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Issue: Vol. 11, Spring 2011

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Values Satisfaction and Participation in a Community Leadership Program: A Case Study

By Ilene Ringler, Ilene Ringler Associates, Kaplan University

Academic Citation: Ilene Ringler, “Values Satisfaction and Participation in a Community Leadership Program: A Case Study,” Kravis Leadership Institute, Leadership Review, Vol. 11. Spring 2011, pp. 171-189.

About the Authors: Dr. Ilene Ringler, Principal and founder of Ilene Ringler Associates, has over thirty years of experience in the field of business and individual growth. She has supported many leading edge companies such as Textron, Bose, Oracle, Fidelity Investments, International Rectifier, Smartbridge, Albertsons, The 99 Dollar Furniture Store and All Season Wholesale Growers in meeting their growth goals. Ilene has served on the Board of Directors for the NAWBO Mentoring Program, the Arizona Entrepreneurs, and the Women’s Enterprise Foundation (WEF). She is also a guest lecturer in the Maricopa County Small Business Development Center (SBDC) NxLeveL business development program, is a Business Analyst for the organization, and is an advisor to the AAAME (APS Academy for the Advancement of Small, Minority and Women Owned Enterprises) program. Dr. Ilene is personally devoted to continuous learning, using her broad based industry expertise and extensive experience to enable organizations to meet their future growth goals. She also devotes time to growing leaders by teaching MBA students in the Kaplan MBA program and Keller Graduate School of Management. Ilene has also served as a mentor in the Women’s Unlimited Leadership program and the Phoenix Chapter of NAWBO (National Association of Women Business Owners).

Keywords: Leadership, values, strategic planning, community leadership programs, leadership training and development

Abstract

Citizen involvement in leadership efforts is decreasing and the need to identify, train, and transform leaders who can fulfill leadership roles in the community is increasing. The case study supported by a mixed method data gathering process, analyzed the relationship of personal values satisfaction and participation in the Valley Leadership program. Quantitative data was gathered through completion of the Life Values Inventory (LVI). Qualitative data was gathered through focus groups and artifacts review. Community leadership development programs should create a set of foundational core values and integrate them into all program elements. Program participants should create an individual personal values profile to use as a planning tool for increased satisfaction with program activities and build leadership capability.

Introduction

The challenges facing present-day leaders both in the corporate and community arenas are significantly more complex than those seen during the early 1900s when Taylor, Fayol, and Weber conducted their pioneering organizational effectiveness work during the beginning of the industrial age. Mass production was taking the place of small shops run by family members and the need for skilled management was outstripping the available supply (Saslow, 2005; Spalding, 2003). The growth of a global economy has continued, presenting increasingly complex challenges to leaders of all organizations. Friedman and Lambert (2002) cited the effect of the internet and its impact on business growth and stated, “It is quite evident that the World Wide Web and the rise of the global economy will change the way business is conducted and will affect many firms” (¶ 1). The results of changes brought about by the industrial revolution now reveals itself in the contemporary business model which is global and multinational, employees come with differing cultural perspectives on work and family life balance, and cycle time for new product development and launch has decreased. Continuous change brought about by the global economy and other socioeconomic factors were acknowledged by Vaill (1996, 1997), who introduced the idea of permanent white water, a metaphor indicating the world is on a rapid rollercoaster of continuous change.

The rapid changes in business and socioeconomic changes in the current business climate underscored the need to continue the study of leadership and how it contributed to organizational and community growth. The emergence and rapid growth of the Internet age and global economy have changed the lives and work of many American communities. Kretzmann and McKnight (1993) offered urban centers have lost industrial jobs, creating an employment vacuum for individuals who have relied on this steady employment for existence. Changes in the socioeconomic structure of today’s communities indicated the need for increased leadership (Armstrong Valdes, 2001; Putnam, 2002; Saslow, 2005; Spalding, 2003). Citizen involvement in leadership efforts is decreasing and the need to identify, train, and transform leaders who can fulfill leadership roles in the community is increasing (Armstrong Valdes, 2001; Azzam & Riggio, 2003; Chase, 2001; Saslow, 2005; Williams, 2001). Community leadership programs have arisen as one venue to reduce the gap between a community’s needs and the supply of leaders committed to supporting future community involvement (Armstrong Valdes, 2001; Azzam & Riggio, 2003; Hiyane-Brown, 2003; Pigg, 2001; Spalding, 2003). Since the inception of the first documented program in Philadelphia in 1959 (Moore, 1998), increasing numbers of communities are creating and supporting these programs, with over 1000 in the United States and additional programs in Great Britain, Canada and Australia (Galloway, 1997). Young (2002) summarized the case for supporting community leadership growth by concluding in today’s changing climate, the leadership programs are more important than in any time in history to help communities integrate new residents, solve increasingly complex challenges, and promote diversity.

Participants choose to enter these programs for many reasons. The desire to satisfy personal values may be a deciding factor in this choice. Researchers (Almeida & Pinto, 2003; Argandona, 2003; Brown & Crace, 1996, 1999, 2002; Connor & Becker, 2003; McLelland, 2000; Mosconi & Emmett, 2003) believed people of all ages use values as a basis for both personal and professional life choices and support the viewpoint personal values do have an important role in determining actions and goal setting. Schwartz and Bilsky (1987) stated a perfunctory research of values yielded a large number of definitions, but posited there are common features, “According to the literature, values are (a) concepts or beliefs, (b) about desirable end states or behaviors, (c) that transcend specific situations, (d) guide selection or evaluation of behavior and events, and (e) are ordered by relative importance” (p. 551), a position supported by other researchers (Aliotta, 2002; Brown & Crace, 1996, 1999, 2002; Connor & Becker, 2003; Kouzes & Posner, 2002; Rokeach, 1968-1969). The study incorporated this definition into the data gathering, analysis, and conclusions.

Currently there is little research on why people join and maintain membership in community leadership programs from a personal values satisfaction perspective. To understand the relationship between values satisfaction and an individual’s participation in a community leadership program a case study was conducted with the Valley Leadership program based in Phoenix, Arizona. For this study, the need to focus on one community leadership program was based on the premise that while similar in vision, community leadership programs have similarities and differences in content and implementation dictated by location, demographic composition, desired outcomes, participants, and how the program is classified. The regional and individual program differences including program curriculum design, operation, and local population needs make multi-program studies difficult (Azzam & Riggio, 2003; Fredericks, 1998). The results of this limitation created a methodology and process that can enhance the ability of other community leadership programs to produce a customized set of core values for use in strategic planning and program improvement.

The mixed methods data gathering approach was employed to gain an understanding of how the need to satisfy personal values is related to participation in a community leadership program. Understanding how personal values can affect life choices and satisfaction with those choices is supported by Crace (2006) who stated, “Understanding our values is one of the most important factors in determining satisfaction in our work, relationships, and leisure activities” (¶ 1). The results of the study provided answers to the research questions:

  1. What are the values the leadership program was developed to satisfy?
  2. What are the values profiles of the participants?
  3. Which program elements satisfied the participants values and why?
    1. Results

      The first research question,what are the values the leadership program was developed to satisfy?, was completed by analyzing the results of the pilot study made up of the Valley Leadership program Board of Directors, subgroup 1. The actual study gathered values data and program satisfaction information from the 2006-2007 program year participants, subgroup 2. Comparing these data sets showed that there were discrepancies in the primary values between the two groups, possibly contributing to the dissatisfaction of subgroup 2. The long-range implication of the gap may be the reduction of applicants for the program, which will increase the gap between the leaders needed and those ready to lead, the core problem identified for this study. During the member-checking processes, the Board of Directors agreed that the values the program was developed to satisfy included Responsibility, Achievement, Concern for Others, Health and Activity, Independence, and Scientific Understanding (Objective Analysis).

      These foundational core values were examined for similarities and differences with the primary values trend profile obtained through the actual study, in fulfillment of the second research question, what are the values profiles of the participants? The trend in primary values profiles of the participants were; Responsibility, Concern for Others, Creativity, Achievement, and Spirituality. Several important results were obtained from this analysis. Primary values for both groups included Achievement, Concern for Others, and Responsibility. Achievement was present in all artifacts reviewed and Concern for Others was present in all artifacts within the span of control of the Valley Leadership staff. Responsibility was present in all artifacts except program staff member articles.

      There were several areas of discrepancy for primary values between subgroup 1 and subgroup 2. Subgroup 1 selected Health and Activity, Independence, and Scientific Understanding (Objective Analysis) in the remainder slots for their primary values. Subgroup 2 selected Creativity and Spirituality in the remainder slots for their primary values. These differences may have contributed to the areas of dissatisfaction for the subgroup 2 as seen in the research results of the third research question,which program elements satisfied the participants values and why? One recurring theme of dissatisfaction for subgroup 2 in the Creativity value dealt with a perceived lack of an overarching strategy between program elements, potentially reducing the effectiveness of each element. Another theme of dissatisfaction from the source data for the participant group in the Creativity value were the program days as a dissatisfying and non-fulfilling experience.

      The data did show an area of strong alignment in one secondary value for both groups. Belonging was a secondary value for both groups, and the source data indicated the highest number of satisfy citations of all values for both groups. Belonging was seen in all artifacts reviewed. There are several possible explanations for this discrepancy between quantitative and qualitative importance. The definition of Belonging may be one key. “It is important to be accepted by others and to feel included. Social recognition and inclusion in work and social groups is important” (Crace & Brown, 1993, 1996, 2002, p. 2). Reviewing the source data for the primary values indicated that many satisfactory experiences centered on activities that included group or individual belonging; meeting with others, tours, group projects. There were many references in the source data to building long-term relationships and meeting with others outside of the normal daily work or family life sphere, which also supports the definition cited above. Therefore, the value of Belonging in this case may be inherent in achieving satisfaction with the primary values. To build a long term relationship with others implies feeling included, a key piece of the definition stated above. Dissatisfying experiences focused on the lack of time to build these relationships.

      A second explanation may lie in the relationship between primary, those values ranked in the first five places, and secondary or partially expressed values, ranked in sixth through 14th place (Crace, 2006). The scoring system in the LVI contains both a rating and a ranking component. In the rating component, individuals used a Likert style scale in rating 42 beliefs to determine how much any belief guides behavior. These results are automatically scored, and respondents are then requested to rank their results to produce a prioritized list of values. The Belonging value may have scored highly in the rating step, but due to the ranking constraints, the Belonging value may have been relegated to the secondary values.

      1. How can community leadership programs incorporate a study of values into programs to more effectively prepare people to assume self or formal leadership roles?

      Method

      This single case study was supported by a mixed methods data gathering methodology, using both qualitative and quantitative data gathering. The case study methodology satisfied the one program element foundational to this study. Researchers agreed the case study method can help researchers study a unique individual or organizational situation in a detailed and intense manner, and may produce results which are a source of new thoughts and hypotheses (Cooper & Schindler, 2002; Neuman, 2003; Salkind, 2003; Yin, 1989a). The mixed methods data gathering process was used to gather both quantitative and qualitative data. “The goal of mixed methods research is not to replace either of these approaches but rather to draw from the strengths and minimize the weaknesses of both in single research studies and across studies” (Johnson & Onwuegbuzie, 2004, p. 14). Data gathering processes produced both quantitative and qualitative results using surveys. Participants completed the LVI questionnaire, a validated and tested instrument to complete the quantitative data gathering process, and focus groups were conducted as a surveying methodology to gather qualitative data.

      The mixed methods data collection methodology was used to collect both numerical and textual data. Three primary sources of data collected for analysis were: Valley Leadership program board of director members, subgroup 1, Valley Leadership program participants from the 2006-2007 program year, subgroup 2, and the artifacts of program materials. The artifacts of program materials included publicity, and general background information of the association.

      Quantitative data collection method

      The quantitative data gathering was conducted through a validated, web-enabled, self-administered survey instrument, the Life Values Inventory (LVI). “The values measured by the LVI are Achievement, Belonging, Concern for the Environment, Concern for Others, Creativity, Financial Prosperity, Health and Activity, Humility, Independence, Loyalty to Family or Group, Privacy, Responsibility, Scientific Understanding, and Spirituality” (Crace & Brown, 2002, p. 4). The scoring system in the LVI contains both a rating and a ranking component. In the rating component, individuals used a Likert style scale in rating 42 beliefs to determine how much any belief guides behavior. These results are automatically scored, and respondents are then requested to rank their results to produce a prioritized list of values. The qualitative data gathering was completed through the use of focus groups and the review of artifacts (Leedy, 1997).

      The web link to the Life Values Inventory (LVI), a web-enabled, self-administered survey (Crace, 2006) was sent to consenting participants simultaneously with completion instructions using the email addresses supplied by the Valley Leadership program administrative staff. The selection of the LVI as the quantitative instrument reduces threats to internal validity due to the high degree of rigor applied to construct validity testing. Salkind stated, “Construct validity is the extent to which the results of a test are related to an underlying psychological construct. It links the practical components of a test score to some underlying theory or model of behavior” (2003, p. 117). The construct validity of the LVI was established by the comparison of sample population results to the Rokeach Values Survey (Rokeach, 1973) and the Vocational Preference Inventory, Form B (Holland, 1985) using Pearson Moment correlations. The adult sample was asked to complete an additional instrument, the Crown- Marlowe Social Desirability Scale (Crown & Marlow, 1960) (Brown & Crace, 2002). The adult sample responses, (N=326), were examined using the Kaiser-Meyer-Olin Measure of Sampling Adequacy, “yielding a coefficient of .784, deemed middling (Kaiser, 1974)” (Brown & Crace, 2002, p. 11). The student sample responses, (N=316), were also examined using the Kaiser-Meyer-Olin Measure of Sampling Adequacy, “which yielded a coefficient of .82343, deemed meritorious (Kaiser, 1974)” (Brown & Crace, 2002, p. 11). Convergent validity was assessed by correlating LVI scale scores with items from the Rokeach Values Survey (Rokeach, 1973) using Pearson Moment correlations. Crace and Brown selected the Rokeach Values Survey because it traditionally had been the most broadly used and respected instrument regarding values measurement (Brown & Crace, 2002, p. 11). Thirty predictions were made regarding correlations between the RVS and LVI with 27 of the adult and 24 of the student predictions significant ad in the expected direction (Brown & Crace, 2002). The adult sample population was the basis for discriminant validity testing by correlating LVI scale scores with the Crown- Marlowe Social Desirability Scale. The prediction was that impact would be minimal and result in low correlations (Brown & Crace, 2002). Results showed that the “impact of the social desirability response set is minimal, accounting for a small amount of the variance in the LVI scores” (Brown & Crace, 2002, p. 12).

      Qualitative data collection method

      The qualitative data was gathered primarily though the use of focus groups. Multiple focus groups were conducted with each subgroup. This qualitative data gathering was based upon the need to gain additional information on the respondent’s thoughts when answering the self-administered quantitative survey. Using the data collected from individual LVI responses, the focus group facilitator followed a general process, which included; LVI results focusing on values trends, a discussion of program elements that have satisfied or not satisfied values, and presentation of the next steps in the process. Additional qualitative data was gathered through the examination of program relevant text-based materials (Leedy, 1997). Artifact collections were used as a secondary source of collecting qualitative data. Materials included publicity, and general background information derived from the program website. The vision and mission statements, recruitment information and processes, and other relevant documentation were retrieved as needed to support interview findings.

      Data Analysis Process

      Quantitative data analysis was conducted when all surveys from those participants who agreed to participate were completed. The LVI produces an ordinal result at the individual participant level. The web-enabled LVI questionnaire produced trend data for each subgroup. The trend report data gained from analysis of subgroup 1 prior to focus group completion was compared to those seen from subgroup 2. The qualitative data analysis process was more complex as data from multiple sources was used to satisfy triangulation requirements using nonnumeric formats. For the qualitative data analysis, the HyperRESEARCH ™ 2.8 tool was selected. This product supports analysis from multiple sources including text, audio, video, and pictures. To accomplish the case study’s goal, a coding process was employed to assist in the data analysis. The HyperRESEARCH ™ 2.8 software, an electronic coding tool designed by Research Ware Inc, was used to assist in the following protocol:

      1. Delineate the coding categories
      2. Analyze patterns
      3. Emerge codes to theme
      4. Generate reports to show the frequency of each code

      The trend analysis information was derived from the qualitative data gathering efforts. Data reporting focused on data collected though all focus groups, trends discovered within analysis of written and oral materials, followed by analysis of these individual data points, and finally a gap analysis, describing where points of data differ from each other. The final process provided the information in answer to the first three research questions,

      what are the values the leadership program was developed to satisfy, what are the values profiles of the participants, which program elements satisfied the participants values and why? One recurring theme of dissatisfaction for subgroup 2 in the Creativity value dealt with a perceived lack of an overarching strategy between program elements, potentially reducing the effectiveness of each element. Another theme of dissatisfaction from the source data for the participant group in the Creativity value were the program days as a dissatisfying and non-fulfilling experience.

      The data did show an area of strong alignment in one secondary value for both groups. Belonging was a secondary value for both groups, and the source data indicated the highest number of satisfy citations of all values for both groups. Belonging was seen in all artifacts reviewed. There are several possible explanations for this discrepancy between quantitative and qualitative importance. The definition of Belonging may be one key. “It is important to be accepted by others and to feel included. Social recognition and inclusion in work and social groups is important” (Crace & Brown, 1993, 1996, 2002, p. 2). Reviewing the source data for the primary values indicated that many satisfactory experiences centered on activities that included group or individual belonging; meeting with others, tours, group projects. There were many references in the source data to building long-term relationships and meeting with others outside of the normal daily work or family life sphere, which also supports the definition cited above. Therefore, the value of Belonging in this case may be inherent in achieving satisfaction with the primary values. To build a long term relationship with others implies feeling included, a key piece of the definition stated above. Dissatisfying experiences focused on the lack of time to build these relationships.

      A second explanation may lie in the relationship between primary, those values ranked in the first five places, and secondary or partially expressed values, ranked in sixth through 14th place (Crace, 2006). The scoring system in the LVI contains both a rating and a ranking component. In the rating component, individuals used a Likert style scale in rating 42 beliefs to determine how much any belief guides behavior. These results are automatically scored, and respondents are then requested to rank their results to produce a prioritized list of values. The Belonging value may have scored highly in the rating step, but due to the ranking constraints, the Belonging value may have been relegated to the secondary values.

      Conclusions and Recommendations

      Two conclusions emerged from the study on incorporating values into community leadership programs. The first conclusion is that community leadership development programs should have a clearly defined set of foundational core values, which should be reviewed regularly to ensure that they meet the changing needs of the community and the values profiles of potential program participants. These values should be integrated into the mission, vision, goals and objectives and all other elements of program development, recruitment processes, and publicity to ensure the strongest relationship between the program values and those that are part of the profiles of the participants. Integrating the set of foundational core values into all areas of the organization; mission, vision, recruitment, program development is part of an overall process of strategic alignment. Tosti and Jackson (1994) supported an organizational alignment process as a way to get the organization headed in the same direction, which can result in long term organizational health and improved profits. The data collected from subgroup 1 through the pilot study helped to create a set of foundational core values that could be used by the Valley Leadership Board of Directors for strategic planning and program improvement.

      The second conclusion is that the creation of a personal values profile including the identification of primary and secondary values can provide an individual with a foundation to increase their satisfaction with activities they choose to participate in and build leadership capability. The creation of a values profile can provide individuals with powerful and proactive planning tools to increase their satisfaction with activities in which they choose to participate. The Valley Leadership program requires a substantive time and energy commitment, which includes nine days of classroom activities, tours and book discussions. If participants understand their values and are provided with individual program element information including goals, formats, outcomes, they can specifically plan to ensure their values are satisfied by noting which elements are most important to them and increasing their participation. Hitlin and Piliavin (2004) support the concept of action planning to increase values satisfaction. “Values play an important, if unarticulated, role in action. Values, commonly conceived of as ideal ends within an action situation, need to incorporate the means through which they will be reached” (p. 364).

      Core Values Profile Creation and Integration

      The results of the data analysis support the conclusion the Valley Leadership Board of Directors should create a set of foundational core values and integrate these values into all program elements to ensure the strongest relationship between the program values and those that are part of the profiles of the participants. The Board of Directors functions as the leaders of the Valley Leadership program. Two of their key roles are to craft the program’s strategic direction and provide direction to the curriculum development staff on individual program events, goals, and outcomes. Researchers (Collins, 2001; Kouzes & Posner, 2002; Lencioni, 2002) have found that the leader’s values permeate the organization impacting organizational structures and work processes. If the primary values of the board were not in alignment with the primary values profiles of the participants, the resulting gap may have produced areas of dissatisfaction for program participants.

      Integrating the set of foundational core values into all areas of the organization; mission, vision, recruitment, program development is part of an overall process of strategic alignment. Tosti and Jackson (1994) supported an organizational alignment process as a way to get the organization headed in the same direction, which can result in long term organizational health and improved profits. The data collected from subgroup 1 through the pilot study helped to create a set of foundational core values that could be used by the Valley Leadership Board of Directors for strategic planning and program improvement. The analysis of the data for all data elements showed a strong relationship between the primary values and many of the artifacts examined. These core primary values, Responsibility, Achievement, Concern for Others, Health and Activity, Independence, Scientific Understanding (Objective Analysis), can be a part of the overall strategic planning process. Additional examination of the primary values of subgroup 2 as well as secondary values information, including Belonging, must be examined during the planning process to determine which values will become foundational to the Valley Leadership program.

      There are several ways for community leadership programs to create a set of foundational core values, assess the values profiles of program participants, determine areas of similarity and discrepancy, and create action plans for change. One method is to duplicate the process used in this study. Another method could be the completion of a best practices benchmarking study with other community leadership programs or working with community leadership program associations such as The Community Leadership Association (Community Leadership Association, 2006) to determine what work they have competed in this area, select which best practices would apply to their program, and implement these changes. While there are numerous types of community leadership programs, the research confirmed that many have similar components including; missions and goals relating to contributing to the common good, recruitment of a diverse group of participants to attain a cross functional mix of age, gender, race, education and income levels, regular meeting and events, an improvement project and a recommendation that alumni remain involved after program completion to pass along knowledge and support future efforts (Armstrong Young ,1985; Azzam & Riggio, 2003; Chase, 2001; Hiyane-Brown; 2003; Pigg, 2001). The completion of a benchmarking study would provide benefits to each leadership program that participated as well as benefiting the entire community of community leadership programs.

      The Valley Leadership Board of Directors engages in strategic planning efforts to help determine the long-range future of the organization. Completing and incorporating a set of foundational core values using the results of this research into the strategic planning process will provide additional data for the board to use in strategic alignment. Argandona (2003) suggested that the process of discussing and defining values must be repeated regularly or when major internal or external changes take place. Stakeholder involvement in the planning process can include potential leadership program participants and external stakeholders such as community and corporate leaders. Allison and Kaye (2005) stated that involving external stakeholders offers additional perspective on the organization’s strategic decision-making and creates a closer relationship with the organization. This improved working relationship can produce results that impact the problem identified in this study; citizen involvement in leadership efforts is decreasing and the need to identify, train, and transform leaders who can fulfill leadership roles in the community is increasing (Armstrong Valdes, 2001; Chase, 2001; Saslow, 2005), by reducing growth problems faced by community leadership programs. These results are discussed below.

      A review of the current literature revealed many challenges facing community leadership program growth including funding provided by external stakeholders (Azzam and Riggio, 2003). Many non-profits, such as the Valley Leadership program, rely heavily on external support. The Valley Leadership program is underwritten by many local large organizations such as Wells Fargo and American Express (2004, ¶ 1). Involving the external stakeholders in addition to those who already underwrite the Valley Leadership program could lead to increased funding, providing many benefits to the program. One example of a significant benefit would be to use additional funding to create scholarships, increasing the number of potential applicants to the program. The tuition cost is for the Valley Leadership program is $2,750, including all materials and supplies. This high dollar amount may prevent applicants from applying due to personal financial circumstances.

      Integrating a Values Profile Throughout All Valley Leadership Program Elements

      The foundational core values completion will provide many opportunities for the Valley Leadership board and staff to incorporate these values into all program elements and materials. Lencioni stated, “If they’re really going to take hold in your organization, your core values need to be integrated into every employee-related process- hiring methods, performance management systems, criteria for promotion and rewards and even dismissal policies” (2002, p. 8). One model that can be used to achieve the goal of integration is the Baldrige National Quality Program: Criteria for Performance Excellence (U. S. Department of Commerce, 2006). The Baldrige framework provides organizational leadership connectivity to the results of the organization through human resource, process management, metrics, analysis, and knowledge management systems through direct communication and feedback channels (U. S. Department of Commerce, 2006). In 2007, the Baldrige National Quality Program was expanded to include non-profit organizations (U. S. Department of Commerce, 2006). While this recommendation does not include the Valley Leadership board applying for this award, the framework is valuable as a planning tool.

      Once the foundational core values work has been completed, many areas can be revised immediately to reflect the values work. The Valley Leadership website (Valley Leadership, 2004) contains information on mission, history, and programs. Reviewing the website after the foundational core values have been created and revising the information to more accurately reflect the organization’s foundational core values will provide many benefits including educating visitors to the website including program participants, corporate sponsors, and the media on the organizations foundational values. Another area that may be reviewed for additional values based revisions is the Valley Leadership program application and selection process. Applying for program admission shares some common themes with a job application process. Braddy, Meade, and Kroustalis (2006) cited Kristfoff (1996) in asserting the applicants are attracted to work environments that are compatible with their values and additionally stated that a good fit between organizational and personal values can result in increased employee organizational commitment and decreased turnover. Changing the website and the program admission process to reflect foundational core organizational values can enhance the Valley Leadership selection process and satisfaction with program elements.

      The final area to be reviewed for values enhancement is the design of the program itself. While the overwhelming majority of respondents expressed overall satisfaction with their participation in the Valley Leadership experiences, there were recommendations for improvement. These recommendations focused in two areas, a time element and a strategy element. The time element included increased time to build relationships; both long range and deep, and time to assimilate information gained from the other program elements. The strategy element was based on the need for participants to understand how each program element related to others and how they all fit into the overall program strategy.

      Individual Values Profile Creation and Leadership Development

      An important conclusion drawn from this research is that the creation of a values profile can provide individuals with powerful and proactive planning tools to increase their satisfaction with activities in which they choose to participate. The forth research question in this study addressed the question, how can community leadership programs incorporate a study of values into programs to more effectively prepare people to assume self or formal leadership roles? The Valley Leadership program presents opportunities throughout the program year to enhance and enable participants to take on formal leadership roles in the community. Self or personal leadership skills are critical to develop as well. Shiro (1999) asserted that self-leadership is the foundation for all other types of leadership. Researchers (Houghton & Yoho, 2005; Wenger, 1998, 2007) also cite self-leadership as important to individual, team, and organizational performance improvement.

      A recommendation to support increased self or personal leadership development is the implementation of a formal action planning process for participants to use in attaining maximum values satisfaction with each program element. Using the individual values profile created in the retreat, each individual would review the objectives and structure of each program activity, assess what would be needed to gain the greatest satisfaction with their primary, and if applicable secondary values, and create a specific action plan to attain this maximum satisfaction. An example of how proactive planning can increase satisfaction is in the area of program or classroom days. One area which affected satisfaction with the values of Achievement, Belonging, Concern for the Environment, Concern for Others, Creativity, Responsibility, and Scientific Understanding (Objective Analysis) were the program or classroom days. The data showed that many participants felt the scheduled program days were rigid and did not provide interaction time or the ability to be creative. Program days were scheduled in advance and had a structured agenda, allowing for only small changes in format. Knowing that the program constraints exist and cannot be changed, participants have several proactive paths to take to increase satisfaction with the program days. One method might be to provide immediate feedback to Valley Leadership staff on how the program days could be improved, satisfying the values of Achievement, Responsibility and Scientific Understanding (Objective Analysis). Other venues could include arranging time to meet with others after or between the program days to discuss the new ideas and thoughts gained from the program days, satisfying the values of Achievement, Belonging, Concern for Others, Responsibility and Scientific Understanding (Objective Analysis), and creating action plans for integration of these thoughts into personal or community improvement activities, satisfying the values of Achievement, Concern for Others, Creativity, and Responsibility.

      Action planning and implementation to attain increased values satisfaction can aid program participants building leadership skills, regardless of the formality of the leadership role. As individuals take responsibility for creating more personally satisfying program experiences, they build a store of leadership skills they can use in other leadership situations. Galloway’s (1997) research results suggested that the skills gained in community leadership programs can be applied in the workplace for improved performance.

      Areas for Future Research

      The case study focused on how satisfaction with personal values can aid community leadership programs in reducing the gap between community leadership needs and the available supply. The literature review and subsequent data collection and analysis uncovered areas for additional research, which can aid community leadership programs in continuing to meet leadership needs. These areas focus on how models of organizational and team growth can be used to assess community growth and potential leadership changes. How the results from this study can be used for the enhancement of corporate leadership efforts is also addressed. These recommendations will be discussed throughout the rest of this section.

      Organizational Growth and Leadership Skills

      As organizations have become more global, how leadership practices contribute to organizational success has been the subject of many research studies (Bass, 1990a, 1997, 1999; Sorenson, 2002). Greiner (1972, 1998) maintained that organizations move through five distinct phases of predictable growth: Creativity, Delegation, Direction, Coordination, and Collaboration. Greiner’s (1972, 1998) model supported the notion that each phase of growth will require different management practices and processes to move the organization forward. While Greiner’s model focuses on the business and company growth, the principles and processes described by Greiner can be applied to community growth and leadership practices. The logic behind this assertion rests in the fact that rapidly changing conditions seen by many contemporary communities due to globalization, off shoring, the Internet and the retirement of the Baby Boomer generation create communities that have different leadership requirements (Elman, 2005; Kadzik, 2006; Passel, 2006; Putnam, 2002). The opportunity for additional research is in the review of community growth stages in light of the Greiner model. An example would be seen in Greiner’s (1972, 1998) first phase, Growth through Creativity. The first phase describes the beginning of the company, where organizational founders work long hours to ensure future growth. Core leadership values are determined in this phase, ones that will guide the growth of the organization throughout its life span (Jones, 2004). During this growth phase, leadership styles are completely focused in the transformational realm and decision-making is almost completely democratic. A newly formed community may share similar leadership needs and challenges to those experienced by a company in Griener’s Growth through Creativity stage.

      A review of the literature did not produce any studies that were focused on applying the Griener model to community growth and leadership needs. The benefits to completing a research study on community growth using the Greiner model will provide community leadership programs with a model they can use to respond to the changing community demands by reviewing their mission, vision, values, program structure, and recruitment processes to ensure that the leaders graduating from the program can meet the community needs. Community leadership programs in conjunction with community leaders can use the Greiner model to help predict the next wave of community changes and make corresponding leadership style modifications to reduce the negative impact of change.

      Team Structure and Leadership Skills

      Communities can be viewed as a team. Beddoes-Jones supports this premise “People are inherently social by nature and have always collaborated together in teams, tribes or families to achieve what individuals alone cannot” (2004, p. 16). Teams have lifecycles and changing leadership needs. Similar to the growth stages approach identified by Greiner (1972, 1998), Wenger (1998, 2007) stated that communities of practice are governed by life cycles and predictable stages of growth: Potential, where members find each other and discover commonalities, Coalescing, where member explore how they are connected and start creating their community, Active, where members engage in joint activities and start creating shared history and artifacts, Dispersed, where members leave the community but stay in touch with each other, and Memorable, when the community has formally dispersed but still identify with it create a legacy for it by telling stories.

      The opportunity for additional research is in the review of community growth stages in light of the communities of practice model. Similar to the benefits described in the recommendation for the Greiner model, reviewing community growth stages in the stages of community of practice model growth can provide information on specific leadership requirements at each stage. A review of the literature produced no studies that were focused on using the communities of practice model in the context of community growth and leadership requirements. The research will provide community leadership programs with a model they can use to respond to the changing community demands by reviewing their mission, vision, values, program structure, and recruitment processes to prepare the leaders graduating from the program to meet the community needs and add to the body of research on leadership as a whole.

      An additional opportunity for future research lies in reviewing the community leadership program structure and processes in light of the community of practice model. Community leadership programs are a form of community of practice. “These leadership development efforts differ in sponsorship and format, but their goals are the same--to create an active network of informed, concerned citizens to guide the future and growth of their community into the 21st century” (The Community Leadership Association , 2006, ¶ 2). Community leadership programs are one source of identifying, training, and supplying leaders to the community. These programs follow the community of practice model in that participants come into the programs voluntarily to share knowledge and solve problems, specifically within the community. This transfer of knowledge also produces a valuable venue for the development of leaders. Researchers (Azzam & Riggio, 2003; Chase, 2001) indicated that many programs recommend alumni continue to participate in program activities. The data generated from the analysis affirmed that the value Belonging was highly important to both groups in the study. Communities of practice create a knowledge legacy for the organization by encouraging the transfer of tacit knowledge undocumented and difficult to articulate information. Researchers identified this tacit knowledge transfer is regarded as important to organizational success (Lesser & Storck, 2001; Wenger & Synder, 2000; van Winkelen, 2003; Vestal, 2006). The research could be dedicated to a best practices study using the community of practice model to determine how the community leadership programs can maximize the participation of their members during and subsequent to their program participation.

      Study Applicability to Corporate Leadership Development

      Group leadership and the ability to ensure a continuous supply of leaders to meet organizational needs is an important component to continued company growth (Pepe, 2007; Saslow, 2005). The Looming Leadership Void: Identifying, Developing and Retaining Your Top Talent (2007) report stated that there is a growing leadership void due to the large numbers of baby boomers who will be leaving the workforce and the limited number of skilled workers who are entering the workforce. The leadership challenges in present-day organizations are complex, requiring many different types of leaders; those assigned formal leadership roles and those who practice self-leadership (Friedman & Lambert, 2002; Galloway, 1997; Spalding, 2003; Wenger, 1998, 2007; Wenger & Synder, 2000). Leadership development programs are a key component in ensuring employee readiness to meet these challenges. Dolezalek (2005) stated that in 2005 over 51 billion dollars was spent for formal training in corporations. Speizer (2006) maintained that overall spending on training and development is on the rise, seen as a key component in the drive to keep a competitive edge, despite the focus on cost control. A study devoted to ensuring that corporate leadership development programs are effective in producing leaders both formal and those who practice self-leadership may be of value.

      This case study focused on how values satisfaction can aid community leadership programs in reducing the gap between the need for leaders and those available to fulfill those roles. The process that was used to complete the study can be integrated into corporate training programs to increase individual satisfaction with their participation. A review of the current literature produced no studies that were focused on how values satisfaction can increase individual satisfaction with corporate training participation. Corporations can implement the results of this study to improve their return on investment in training dollars and other resources, and potentially increase the alignment that program participants feel with corporate values. McGaw and Fabish (2006) supported this approach “An approach to training more focused on aligning values with organizational practices could remove uncertainties that undermine a manager’s ability to engage in values-based decision making” (p. 4). A final area identified for future study focused on the applicability of this study to corporate leadership development programs. Group leadership and the ability to ensure a continuous supply of leaders to meet organizational needs is an important component to continued company growth (Pepe, 2007; Saslow, 2005). The Looming Leadership Void: Identifying, Developing and Retaining Your Top Talent (2007) report stated that there is a growing leadership void due to the large numbers of baby boomers who will be leaving the workforce and the limited number of skilled workers who are entering the workforce. The leadership challenges in present-day organizations are complex, requiring many different types of leaders; those assigned formal leadership roles and those who practice self-leadership (Friedman & Lambert, 2002; Galloway, 1997; Spalding, 2003; Wenger, 1998, 2007; Wenger & Synder, 2000). Leadership development programs are a key component in ensuring employee readiness to meet these challenges. Corporations can implement the results of this study to improve their return on investment in training dollars and other resources, and potentially increase the alignment that program participants feel with corporate values.

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