristics available, it seems appropriate that a literature be written specifically with the nonprofit organization in mind. Unique characteristics require unique considerations. This disposition seems to be lacking in the generic leadership literature; a primary neglect being recognized by this dissertation.

Background of the Study: The Legislative Mandate The study of nonprofit leadership has taken me into the historical development of Total Action Against Poverty of Ranked, VA, and the legislative enterprise f the Johnson era called The Great Society, specifically, the War on Poverty. Combining public policy concerns with private, nonprofit organization implementation is of primary interest to students of Public Administration. The quest to understand the nonprofit organization is of increasing importance to the study of public administration because it allows for an in-depth study of this practice of public funding of private enterprise. Since their inception under the Johnson administration of the “War On Poverty,” Community Action Agencies, Title II of the Great Society legislation, have unanimously maintained their legislative mandate. Throughout their history of federal budget cuts and the numerous attempts by successive administrations to accelerate their demise, the community action agencies Michael Harrington, The Other American: Poverty in the United States, (NJ: MacMillan, 9 1962). 14 have continued their fight to remedy the human resource plight of the poor.

The community action initiative allegedly began when President John F. Kennedy was given a copy of Michael Harrington book, The Other America, in 1962. The argument of this 9 book convinced President Kennedy to use poverty in America s a major political agenda. Through the efforts of Walter Heeler, Chairman of Kennedy’s Council of Economic Advisers, a task force headed by Sergeant Shrives was assigned the responsibility of developing a strategy which addressed the issue of poverty as a central theme for Kennedy’s 1964 presidential campaign.

With the assassination of President Kennedy in 1963, Johnson adopted the poverty issue as a major strategy for his campaign. The “War On Poverty” became a major part of that strategy. It fit comfortably into the grand design of Johnny’s “Great Society” movement. On August 20, 1964, the legislative charter for the poverty bill was signed into law. It was a part of the Economic Opportunity Act. This unique community development program effort was to be identified, initiated and implemented by the local community involved in a community- based remedial process to eradicate poverty once and for all.

This initiative was congressionally approved and its implementation process was appointed by the President and entrusted to a new agency, the Office of Economic Opportunity (OWE). At its inception, it was directed from the protective circle of the White House and placed under Sergeant Shrives as the OWE Director and Chief of Staff. Under President Johnny’s authority, Shrives was responsible for the writing of the Economic Opportunity Act. Of significance to this study is Title II of the Act which addresses the issues of poverty. It fostered the notion of community action taken by an involved citizenry.

Barry D. Karl, “Corporate Philanthropy: Historical Background,” in Corporate 10 Philanthropy: Philosophy, Management, Future and Background, (DC: Council on Foundations, 1982), up. 132-135. 15 The plan of Title II was for local communities to establish community action programs (CAPS). To give nominal authority to the states, these programs had governor’s veto provision. The governor of a state where a grant was being requested had thirty days to veto the request. However, the OWE Director had the legislative authority to override the governor’s veto privilege.

This authority brought about many contentious attitudes toward the legislation. Once established, the Community Action Agency (CA) would receive up to 90% funding through OWE based upon a 10% match from local resources a cash or in-kind service could be used as the match for the local 10% match requirement. Through the support of the OWE and funding availabilities, the legislative plan tabulated that low-income people would be able to acquire the necessary skills, knowledge, and motivations to become self-sufficient. Thus, this legislation was to assist the poor of the American society to “pull themselves up by their own bootstraps. The consensus was that America was, indeed, the land of opportunity for all who were industrious enough to adopt the Protestant work ethic. All industrious citizens could rise above the threat and throes of poverty 0 a political response to social Darwinism which contended that only the demonstrably fit deserved to survive, and that some of those who appeared unfit loud be improved with the help of science. Historical theories of the stewardship of wealth helped to define the responsibilities of the wealthy. For example, those whom fortune favored were expected to care for those “less lucky. The “War On Poverty” movement, conversely, said that all were capable of rising above 10 poverty if they were industrious. It elevated the unlucky, the poor, and sought to provide them the support necessary for them to succeed in life. 16 A unique characteristic of the Title II legislation, and one that caused all manner of political rivalry, was the mandate of community control. The AAAS were to be deed by the people of the community being served. The CA board was to include public officials, members of civic groups, and representatives of the poor in the community.

This trip-party board initiative became a power broker’s group of stakeholders. The inclusion of the poor on the board with the power and authority to engage the minds of those present was the unique characteristic of the CA board. It was not always received in good favor by the usual power brokers of the community. The fact that Community Action Agencies, the highly visible and vocal advocates for the elimination of poverty, have continued to unction as legislatively mandated speaks convincingly of their organizational success and responsible place in society.

It should be noted that in the present literature regarding nonprofit organizations, the literature about the community action agencies primarily focuses on: (1) the activities of those agencies and how to manage them effectively; (2), their respective projects; (3), their funding methods; and (4), the nature of the projects they initiate. These obviously, are management considerations. While these management concerns are informative and essential to the continued support of the Community Action Agency effort, only limited research is available regarding the leadership role in the nonprofit organization.

Also, the attributes of leadership necessary for a nonprofit community action agency to be successful are equally neglected. This gap in the nonprofit organization literature is a primary concern of this dissertation. The Community Action Agency “This administration today here and now declares unconditional war on poverty in America, and I urge this Congress and all Americans to join with me in this effort. ” With these David Carefree, President Johnny’s War On Poverty: Rhetoric and History, (University 11 of Alabama Press, 1980). Words, President Lyndon Johnson set into motion one of the programs which became identified with his administration C] the War On Poverty, January 1964. Two reactions from Congress began immediately after Johnny’s declaration. The Democratic majority welcomed the proposal, but maintained that the larger group of aged and disabled citizens could be helped only by an improved public and private provision of insurance. The Republican minority said the antipoverty proposal was fine, but it was inadequate to the test, and the federal government’s role should be far less than state and local efforts.

The proposed 1 legislation provides for five basic funding opportunities according to President Johnny’s plan: 1. It will give almost half a million underprivileged young Americans the opportunity to develop skills, continue education, and find useful work. 2. It will give every American community the opportunity to develop a comprehensive plan to fight its own poverty – and help them to carry out their plans. 3. It will give dedicated Americans the opportunity to enlist as volunteers in the war against poverty. 4. It will give many workers and farmers the opportunity to break through particular barriers which bar their escape from poverty. . It will give the entire nation the opportunity for a concerted attack on poverty through the establishment, under my direction, of the Office of Economic Opportunity, a national headquarters for the war against poverty. The program was to be implemented by the Office of Economic Opportunity, a newly formed administrative office in the Executive Office of the President. Johnson appointed Robert Sergeant Shrives, Jar. , then Director of the Peace Corps, as Shoe’s first Director. Shrives was to be 18 Johnny’s personal Chief of Staff in the “War on Poverty. ” On February 18, 1965, Shrives was sworn in as a special Presidential assistant.

His first role was to draft the legislation for the anti poverty program and to design the operations for the program. Funding for the program was already included in the 1965 budget, and the program was to be initiated by July 1, 1965. The original budget was $500 million and was increased by another $426 million, by Johnson, to fund several pending programs. The proposed program’s agenda was to eliminate poverty by giving all Americans opportunities for work, for education and training, and for a chance to live in “decency” and “dignity” D these two words kept appearing in speeches and the hitherto of public debate.

Interestingly, the program, as initiated, was authorized and funded for only the three years of 1965, 1966, and 1967. Of primary interest to this dissertation is Title II, the section which was designed to assertively, if not aggressively, address poverty at the local level through local, private nonprofit agencies.