Fostering Integrative Community Leadership

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Community leadership, Volunteer motives, Community leadership development, Community stewardship

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This longitudinal field study examined the determinants of integrative, volunteer community leadership. Using a sample of 1443 participants in 43 community leadership programs across North America, we linked altruistic, social- and self-oriented motives to the breadth of individuals' volunteer involvement in their communities. Individuals who engaged in volunteer community leadership reported more altruistic motives (i.e., they volunteered because they were concerned about others). High levels of voluntary community leadership were also associated with social motives, such as getting involved in the community because friends or important others think doing so is important. Regardless of their motives, participants engaged in their communities in new ways following participation in a community leadership program, suggesting that such programs foster integrative community leadership. Programs that focused on team building as part of their curriculum were the most successful in fostering new community leadership activities, and programs that focused on knowledge and awareness of the community were effective in increasing participants' knowledge and awareness of the community. Considered as a whole, results of this study suggest that community leadership programs can increase both knowledge and awareness of the community and actual engagement in the community for community members who choose to participate in such programs.

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Citation / Publisher Attribution

The Leadership Quarterly, v. 21, issue 2, p. 324-335