One small difference after another : stories of grassroots leaders

Creyton, Mark & Ehrich, Lisa C. (2009) One small difference after another : stories of grassroots leaders. Australian Journal on Volunteering, 14, pp. 1-11.

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Abstract

Grassroots groups – autonomous, not-for-profit groups made up of volunteers – and grassroots initiatives play an invaluable, yet often invisible, role in our communities. The informal processes and collective efforts of grassroots associations, social movements, self-help groups and local action collectives are central to civil society and community building. Grassroots leaders are critical to such initiatives, yet little is known about their influences, motivations, successes and challenges. This study aims to address this dearth in the research literature by noting the experiences of a sample of grassroots community leaders to help gain a greater knowledge about community leadership in action. In-depth semi-structured interviews were held with nine grassroots leaders from a broad cross-section of sectors of interest. The criteria for selection were that these leaders were not in a formal non-profit organisation, were not paid for their work yet were leading grassroots groups or initiatives involved in active community building, campaigning or self-help. The paper reflects on findings in regard to the formative experiences that impacted upon the community leaders’ direction in life, their beliefs and ideas about what it means to be a leader, the strategies they use to lead and challenges they continue to face, and the role of learning and support in maintaining and developing their roles. Finally, the key themes relating to grassroots leadership and how these leaders enhance their own effectiveness and resilience are explored.

Impact and interest:

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ID Code: 29423
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: grassroots initiatives, volunteers, grassroots leaders, non-profit organisations
ISSN: 1325-8362
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Office of Education Research
Current > Schools > School of Cultural & Professional Learning
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Education
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2009 Volunteering Australia
Deposited On: 23 Dec 2009 00:52
Last Modified: 24 Nov 2016 03:02

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