Date of Award

Winter 12-2-2019

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Organizational Leadership

First Advisor

Len Hightower, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Patricia Clark-White, Ed.D.

Third Advisor

Derek Vergara, Ed.D.


Purpose: Although a considerable amount of literature exists regarding leadership and trust, little research focuses on Philippine American nonprofit organizations and their leadership. The purpose of this phenomenological study was to explore how Philippine American nonprofit leaders build trust with staff and volunteers using the five domains of competency, consistency, concern, candor, and connection.

Methodology: This phenomenological qualitative study collected data via semi-structured interviews, participant observations, and review of artifacts. The study sample was comprised of 10 Philippine American nonprofit leaders from Southern California. Weisman’s Trust Model served at the theoretical framework of the study and guided data collection and analysis. Participant interviews were recorded, transcribed, reviewed, and coded.

Findings: An analysis of the data resulted in the identification of 23 themes referenced 397 times, but unequally distributed across the five domains. Further analysis of the data yielded 12 key findings on how Philippine American nonprofit leaders build trust with their staff and volunteers.

Conclusions: Based on the literature and findings of this study, it was concluded that the five domains are essential to building trust. Philippine American nonprofit leaders build trust with their staff and volunteers by engaging in the following strategies: (a) treat others with respect, provide opportunities for development, promote inclusion, and show interest in the personal lives of others; (b) demonstrate leadership abilities and foster a collaborative environment; (c) build and maintain personal relationships and participate in shared decision-making; (d) demonstrate vulnerability, invite feedback, and be open and straight forward; and (e) have set processes and procedures for the organization and ensure mutual understanding between members.

Recommendations: Further research on how Philippine American nonprofit leaders build trust should be conducted with a larger sample size and broader geographic range. Additionally, it is recommended to replicate this study from the perspective of how the staff and volunteers of Philippine American nonprofit organizations build trust with their leaders and compare the differences and similarities in the strategies.