Graduate School of Business


Doctor of Business Administration (DBA)


Jimmy Duncan


executive leadership, succession planning, selection, faith-based organization




The predicted shortage in the number of qualified professionals available to fill vacant executive leadership positions is a significant concern for the non-profit sector. This qualitative multiple-case study explored the general problem of the potential lack of succession planning, resulting in the inability to identify future leaders within Ohio’s faith-based organizations. Specifically, this study concentrated on the selection process of candidates for executive leadership positions, and the succession planning process that contributed to a successful or failure to implement. In a purposeful sample, eighteen (18) senior leaders located in the eastern and western regions of Ohio, were selected for this study. As part of the conceptual framework, Hershey and Blanchard’s (1993) situational leadership theory were used to understand the group facilitator’s leadership style during succession planning activities. Data was collected and analyzed from semi-structured interviews, documents, and archival records. Findings are discussed from the perspective of senior leaders, which included current and former volunteers, and employees that previously participated in succession planning activities to appoint a new leader at Ohio’s faith-based organizations. Five themes emerged from the study and highlighted the strategies chosen by senior leaders as they prepared for succession planning activities. Furthermore, the results of this study and the future recommendations provided, contributed to the body of knowledge, and expanded the topic of succession planning for executive leadership positions in the non-profit sector.

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