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A Multi-Case Study of Four Nonprofit Leaders Who Serve "At Risk" and Homeless Populations and Their Uderlying Formulas for Success

Martha Ostrom

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TITLE: A Multi-Case Study of Four Nonprofit Leaders Who Serve “At Risk” and Homeless Populations and Their Underlying Formulas for Success
RESEARCHER: Martha Ostrom
Graduate School
Arizonia State University
Unpublished doctoral dissertation: May 2011

The purpose of the study was to investigate the leadership traits and behaviors of non-profit leaders that work to ameliorate homelessness.

Four experienced long-term, formal NPO leaders that work to ameliorate homelessness. These leaders were selected because of their prestige in the community, longevity of NPO service, and length of time as an organization’s executive leader (a minimum of five years, and has served within the nonprofit community, in various leadership capacities, for a minimum of 10 years). In addition to interviews, each completed the Leadership Practices Inventory, the Kouzes-Posner Characteristics of An Admired Leader Checklist, the Cialdini Influence IQ Test (2009), and the LPI-Observer form was also completed.

The top four most admired characteristics of leaders were (not in rank order): competent, inspiring, forward-looking, and honest. The author reports that: “The top four admired characteristics as identified by Kouzes & Posner (2003) are: honest, forward-looking, inspiring, and competent. This research study’s first objective is to see if leader subjects possess the four top traits. Each leader subject proved in a variety of ways that they do possess the top 4 traits (p. 92) . . . . This study suggests that NPO leaders have great endurance, admirable characteristics, and follow through with the practices of leadership as identified by Kouzes & Posner” (p. 105).