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Leadership in a voluntary association : an exploratory study of leadership in the British Columbia Parent-Teacher Federation. Cushing, Honor Emily

Abstract

The voluntary association is a characteristic manifestation of social life in North America, and has always been regarded as a force for the preservation of democracy. The leadership of the voluntary association appears to be a crucial element in the survival of this form of organization, yet previous studies suggest that the voluntary association may no longer have the same significance for contemporary society as it did in the early history of the continent. This study is an exploration of the leadership of one voluntary organization in British Columbia, the British Columbia Parent-Teacher Federation. These leaders were asked how they perceived the goals and purposes of the organization, to which they give their time and energy. Thirteen members of the Board of Directors were interviewed to obtain information concerning the extent of their participation; why they joined the organization; their family constellations; where they live; and their perception of the contributions they make to the organization. Interviews were arranged with members of the Board selected on an arbitrary basis, with the permission and the cooperation of the President and the Board of Directors. The information that was obtained was used as the background material of the study. The limitations of the case study method are noted and the reader cautioned to examine the data critically. The findings of this study support the conclusions of other empirical investigations: with changes in other sectors of society and increased specialization of function, the role of the voluntary association in contemporary life appears to be blurred and requiring examination. Some of the possible reasons for these developments are outlined, and the relationship of the leaders to the voluntary association is explored. Finally the thesis suggests some questions for consideration and indicates some areas which might be investigated in future studies.

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