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Idealized Paradise?: Leadership in international volunteer organizations in the sustainable development process
Linnaeus University, School of Business and Economics, Department of Organisation and Entrepreneurship.
2016 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

In the sustainable development process, international volunteer organizations are rapidly increasing in developing countries but have become criticized for having over promising benefits and neocolonialism impacts on the local population. In the combination with a discussed inefficient leadership in these organizations, this study aims to understand how international volunteer organizations, with the focus on Mauritius, through leadership more efficiently can maintain their vision to contribute to long-term socio, environmental and economic sustainable development by managing volunteer participants in ways that lead to productive and satisfied volunteers and in its turn result in an improvement of project outcomes.

The material findings of two field studies organizations, which included one participant observation, one focus group and seven semi-structured interviews were collected and indicated four main outcomes: 1) There exist no such thing as "the best" leadership style in international volunteer organizations, for volunteers’ competence and commitment vary substantially. Leaders need, therefore, to adapt to their leadership style depending on volunteers’ competences and commitment. 2) Leaders benefit from establishing an organizational commitment through five task characteristics: task significance, task variety, task feedback, task responsibility and task interest. 3) Leaders benefit to acquire and fine-tune certain skills including: conceptual skills, technical skills, emotional intelligence, and Intercultural communication competence. 4) The importance of the diversity of local leaders, both in terms of local and international volunteers; this is because valuable interaction can only occur in environments in which local leaders and volunteers can learn from each other in a balanced way with an open mind, which will invariably lead to an all-around improvement in knowledge concerning conservation issues and the sustainable development. The outcomes are discussed in relation to the following main theories and concepts: Situational Leadership II model, Voluntary Functional Inventory, Creative Tension, Goleman's five components of emotional intelligence, Social Identity theory of Leadership, the Job Characteristic model and the Third Space theory.

The four main outcomes demonstrate how international volunteer organizations can contribute to sustainable development through efficient leadership, diversity, open-mindedness, and ingenuity.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Keyword [en]
International volunteer organization, situational leadership style, sustainable development, intercultural communication competence, diversity, organizational commitment, creative tension
National Category
Business Administration
URN: urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-52955OAI: diva2:932977
Subject / course
Business Administration - Organization Leadership
Educational program
Leadership - Creative, Innovative and Entrepreneurial, Master Programme, 60 credits
Available from: 2016-07-05 Created: 2016-06-02 Last updated: 2016-07-05Bibliographically approved

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