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Understanding volunteer leadership within Non-Profit Organizations: A case study of Ung Cancer
Södertörn University, School of Social Sciences.
Södertörn University, School of Social Sciences.
2015 (English)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

There has been a striking upsurge of non-profit organizations all around the world and Sweden is not an exception. Non-profit organizations play an important role in our society and are gaining more and more space and attention. Numerous studies have been conducted on for-profit organizations, while studies on non-profit organizations are fewer. Further studies on, in particular, voluntary leaders are even fewer; hence we want to contribute to studies in the non-profit sector.

The purpose with our thesis is to provide an understanding of the volunteer leadership by performing a case study on the successful and up-to-date Swedish non-profit organization “Ung Cancer”. We want to further broaden our knowledge by addressing the alleged importance of voluntary leaders, learn how they involve the members, and last by not least, examine if the voluntary leaders experience a lack of clarity in what their leadership role should involve. Our results are based on interviews from, and observations of, different voluntary leaders within “Ung Cancer” in order to receive a better understanding about their self-perceived leadership. Material from voluntary workers has also been added.

Our completed study shows the importance of voluntary leaders within non-profit organizations, this due to, first and foremost, that the voluntary leaders understand the volunteers better, since they are there by the same premises. We have come to understand that there is a challenge to lead in a NPO due to the aspect of voluntary participation and; therefore, personal qualities are more important than the position of being a leader. A voluntary leader can, by setting a good example, influence the volunteers so that they perform what is expected of them without, for that sake, feel the need to point out that they actually hold the position of a leader. We have concluded that the winning concept for this type of NPO is the combination of employed and voluntary leaders, where the employed leaders think result and numbers, whereas the voluntary leaders emphasizes on the personal level; however, this study does not reveal if voluntary leaders are crucial or essential for a non-profit organization, and if a non-profit organization might work just as good without them.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. , 62 p.
Keyword [en]
Non-profit organization, NPO, leadership, volunteer leadership, voluntary leader, transactional leadership, transformational leadership
National Category
Business Administration
URN: urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-28256OAI: diva2:853723
Subject / course
Business Studies
Social and Behavioural Science, Law
Available from: 2015-09-15 Created: 2015-09-14 Last updated: 2015-09-15Bibliographically approved

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