Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Human Resource Education and Workforce Development

Document Type



During the current tough economic times volunteers are playing an increasingly important role in making human services widely available and in building collaborative community partnerships. Volunteers are most likely to be productive, to be satisfied with their experience, and to sustain their volunteer service when the opportunities provided to them are aligned with their motives for volunteering, which may include building the kinds of knowledge, skills, and interpersonal awareness that are the cornerstones of leadership. Organizations that purposefully recognize, support, and develop their volunteers’ leadership potential generate positive outcomes not only for themselves and their volunteers, but also for the clients they serve, and for whole communities. Across the country more than 240 affiliates of the HandsOn Network (HON), the nation’s largest volunteer network, serve as clearinghouses for individuals seeking both long-term and short-term (episodic) volunteer opportunities, and for nonprofit agencies seeking volunteer services. In its commitment to civic engagement and innovative problem solving, HON is investigating opportunities and technologies for volunteer and community empowerment, and is actively engaged in the inquiry as to how best to serve volunteers who want to cultivate their leadership at every level. In partnership with HON, and using the Theory of Planned Behavior (Ajzen, 1991), an elicitation study was conducted as formative research to determine the most salient factors that predict volunteers’ intentions to develop their leadership via their attitudes toward leadership development, subjective norms regarding leadership development, and perceived behavioral control of leadership development. Themes derived from the elicitation study provided the content framework to create a survey tool, which was then administered in a pilot study to HON volunteers across the country. Content analysis of pilot study responses produced a solution in which items reflecting the respective theoretical constructs of the Theory of Planned Behavior separated with near-exact fit in a six-factor solution. This research resulted in the production of an instrument, the Volunteer Leadership Development Questionnaire (VLDQ), which can identify the factors influencing intentions of HON volunteers to express and develop their leadership. Recommendations are made for ongoing validation and refinement of the instrument.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Burnett, Michael