Date of Award

Summer 8-18-2018

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Organizational Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Jeffrey Lee

Second Advisor

Dr. Jonathan Greenberg

Third Advisor

Dr. Linda Williams


The purpose of this phenomenological study was to identify and describe the lived experiences of how a subsequent human social services nonprofit leader navigates, negotiates, and/or modifies the original vision/mission of the founding leader. Subsequent leaders for this study included leaders in place after the founding leader moved on. In the world of nonprofit organizations, leadership changes are as common as in the for-profit field but hold additional challenges regarding what drives the organization. For profit businesses bottom line is profit, and nonprofit organizations have a bottom line of changed lives, two very different reasons for being in business. The transition of leadership within nonprofit organizations can cause the organization to follow new paths and journey into areas not present in the original founding vision/mission, ending in chaos and sometimes even terminating the organization. The study premise of vision/mission being critical to the foundation of the nonprofit, went further to look at what happens during leadership transition and how the new leadership might impact the original vision/mission. The number of nonprofits in California is upwards of 165,000. This study was limited to a four-county area in Northern California and was based on human social service nonprofit organizations either participating in their local HUD (Housing and Urban Development) required Continuum of Care (CoC), or similar causes, ranging from small to medium in size.

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