ivABSTRACTPrinciples of Servant Leadership that Motivate Nonpaid Volunteers to Serve on Boards of Nonprofit, Philanthropic OrganizationsBy Diane J. Silvers, EdD
The purpose of this study was to reveal the degree to which the principles of servant leadership motivate nonpaid volunteers to serve on the governing boards of nonprofit, philanthropic organizations in the United States.
The subjects in this study were thirty-three nonpaid volunteer members of the boards of directors of fourteen nonprofit, philanthropic organizations located in tenstates and the District of Columbia. The aggregate number of volunteer years representedby the thirty-three participants in this study was 771 total years. The total number of years on boards represented by the participants was 269. The critical incident techniquewas the format for the interview questions. Interviews were conducted over thetelephone. The data were categorized and analyzed to determine the frequency withwhich each participant used one or more of the ten principles of servant leadership asidentified by Robert Greenleaf and Larry C. Spears.
: The actions described by the thirty-three volunteer board members werefound to be congruent with the ten principles of servant leadership. Each one of thethirty-three participants interviewed cited incidents that represented actions consistentwith one or more of the ten principles of servant leadership while they were boardmembers. The board members described a total of 855 incidents of high satisfaction and atotal of 740 incidents of high dissatisfaction for a total of 1595 incidents that werecongruent with the ten principles of servant leadership. The board members citedincidents that included the principles of
commitment to growth
more often than any of the other principles of servant leadership.
The thirty-three board members included in this study provided data, whichdemonstrated congruency with the ten principles of servant leadership. The incidents of satisfaction described positive use of the principles of servant leadership. The incidentsof dissatisfaction described negative use, or perceived lack of use, of the principles of servant leadership. The ten principles of servant leadership may be used as a tool forrecruitment, retention, and assessment of volunteer leaders.
: Future studies should continue to examine the relationship(s) betweenthe ten principles of servant leadership and nonprofit, philanthropic volunteer boardleadership and volunteerism. The research may be expanded to include the private sector.