Leadership Behavior, Organizational Trust, and Organizational Commitment Among Volunteers in Taiwanese Non-Profit Foundations

Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Richard L. Henderson


Judith E. Beauford


Dorothy Ettling


Absael Antelo


The purpose of the study is to explore volunteers’ perception of the relationship among executive director’s leadership behaviors and volunteers’ sense of trust in, and commitment to an organization, in Taiwanese nonprofit foundations. The success of any Taiwanese nonprofit foundations is dependent upon the collection of individuals, including leaders and volunteers, and the amount of effort each individual puts into it. Volunteers consist of the largest portion of the human resources for most foundations. Beliefs about the management of these valuable human resources vary from organization to organization, from leader to leader. Nonprofit leaders frequently espouse their own philosophies and exercise vastly different behaviors. Understanding the relationship between leadership behavior and the performance of volunteers is critical to the management of these organizations. A mixed methodology—concurrent nested strategy—was utilized to achieve the purpose of the study. In the quantitative phase, three survey instruments—Leadership Practices Inventory (LPI), Organizational Trust Inventory (OTI), and Organizational Commitment Questionnaire (OCQ)— were distributed to 520 volunteers randomly selected from 20 randomly selected nonprofit foundations in Taiwan. Of 439 questionnaires returned 417 were valid. Simultaneously, in the qualitative phase, the purposeful sampling was adopted in choosing 5 nonprofit executive directors and 5 volunteers from those foundations who might reveal the relationship among leadership behaviors, organizational trust, and organizational commitment. Quantitative data were aggregated and analyzed by using Pearson product-moment correlation, partial correlation, multiple regression, multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA), one-way ANOVA, and paired-samples t-test. Qualitative data were collected from in-depth personal, face-to-face interviews with audio-taped records through using interview protocols. Those were utilized to gather information through the interviewees’ own words, true voices and perspectives on the focus and open-ended questions. As a result, the study provided evidence of support for the belief that executive directors indeed have an impact, through leadership behaviors, on levels of trust in, and commitment to, the foundation among volunteers. Additionally, the quantitative result has not identified the other factors besides leadership behaviors that also influence follower outcomes of organizational trust and commitment in nonprofit workplace; however, the qualitative findings have: consideration of intrinsic incentives comprising positive volunteering experiences and benefits provided by the organization. Based upon the qualitative findings, a model of balance of components of the relationship between leadership behaviors and volunteers’ perceived organizational trust and commitment was developed in the study.

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