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Doctoral Project Abstract

Governance as Leadership: New Mindsets of Development for Nonprofit Boards

Karen P. McNair
Regent University

The project explores leadership as the seat of governance and introduces alternative approaches to leadership concepts that may be used for the development of nonprofit boards. The project first begins with why governance and leadership are issues of concern today, and continues with definitions of governance, leadership, nonprofit, and then a brief overview of the nonprofit sector. Public and nonprofit management has advanced considerably in the past few decades, while governance has scarcely moved at all (Carver 37). When chief executives are becoming more skilled as managers while their boards are not becoming more skilled as governors, board leadership becomes a mockery (Carver 37). Developments in recent theory and practice of leadership reveal implications on governance. For instance, the transformation of leadership theory and practice in recent decades might suggest what it would take to develop new ideas and practices for governance (Chait, Ryan, and Taylor 8). Consequently, when looking at governance in light of leadership, governance may be reframed as leadership (Chait, Ryan, and Taylor 8). Chait, Ryan, and Taylor believe that the concept of governance as leadership gives boards a new way to understand governance, and more important, new practices for governing more effectively (Chait, Ryan, and Taylor 8). To get new governing practices, the field will need new governing concepts, in which a leadership approach to governance might console (Chait, Ryan, and Taylor 8-9). Chait, Ryan, and Taylor support their views by presenting three modes of governance that constitute governance as leadership, which they term as the Governance Triangle (Chait, Ryan, and Taylor 9). Type I, the fiduciary mode of governance, Type II, the strategic mode, and Type III, the generative mode of governance. Because many organizations lack frameworks and practices for work in this mode, it's easy for boards to become bystanders to it, even though it is central to governance (Chait, Ryan, and Taylor 9). Lastly, reflections of secular and sacred knowledge of leadership theories appear throughout the project in an effort to transform current and future leaders for organizational development.


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