• Summary
  • Contents
  • Subject index

Grassroots Associations is a comprehensive review and critique of empirical and theoretical research on grassroots, nonprofit and voluntary organizations. David Horton Smith examines in depth the distinctive nature and characteristics of a previously under-studied area which includes such groups as Alchoholics Anonymous, community-environmental action committees and church Bible study groups. He addresses: group formation, structure, process, leadership, and life cycle change; effectiveness; the influence such associations have on society; the future of grassroots associations, which he sees as integral to a postmodern society moving towards participatory democracy, self-determinism and individual choice.

Leaders and Environments
Leaders and environments

This chapter deals with leadership in grassroots associations (GAs). Leaders in a GA are seen as one or more individuals who exercise significant control over the principal activities of the GA as a group. There also is a section in the chapter that looks outward from the GA at its environment, asking how the GA relates to that environment.


Leadership probably is more important in GAs than in paid-staff voluntary groups (VGs) because there is less guidance and “social momentum” of other types to keep GAs going (Adler, 1981; Anderson, 1964; Bailey, 1974; Fletcher, 1985; Hamilton, 1980; Lamb, 1975; Landsberger, 1972b). There is a tendency to speak of “leadership” in GAs versus “management” in paid-staff VGs. Leaders of the latter type ...

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