Leadership Styles and Ethics Positions of Nonprofit Leaders: A Quantitative Correlational Study

Leadership Styles and Ethics Positions of Nonprofit Leaders: A Quantitative Correlational Study

Author: 
Artresa Y. Eady-Mays
Program of study: 
D.M.
Abstract: 
Leadership is a widely explored topic. Leadership within the nonprofit sector of the United States has become of interest. The problem is that nonprofit leadership garnered attention with increased reports of unethical acts by nonprofit leaders. This quantitative correlation study investigated the relationship between the leadership styles (authoritarian, democratic, and laissez-faire) and ethics positions (idealism and relativism) of senior nonprofits leaders within the United States whose organizations were listed in the GuideStar database. The GuideStar database is a database of 1.8 million nonprofit organizations in the United States. Survey participants (n=111) responded to a 40-question web survey that consisted of questions from the Leadership Styles Questionnaire and the Ethics Position Questionnaire. Multiple regression analysis was used to analyze the data to investigate the hypothesized relationship between the research variables. The results of the study indicated a statistically significant relationship between the laissez-faire leadership style and both ethics positions. An implication of the findings suggested that a leader may hold a strong ethics position (rather it be relativism or idealism), but act as a neutral leader. Based on the findings a recommendation to nonprofit board of directors is to administer the Leadership Styles Questionnaire and the Ethics Position Questionnaire to assess if the leaders’ leadership style and ethics position are congruent with the need of the organization. The boards of directors may choose to engage laissez-faire leaders as they have strong ethics positions. This study is one of few that endorse the use of the laissez-faire leadership style.
Dedication: 
I dedicate this dissertation to my family. There is no way I could have done this without your prayers, support, gentle prodding, and encouragement. To my husband, my best friend, and the love of my life, Jamaal. I started this journey while you were away at war. You did not have a clue as to how much time and energy it would require of me when you returned, but you supported me through it all and even stayed up with me (well tried to stay up) during the countless long nights of researching and writing. You say that I am your “air”, but truly you were the one that continued to breathe life in me when I faltered. To my son, James, you were not even a twinkle in our eye when I started this journey. I shutter to think that the stress of the program may partly be the reason you were born early. I am so proud of you! You have gown to be a smart and faith filled young man despite all you have known thus far is mommy doing “homework.” I hope that you one day you realize that I had to make some sacrifices of our time together to blaze the trail ahead of you so you can go beyond me in your educational pursuits. This is also dedicated to my parents. To my mom, who put her life on hold for months at a time to help my family while I was either at residency or writing my proposal. You prayed me through this and I cannot thank you enough. I can only hope to one day to be the type of mom that you have been to me, demonstrating a truly unconditional love! To my dad, you have always supported me. You instilled in me the importance of education. I gained my love of reading and acquiring knowledge from you. You also provided for me financially so much so that I have never had a student loan, from undergrad to now. Thank you, daddy! Finally, I must “give praise to the Lord, proclaim His name; and make known among the nations what He has done” Isaiah 12:4. He made a way!
Acknowledgements: 
I would like to acknowledge my wonderful committee. I truly believe that God brought each of you in my life and I am ever grateful. Dr. Parham, you have not only been my mentor, but you have been a friend. You have supported me through from the very beginning and I know that you will continue to be there for me into the future. You pushed me to keep my “eye on the prize.” When I wanted to rush through certain parts you slowed me down and challenged me to think analytically and critically. Dr. McCaslin, your keen insight and your deep understanding of research allowed me to invigorate my work with higher order critical thinking and allowed my work to flow better. I am so glad to have crossed paths with you and I look forward to possibly work with you again. Dr. Heflich, your sharp attention to detail and direction helped guide my work and made it better. I truly appreciate your formatting tips and your ability to suggest areas of improvement. Dr. Rich, thank you for the “brain tithing” and the reminders of the importance of details. I acknowledge my many family and friends that prayed me through, especially I would like to acknowledge two of my cohort members that helped me throughout this journey. Shaquanah and Medgar, we were in a group together the very first class, and we have encouraged each other through this entire process. Medgar, you forged ahead, but did not forget us. Shaquanah, you were my accountability partner and I will be yours as you finish these last hurdles. Thank you all for being there for me. Thank you to the nonprofit leaders who participated in my survey. Last, but certainly not least I acknowledge Jesus Christ, who is the Lord and Savior of my life. Without Him this would not be possible. Your Word says “if any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God…and it will be given to you, but when you ask, you must BELIEVE” James 1:5-6.