Exploring the competencies needed by senior managers who transition into a not-for-profit leadership role from another sector

Zindler, Randall (2020) Exploring the competencies needed by senior managers who transition into a not-for-profit leadership role from another sector. PhD thesis, UNSPECIFIED.

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Purpose: Every country in the world has a population that is vulnerable and may endure suffering. The not-for-profit sector plays a role in addressing these issues, in the face of increased complexity, and often with limited resources. There is a high demand for leaders who can successfully address these challenges and, as such, at times, leaders from other sectors consider a transition to the not-for-profit sector. Eventually, boards and others involved in the recruitment and selection process must probe a candidate, who is new to the sector, to predict if they would fit in well with the not-for-profit organisation and add value as they pursue the organisational mission. This research aims to identify which competencies are determinant for senior managers who transition from a commercial role to a not-for-profit leadership role. Design: The research is grounded on the body of literature on competencies and socialisation, in addition to the literature on provisional selves, leadership transition and succession planning, which provide the theoretical anchors. Grounded theory is the methodology, which required semi-structured interviews with those who have made such career transitions. The scope of the research, concerning the organisation of both departure and being joined; size in terms of employees or revenues; the specific sector of the new organisation; geography; and gender is broad, which will allow for further research on specific themes. Findings: The results demonstrate that leaders who show adaptability and humility, can navigate well in situations of ambiguity, and seek to make things better while relating well to a variety of people along the way will be well-grounded to succeed in such a transition. Limitations and Implications: The profiles of the individual sources and the organisations they transitioned from is broad. This approach allowed for comprehensive exploratory research and enabled further research to focus more narrowly on issues such as geography and culture, gender, age, legal form or specific sub-sectors. Practical Implications: The results provide a better understanding of the leadership transition event, enabling hiring boards, as well as potential candidates who are considering such a move, to make the critical decision about whether or not to move with insight and perspective. Originality: The findings of this thesis provide insight to individual leaders on the event of a career transition into the not-for-profit sector. Whilst building on existing research,this thesis provides new knowledge on the transition event.

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Thesis (PhD)
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30 Nov 2022 10:45
Last Modified:
30 Nov 2022 10:45