Grassroots leadership in task-oriented groups: Learning from successful leaders

Amnon Boehm, Lee Staples

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper identifies patterns of successful grassroots leadership in task-oriented groups, drawing from the experiences of extraordinary leaders in nonprofit community organizations. Using qualitative research, the authors surveyed twenty-three leaders, considered to have extraordinary abilities by members of the governance boards and staffs of fifteen different community organizations in a northeastern U.S. state. The study examined the respondents' characteristics, attitudes, learning experiences, behavior, and interactive processes with other task group members. Data from the findings is organized along three basic lines of inquiry-paths to becoming a leader, leadership development processes, and action/interaction patterns. A number of common preferable factors for successful leadership are identified, including development of a joint vision, reciprocal relations with followers, and an emphasis on task group processes. The findings also demonstrate the need to integrate informal, experiential learning processes with formal institutional programs for leadership development.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)77-96
Number of pages20
JournalSocial Work with Groups
Issue number2
StatePublished - 10 Jan 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Grassroots leadership
  • Interactive processes
  • Leadership development
  • Nonprofit community organizations
  • Reciprocal relations
  • Task-oriented groups

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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