Leadership expectations and perceptions of the Florida Farm Bureau Federation


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Leadership expectations and perceptions of the Florida Farm Bureau Federation
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x, 210 leaves : ill. ; 29 cm.
Carter, Hannah S. F
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Agricultural Education and Communication thesis, Ph. D   ( lcsh )
Dissertations, Academic -- Agricultural Education and Communication -- UF   ( lcsh )
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theses   ( marcgt )
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Thesis (Ph. D.)--University of Florida, 2004.
Includes bibliographical references.
Statement of Responsibility:
by Hannah S. F. Carter.
General Note:
General Note:

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University of Florida
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Copyright 2004


Hannah S. F. Carter

Dedicated to Michael Carl Linzmayer,
whose support and encouragement made it possible.


This dissertation would have not become a reality if it were not for an

extraordinary individual, Dr. Rick Rudd, who signed on for a second tour as my advisor.

I feel extremely fortunate to have worked with Dr. Rudd, who made my graduate school

experience truly enjoyable and I will be forever grateful for his mentorship, friendship,

and encouragement. I would like to thank the members of my advisory committee, Drs.

Rick Rudd, Howard Ladewig, Burl Long, Nick Place, and Eugene Trotter for their

contributions and guidance, which made this a study that I am very proud of.

This process was made infinitely better with the presence of a special individual

who provided constant support, encouragement and motivation that has made my life all

the better, even during the dissertation process. Words cannot express my thanks to

Mike, for always telling me that "You can do it," for providing me rewards for my

accomplishments along the way and a reprieve from the process when necessary, and for

having a pizza delivered late one night which meant more to me then he will ever know.

The past year and half, during this whole dissertation process, has been the happiest time

of my life, thank you.

This study would not have become a reality without Pat Cockrell and the Florida

Farm Bureau Federation. I would like to especially thank Mr. Carl Loop, Jr., Scottie

Butler, Rod Hemphill, and Pat Cockrell for their assistance and support throughout this

process. I enjoyed working with these individuals and all members of the Florida Farm

Bureau Federation who participated in this study immensely.

My sister, Alex, deserves my heartfelt thanks for again believing in me and

getting me to Florida in the first place. If I could have anyone in my cheering section, it

would be my sister as she truly makes me believe that I am capable of anything that I set

my mind too and is a source of inspiration to me. I would like to thank the rest of the

members of my family for having full faith that I would get this done and for their

support as I enter this new phase of my life.

I would like to extend my heartfelt thanks to the following individuals: Steve

Johnson, who apparently saw my potential when I could not even fathom it; Amy

Sullivan for her continued friendship and for going through this process together as

misery truly does love company; Bob Watts, for his far away emails full of advice and for

providing me an incentive to get this degree as I look forward to our future leadership

collaborations and our eventual takeover of the world! Janice Barner for going above and

beyond the call of duty in the office, for keeping things going while I was finishing, for

tying up her printer, and for the constant support that she provided me; Maureen, Jack,

and Megan Noll for opening their hearts and home to me and making me feel like I have

family here in Florida. I appreciate them all so much and the feeling of "family" that

they have provided me.

I have many other friends and family members who have seen me through the

good times and the bad and who have added so much to my life. I am thankful for them

and grateful for them being in my life. Though they will not realize it, Rosie, Finnegan,

and Lucky deserve a pat for reminding me each day what unconditional love is and how

fortunate I am to be in their company as they make my life all that much better.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS .......................................................................... iv

ABSTRACT ......................................................................................ix


1 INTRODUCTION ...........................................................................

Background of the Study ...................................................................9
Problem Statement .............................................................................11
Objectives of the Study ........................................................................13
Significance of the Study ............................................................. ...13
Overview of Methodology .....................................................................14
Delimitations of the Study .....................................................................16
Definitions of Key Terms......................................................................16
C onclusions....................................................................................... 17

2 REVIEW OF LITERATURE ............................................ .............. 18

History of Farm Bureau and Agricultural Organizations ................................ 19
Farm Bureau as a Political Interest Group ..................................................26
Grassroots Organizations ......................................................................30
Motivations of Volunteers.....................................................................33
Organizational Leadership .....................................................................45
Social Capital ..............................................................................57
Agricultural Leadership .......................................................................60
Summary....................................................................................... 63

3 METHODS ................................................................................. 66

Research Design ............................................................................67
Research Context ...........................................................................72
Research Participants .........................................................................72
Instruments Used in Data Collection ........................................................ 75
Data Analysis ................................................................................78
Sum m ary ...................................................................................... ...81

4 R E SU LT S ........................................................................................82

Objective 1 ......................................... .........................................83
Objective 2 .................................................................................. 94
Objective 3 .................................................................................103
Objective 4 .................................................................................118
Objective 5 ......................................................................................129
Summary ........................................................ ....................137

5 SUMMARY AND DISCUSSION ........................................................139

Summary of the Study ...................................................................... ... 139
Findings ......................................... .............................................144
Conclusions .......................................................................... ........149
Recommendations ...........................................................................164
Suggestions for Further Research ...........................................................167
Summary ....................................................................................169


A LETTER TO FLORIDA FARM BUREAU OFFICIALS ................................171



D SURVEY FOR COUNTY BOARD MEMBERS ....................................... 174

E SURVEY FOR ACTIVE MEMBERS .....................................................181

F FIRST LETTER TO ACTIVE MEMBERS ................................................188

G SECOND LETTER TO ACTIVE MEMBERS .........................................189

H POSTCARD TO ACTIVE MEMBERS ................................................191

I FOURTH LETTER TO ACTIVE MEMBERS ...........................................192

J FIRST LETTER TO COUNTY BOARD MEMBERS ..................................193

K SECOND LETTER TO COUNTY BOARD MEMBERS ..............................194

L POSTCARD TO COUNTY BOARD MEMBERS ......................................196

M FOURTH LETTER TO COUNTY BOARD MEMBERS ..............................197


REFERENCE LIST .........................................................................198

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH ...................................................................209

Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy



Hannah S. F. Carter

August 2004

Chair: Rick Rudd
Major Department: Agricultural Education and Communication

The purpose of this study was to determine the leadership expectations and

perceptions of the Florida Farm Bureau Federation. This study was conducted in three

parts. The first part was composed of qualitative interviews with seven officials of the

Florida Farm Bureau Federation; questions were developed to determine the expectations

of state officials of county board members and the necessary leadership skills that county

Farm Bureau board members should possess.

The second part of the study was a quantitative instrument, which was developed

from the competencies that came from the first phase of the study. A sample of 280

county Farm Bureau members were given this instrument, which was comprised of four

theme areas: leadership, political process, effective boards, and knowledge of Farm

Bureau, with a total of 66 competencies. Participants were asked to rate how important

each competency was and how proficient it was using a seven point Likert scale. A

demographic information section was also included at the end of this instrument.

The third phase of the study examined why Farm Bureau members may or may

not participate in leadership roles, such as serving on their local county Farm Bureau

board. A quantitative instrument was developed and included three parts: a motivation

sources inventory, a semantic differential scale on volunteering, and a Likert scale, which

measured perceptions of serving on county boards. This instrument also had a

demographic information section at the end. The instrument was sent to a random

sample of 420 active Farm Bureau members.

From the results of the county board member instrument, it was found that the

largest "gap" between importance and proficiency competencies was in the political

process area. Active board members were found to be motivated by internal self-concept

factors and rated the evaluative factors of volunteering the highest. This study found that

the best model for explaining why Farm Bureau members chose to participate in

leadership roles explained 36% of the variance and included the independent variables:

volunteering evaluative factor, volunteering activity factor, number of Farm Bureau

events attended, member of other youth development organizations and participation in

leadership development programs.


Rural communities remain a source of identity for many people. Most of the rural

localities established in the last century remain today, and their residents continue to

invest in them with social value, despite changing economic and social relationships

(Goudy & Ryan, 1982). Hobbs (1995) described the role of agriculture in communities

as follows:

The special role of agriculture in the overall development of U.S. rural and
community life is not simply attributable to production from the land. The actual
form of production (large numbers of small farmers owning and operating their
own land) in much of rural America contributed most to the institutions and
organizations established to support agriculture and rural life. Despite local
differences in organization, most rural people shared dependence on agriculture,
the methods by which it was practiced, and the ideologies that surrounded it. This
homogeneity of farmers' interests and practices helped reinforce the social
foundations of the settlements. (p. 377)

After the Civil War, the growth of industrialization generated new markets for

agricultural production, and the completion of railroads linked agricultural producers

with the external markets. An early consequence of increased market dependency was

the emergence of farmer's movements that provided the foundation for what would

become general farm organizations. Agriculture led the way in breaking from local

institutional constraints and connecting with the institutions of the larger society

(Mooney & Majka, 1995).

During the late 1800s, the Grange and the Farmer's Alliances were two of the

prominent agricultural movements of the time. The Grange was originally established as

a social and educational organization for farmers (National Grange of the Order of

Patrons of Husbandry [NGOPH], 2004). The National Farmers Union (NFU) and the

American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) are two organizations which originated in the

period from 1900 to 1920 and are still active today. These two organizations, along with

the Grange, were general farm organizations because their focus is a broad-based

program of education, improving farm production and lobbying for favorable legislation

to farmers. All three have an organizational structure from the local level to the state and

national organization (NGOPH, 2004; NFU, 2003; AFBF, 2003).

These organizations are important in history because their programs generally

were devoted to improving the well being of farmers and were initially mechanisms for

representing rural interests nationally. They were instrumental in lobbying for rural mail

delivery, rural electrification, and improvement in rural roads and highways, innovations

that benefited both farmers and town residents (Hobbs, 1995).

The AFBF is an organization of over five million members across the United

States (AFBF, 2003). Farm Bureaus can be found in every state in the country. The

Florida Farm Bureau Federation (FFBF) has a membership of 151,645 and county Farm

Bureaus in 61 out of 67 counties (FFBF, 2003). In some instances a "county" Farm

Bureau may actually be made up of two counties and in another instance there are two

county Farm Bureaus in one county because of local geography (P. Cockrell, personal

communication, September 10, 2002).

Farm Bureau is

An independent, non-governmental, voluntary organization governed by and
representing farm and ranch families united for the purpose of

analyzing their problems and formulating action to achieve educational
improvement, economic opportunity and social advancement and, thereby, to
promote the national well being. Farm Bureau is local, county, state, national,
and international in its scope and influence and is non-partisan, non-sectarian and
non-secret in character (AFBF, 2003, para. 2).

The strength of Farm Bureau from the county to the national level begins at the

grassroots with individual members who decide to become active and take on leadership

roles in the organization. In the corridors of power in Washington, D.C., all that seems to

matter are the interests of the powerful agribusiness organizations that speak for large

producers and maybe the environmental groups that have an upper-middle class

constituency. While people in farming communities are small in numbers, they are a

significant force within their districts and states and should not be discounted

(Hassebrook, 1999).

In the past ten years, agriculture and farming have been dramatically restructured

(Purdy, 1999). Hassebrook (1999) states that the family farm is dying and farm

ownership is being concentrated into fewer hands. As the agricultural industry has

become more concentrated, decision-making concerning agriculture has shifted from the

independent producers to those in influential positions at the top of large agribusiness

organizations (Swenson, 1999).

Present trends indicate that the family farm as the nucleus of United States
agriculture is slipping away. There is a movement toward a dual agriculture. At
one extreme are many small farms, most of them part-time. Fifty percent of all
farms, as defined by the U.S. census, market only about three percent of all farm
products. Most of these farmers depend on non-farm income for their living.
They are not easily dislodged from farming (Breimyer & Frederick, 1999,
paragraph 19).

As specialized commodity producers have grown in both the size and proportion

of total agricultural production and as rural economies have diversified, another kind of

"farmer" has become important. These are "part-time" farmers, farmers who are

employed full-time off the farm or have other sources of income larger than farm income

(Coughenour & Wimberley, 1982).

Part-time farmers generally do not identify farming as their principal occupation.

Their occupations and interests are diverse and they often do not share the interests of

commercial agricultural. Commodity producers are more likely to view farming as "a

business," whereas the choice to farm part-time along with working at another occupation

is more often based on a desire to practice agrarian values. The growth of part-time

farms has come at the expense of the middle group of "family farms," which is

diminishing but which has long been regarded as epitomizing the agrarian values of the

United States. Although the number of middle-sized family farms is decreasing, the

impression of those farms as typical continues to prevail, especially in political debate

over farm programs (Hobbs, 1995).

The widespread restructuring of the agricultural industry has also taken a heavy

toll on those rural communities that depend on a healthy farm income to survive and

thrive. A system of economically viable, midsize, owner-operated family farms

contributes more to communities than systems characterized by inequality and large

numbers of farm laborers with below average incomes and little ownership or control of

productive assets (Hassebrook, 1999, p. 55). Historically, locally owned businesses tied

to agriculture often provided a good source of jobs and revenue for rural areas, and

reinvested profits in their community, creating a multiplier effect in which funds would

exchange hands several times. In contrast, multinational agricultural corporations

typically take their profits out of the communities in which they were earned.

Communities suffer not only financially, but also in terms of the quality of education,

health care, and other essential services (Swenson, 1999). Christenson and Robinson

(1989) state that "since the early '80's, communities, especially rural communities have

confronted a social, economic, political, and demographic environment substantively

different from that of the first part of the century" (p. 197).

The agricultural sector of America is changing. In the 2002 Census of

Agriculture, there were 2.13 million farms in the United States, up 0.1% from 2001. The

increase in farms occurred primarily in agricultural operations with $1,000 to $9,999 a

year in sales. The total land in farms in 2002 was 939.5 million acres, which increased

170,000 acres from 2001. A farm is defined as any place from which $1000 or more of

agricultural products were produced and sold during the year (United States Department

of Agriculture [USDA], 2004).

The average farm size in the United States is 441 acres. The largest number of

farms 658,804 are those, which are 50 to 179 acres in size (USDA, 2004). Figure 1-1

represents the distribution of farm size (in acres) in the United States.

5 300000

1 to9 10to 50 to 180to 500to 1000to 2000+
49 179 499 999 1999
Size of Farm (in acres)
Figure 1-1. Distributions of Farms by Size (USDA, 2004)

Family or individual farms make up the largest majority of farms in the United

States. The Economic Research Service (2004) defines family farms as farms, which are

legally controlled, by their operator and the operator's family and includes all farms

except those organized as nonfamily corporations or cooperatives. Over 1.9 million

farms are family farms, which has increased by 250,000 from 1992. The average age of

the principal operator of the farm is 55.3 years, which is two years older than in 1992.

Those who make up the age group of 45 to 54 years old are the largest percentage with

572,664 (USDA, 2004). Figure 1-2 represents the age range of principal operators for

farms in the United States.

'd 600000
> 500000

2 300000-

25 and 25 to 34 35 to 44 45 to 54 55 to 59 60 to 64 65 to 69 70+
Age (in years)

Figure 1-2. Age Range of Principal Operators (USDA, 2004)

The trend of growth of smaller farms is evident in Florida. There were 44,000

farms in Florida in 2002, which was unchanged from 2000 and 2001, but approximately

9,000 more than in 1992. The average farm size is 236 acres, 70 acres less than in 1992.

There are 18,360 farms in Florida which are 10 to 49 acres in size, the second largest

group of farms, 10,267, are those that are one to nine acres in size. There are only 842

farms that are 2,000 acres or more (which produce most of the dollar value of agricultural

production). Family farms are the largest type of farm, with over 37,000 in this

category, which are approximately 10,000 more than in 1992. In Florida, the average age

of the principal operator on a farm is 57, an increase of 1.5 years from 1992. As with the

data for the United States, those in the age group of 45 to 54 are the largest group with

15,465 in the group (USDA, 2004).

The trends in the United States and Florida follow the shift in agriculture, which

has many small "part-time" farms and large agricultural corporations, with a decreasing

number of farms that are found in the middle of these two groups. There is a concern

about the loss of these farms because they represent such a significant portion of all farms

in the United States. In 1998, "91% of all U.S. farms were classified as small (or part-

time) farms and these farms accounted for 68% of all land owned by farmers" (Duffy &

Nanhou, 2002, p. 3). Critics of those concerned about of the loss of small farms argue

that farms are becoming larger to capture the economies of size. They believe that small

farms are not "real farms"; instead they seem as just rural residents or retirement farms

(Duffy & Nanhou, 2002).

One attribute of small farms is that they are almost universally part of a

household. There are an estimated 1.2 million farms in the United States, and of these

farms, 43% are owned by individuals who are classified as rural residents. This

percentage of small farms means they have sales less than $250,000 and they list

something other than farming as their principal income (Duffy & Nanhou, 2002).

Those involved in agriculture in the United States and the State of Florida realize

the need for people to step forth and provide a strong and educated voice to lead

agriculture and bring the needs and issues of the rural community to the forefront at the

community, state, national and international level. A reasonable choice to provide this

voice for rural communities and provide individuals who have the attitude/will/desire to

participate in the leadership process is the AFBF. Farm Bureau reflects the future of

agriculture and rural communities in its membership, the younger members who are

embarking on their careers and looking towards leadership positions in the future (P.

Cockrell, personal communication, September 10, 2002).

But why are those actively involved in agriculture not taking on leadership

responsibilities in the Florida Farm Bureau organization? Do they lack training, skills,

abilities, time or knowledge? Or do they not have a desire to lead? For those that do

accept leadership positions, will they be able to become effective and provide strong

leadership? Florida Farm Bureau realizes the need to provide leadership training for their

members, but what training should be offered? This study will provide data to assist in

answering these questions.

McCaslin (1993) theorized that sustainable rural development has been and will

be realized only through programs, which focus on active involvement of human

resources rather than a passive approach. Florida Farm Bureau is taking this proactive

approach, realizing the need for leadership development and wanting to take the next step

in designing a leadership-training program for its county board members.

An ideal leadership program reflects the diversity of the organization or

community. The shared experiences and networking that take place within the program

create a group of dedicated people who want to make a difference (Hustedde &

Woodward, 1996). Because of the complexity of today's organizations requires the use

of different leadership skills, and many organizations are concerned about the

inadequacies in leadership skills of their members and are involved in the development

and implementation of leadership development programs. These leadership programs

often offer ways to improve and develop the leadership capabilities of individuals

(Sogunro, 1997).

A focus group consisting of county Farm Bureau presidents agreed that training

for county board members should be improved, with one participant going on to state that

it is "the very weakest link" in his county Farm Bureau's program. The group concluded

that county Farm Bureaus would benefit from training by the FFBF staff (Florida Farm

Bureau Public Relations Division [FFBPRD], 1998). Findings from a study of those who

went through a leadership development program found that those who participated felt

more confident about promoting causes, were able to motivate others better, made more

informed decisions on public issues, were better able to work with people and lead a

group, and deal with local leaders better (Rohs & Langone, 1993). If the FFBF staff were

to offer such a leadership-training program, it would be expected that participants would

have similar experiences and results.

Background of the Study

Leadership is not an innate characteristic; it can be developed through formal and

informal training (Bolton, 1991). Leaders are made, not born. Most people have within

them the basic skills and abilities to assume leadership positions, and one strategy for

local capacity building is to promote the emergence of such individuals. An integral

component to the efforts to expand the pool of local leadership is the focus on

augmenting leadership skills. An understanding of the leadership process and an

enhancement of the potential local leader's information base are representative of this

strategy (Christenson & Robinson, 1989).

Developing the full potential of the leadership base in agriculture is extremely

important as this industry is facing new challenges such as environmental responsibility,

food quality, international competition, taxation, and clarifying its own identity (Georgia

Agri-Leaders Forum Foundation [GALFF], 2002). Rapid change is occurring in all

segments of society, agriculture included. To keep pace with this change, informed,

decisive, and communicative spokespersons are needed to represent agriculture (Kansas

Agriculture and Rural Leadership, 2002). New technologies, consolidation,

environmental concerns and food safety are some of the factors that are contributing to

the rapidly changing face of agriculture in the United States (Duffy & Nanhou, 2002).

Foster (2000) states that leadership provides people a way to connect with and

serve their communities, institutions, and organizations. This leadership is necessary as

dramatic changes are affecting the social, economic, natural, and political environments

of people in communities and cultures around the world. These changes present

challenges and opportunities that demand effective leadership at all levels of society to

ensure effective transitions and change.

Organizations can play a significant role by nurturing future leaders. They can

provide the education and training necessary for the advancement of leadership among its

members (Foster, 2000). Pemick (2001) states there are two advantages of building

leadership talent within an organization.

First, the next generation of leaders is groomed by the organization and can instill
the culture and agenda of the organization. Secondly, the organization has greater
control over the supply of leaders with the necessary skills, which makes
implementation of the organization's agenda easier and quicker. (p. 429)

Leadership development resides in the context of a community or organization

and must answer the question, "leadership for what?" (Foster, 2000). This study will

attempt to provide a basis for the "what" for the FFBF. It will provide research that will

allow the state organization to customize a leadership development program for its

membership with the expectations that after members go through this training they will

have the leadership background necessary to become effective leaders not only in the

Farm Bureau organization, but in their homes, businesses, and communities. The effects

of a leadership development program for Farm Bureau members could be far reaching,

but before those effects can be felt, desired leadership practices must be identified,

existing behavior in current leaders must be determined, "gaps" between desired practices

and existing behavior must be identified, current leadership practices must be explained

and the motivators of individuals to take on additional leadership responsibilities must be


FFBF needs a leadership-training program for county board members that range

from having little experience to years of experience. They also need to know what

motivates individuals who belong to the organization to become more involved. The

organization needs to have its members participate more in the programs that are offered

to the county Farm Bureaus and needs to have its members know more about the

organization as a whole (P. Cockrell, personal communication, September 10, 2002).

Problem Statement

American agriculture is at a critical juncture. If current policies and trends are left

in place for another generation, there will be little left of traditional American agriculture

(Hassebrook, 1999). Instead there will be smaller, "hobby farms" and gigantic multi-

national agricultural corporations.

Rural communities that are supported by agriculture were once the foundation of

the United States and still make up large parts of the country, though rural communities

are diminishing due to urbanization and the decrease of agricultural industries that

provide the community base. McCaslin (1993) states, "one of the overriding concerns of

those individuals working towards the stabilization and future growth of rural

communities is the lack of active participation by many of its citizens" (p. 46). The

process of stabilization and revitalization in agriculture begins with effective and active

leadership and participation. As Farm Bureaus can be found in most rural communities

in the country and in Florida, this leadership can be found in the membership of local

county Farm Bureaus.

The problem leading to this research was: To keep a strong voice and presence at

the local, state, and national level, agriculture needs qualified leaders who are willing and

able to work on behalf of agriculture, rural communities and their livelihoods as

agriculture in the United States and the state of Florida is rapidly changing. From this

problem the following question arose: Why isn't Farm Bureau more involved in

"growing" and retaining leaders for grassroots leadership in local county Farm Bureaus.

Three reasons were hypothesized: 1) there is a lack of infusion of young member

involvement, 2) the attitude/will/desire among Farm Bureau members in taking

leadership roles in their local Farm Bureau organizations is unknown, and 3) expectations

of leaders is unknown.

From this problem, question, and potential explanations, the following objectives

were developed to guide this study.

Objectives of the Study

1. Identify selected demographics of county Farm Bureau membership.

2. Identify perceived leadership roles of county Farm Bureau leaders held by the state
Farm Bureau leadership.

3. Measure the extent to which county Farm Bureau members practice the leadership
expectations held by state Farm Bureau leaders and the level of importance they
assign to those skills.

4. Determine leadership attitude, will, and desire of active Florida Farm Bureau

5. Determine reason why local Farm Bureau members chose to participate or not
participate in leadership roles in local county Farm Bureau boards.

Significance of the Study

This study added to the body of knowledge on grassroots organizations, rural

leadership, and effective board membership. This study can serve as a model for other

Farm Bureau organizations, or other organizations interested in developing greater

participation in grassroots leadership. This is a critical time for Farm Bureaus around the

country, as well as other rural and agricultural organizations, as they change to meet new

needs of agriculture and the people who make their livelihood in this industry. The Farm

Bureau of today faces many challenges and it will need to evolve to meet those

challenges. In order for this evolution to occur, strong and capable leaders must emerge

and assume leadership positions and responsibilities.

Overview of Methodology

For this study, a non-experimental research design was employed that utilized

both qualitative and quantitative methodologies. The first part of the study was a

qualitative assessment that used a long interview format. These interviews were

conducted with seven state leaders of the FFBF and were used to identify desired

leadership competencies they believed county Farm Bureau members should have in

order for their county Farm Bureau boards to be effective.

The second part of the study was derived from the content analysis of the

interview responses. A quantitative survey instrument was developed by the researcher

based on the identified competencies. In addition to the 66 competency questions this

survey also included a section with questions to gather selected demographic information.

The survey was given to a random sample of current county Farm Bureau board members

to determine their perceived importance of each competency and their perceived

proficiency of each competency.

In the third part of this study, a researcher designed leadership behavior

instrument was given to a sample of active Florida Farm Bureau members to determine

their motivations and their attitudes towards volunteering to serve on their county Farm

Bureau boards. This survey also included a section to collect selected demographic

information. These instruments were examined by a panel of experts and pilot tested

with a sample population of Farm Bureau county board members and active members to

ensure validity of the instruments and then were analyzed using descriptive statistics,

correlations and multiple regression.

Several approaches were employed in this research design to aid in resolving the

research questions. The long interviews provided qualitative information which

described processes and relationships that served as the basis for the second instrument.

Descriptive statistics were collected with the quantitative data provided in the second and

third instrument. The descriptive statistics do not provide evidence of relationships but

can be beneficial in explaining characteristics of individuals in groups. Correlations

between desired leadership practices and the attitude/will/desire of leaders or those in

leadership positions were also analyzed. These correlations investigate relationships of

variables and how they vary (Black, 1999).

The two instruments given to the two groups of Farm Bureau members were ex

post facto, or "after the fact." This refers to real-life studies that employ some of the

same measurement and statistical tools used in experimental studies. The difference is

the lack of control over independent variables; life experiences replace researcher-

determined treatments that would have been possible in a more structured, experimental

design (Black, 1999). Examples of the independent variables used in this study include

age, length of service to Farm Bureau, participation in other organizations (both

agricultural and general), marital status, family status, gender, residence, and if they work

off the farm.

Results of the survey to county board members and interviews with state Farm

Bureau officials identified "gaps" within desired leadership practices that are expected by

the state leadership in the FFBF and the importance and proficiency that board members

place on these practices. Also identified in the survey given to active members were the

motivations and attitudes that active Farm Bureau members have towards taking

additional leadership roles. These results were provided to the FFBF to assist in planning

leadership development opportunities for Farm Bureau members in the state of Florida.

Delimitations of the Study

This study used both qualitative and quantitative research methods. Respondents

to this research design included leaders of the FFBF, county Farm Bureau board

members, and active Farm Bureau members. Limitations of this study must be

considered when applying the results. They are as follows:

1. The findings of this study can only be generalized to the population who make up the
Florida Farm Bureau membership. Care should be taken in attempts to generalize
these findings to other state Farm Bureau organizations, as the competencies of the
members of those organizations and the leadership requirements of the organizations
themselves may be different than those which are found in Florida. One could
surmise that Farm Bureau organizations across the country would benefit from a
study such as this and use it as a model to benefit their own organizations.

2. This study was limited to the current availability of literature on Farm Bureau
organizations on the state and national level.

3. The research assumes the subjects of the study provided truthful responses, but bias
may occur in the responses of the subjects.

Definitions of Key Terms

The following definitions are used in this study.

Florida Farm Bureau Federation The state Farm Bureau organization made up of the

federation of the 61 county Farm Bureau boards in Florida (P. Cockrell, personal

communication, September 10, 2002).

Active members Farm Bureau members who are full-time farmers, part-time farmers,

or farm managers. Currently only active members are elected to county boards or other

leadership positions in the Farm Bureau organization (P. Cockrell, S. Butler, & R.

Hemphill, personal communication, July 17, 2003).

Associate members Farm Bureau members who are not directly involved in farming.

These members are not eligible to be on county boards or state boards (P. Cockrell, S.

Butler, & R. Hemphill, personal communication, July 17, 2003).


The FFBF realizes that with the changes taking place within agriculture and

society as a whole, strong and effective leaders are needed to keep agriculture and the

Farm Bureau organization viable in the future. Younger members of the organization

often do not take on leadership roles or if they do, are not as effective in these roles as

they could be (P. Cockrell, personal communication, September 10, 2002). Realizing

this, the FFBF would like to offer a leadership-training program to its members, but must

understand and be able to articulate expectations of its leaders. This study provided the

necessary research for the development of such a program.

The five objectives that guided this study are to (1) identify demographics of

county Farm Bureau membership, (2) identify perceived leadership roles of county Farm

Bureau leaders by the state Farm Bureau leadership, (3) measure the extent to which

county Farm Bureau members practice the leadership expectations held by state Farm

Bureau leaders and the level of importance they assign to those skills, (4) determine

leadership attitude, will, and desire of active Florida Farm Bureau members, and (5)

determine reason why local Farm Bureau members chose to participate or not participate

in leadership roles in local county Farm Bureau boards. A background of the study, the

significance of the study, delimitations of the study and definitions of key terms of the

study were also provided in Chapter 1.


The purpose of this study was to determine the leadership expectations and

perceptions of Florida Farm Bureau members. To accomplish this purpose, the study was

guided by six objectives which were (1) identify selected demographics of county Farm

Bureau membership, (2) identify perceived leadership roles of county Farm Bureau

leaders held by the state Farm Bureau leadership, (3) measure the extent to which county

Farm Bureau members practice the leadership expectations held by state Farm Bureau

leaders and the level of importance they assign to those skills, (4) determine leadership

attitude, will, and desire of active Florida Farm Bureau members, and (5) determine

reason why local Farm Bureau members chose to participate or not participate in

leadership roles in local county Farm Bureau boards.

This chapter will review the relevant literature that provided the background for

this research. Specific areas of literature include: the history of the Farm Bureau and

other agricultural organizations, political interest groups, grassroots organizations,

organizational leadership, motivations of volunteers, social capital and agricultural

leadership. As specific information or studies were limited about Farm Bureau boards

and leadership, general studies were also examined and reported in this chapter.

These specific areas of literature are divided into sections in this chapter with

headings that include history of Farm Bureau and agricultural organizations, political

interest groups, grassroots organizations, organizational leadership, motivations of

volunteers, social capital and agricultural leadership. The chapter will conclude with a

summary of the information provided.

History of Farm Bureau and Agricultural Organizations

Rural America had two features, which historically contributed most to its

distinctive forms of organization, the dominance of the family farm as the initial rural

industry and the prevalence of geographically separated small settlements. The

interdependence of the farm and town also fostered, and reinforced, agrarianism as a

dominant, pervasive, and persistent rural value (Mooney & Majka, 1995).

An agricultural industry composed largely of small family farms dispersed

geographically among small settlements were two of the most pertinent features of the

organizational foundation of rural America. Agriculture as an industry became identified

with agrarianism, and the dispersed settlements were the foundation for communitarian

values. The combination contributes to institutionalizing of family farms and rural

communities themselves, which then inspired many associated forms of organization

(Hobbs, 1995).

Farmers in rural areas were soon aided with several pieces of legislation that

provided the dissemination of research and information being conducted at the

universities in their states. The Hatch Act of 1867 established the land grant university

system and agricultural experiment stations. The Cooperative Extension Service soon

provided agricultural agents in each county, and "county demonstrators" had spread

across the south and into the north.

Creation of Farm Bureaus

In 1914, the Smith-Lever Act was enacted which accelerated the spread of the

county agent system. The Smith-Lever Act required states to pass legislation, which

would govern the utilization of federal revenues. Many states passed laws, which

required that a county agent could not be hired unless a local organization of farmers, a

"Farm Bureau" was first established. These early Farm Bureaus were formed in the early

1910s, which was a decade of dramatic reorganization in the agricultural sector (Berlage,


The Farm Bureaus showed local support for the county agent's programs and

created a source of funding for the agent's salary from the dues paid by members. The

relationship between the Farm Bureaus and the Extension Service was questioned

because the county agent, who was a public employee, had obligations to a private

pressure group, the county Farm Bureau. To address this concern, many state legislatures

and state colleges of agriculture began to separate extension from the local Farm Bureaus

(Brown, 1989).

Following WWII, the accelerating rate of agricultural mechanization along with

price supports and other new production technologies, expedited the substation of capital

for labor and increased the rate of farm consolidation. At the same time, land-grant

university research and extension reinforced a transition from multi-crop general farming

to specialized commodity production (Hobbs, 1995).

This transition was accompanied by new and different producer interests and

therefore a change in the types of organizations which represented them. Farmers no

longer automatically held interests in common but began to specialize along commodity

lines. Accordingly, general farm organizations became less effective in representing the

interests of producers, for interests of different commodities were often competitive.

New organizations, specialized by commodity, began to appear such as the American

Soybean Association, the National Corn Growers Association, and the National

Cattlemen's Association. General farm organizations, such as the AFBF differ from

commodity organizations. Commodity organizations are principally devoted to

promoting domestic and international sales of their commodity, affecting legislation

favorable to commodity producers, and supporting research to develop new products and

uses of the commodity. Their primary focus is national and international in scope,

although most of the major commodity organizations have state and local associations in

regions that produce the commodity they represent. They are unlikely to have a local

agenda unless a local issue of direct relevance to commodity producers arises (Hobbs,


Specialized commodity organizations, such as the National Cattlemen's

Association or the National Corn Growers are more effective in pursuing narrow policy

goals than general agricultural organizations. The consequences to this piece-meal

approach to policy making by many specialized groups is the neglect of the farming

sector as a whole (Mooney & Majka, 1995).

During the early years of Farm Bureau, it was unique as compared to other

organizations because of the strong financial support it enjoyed. High dues for

membership, support from agribusiness, and effective governmental subsidization

through the Cooperative Extension Service all contributed to a powerful resource base for

Farm Bureau (Mooney & Majka, 1995).

There are two factors that have contributed to the success of the AFBF

organization. First, it was created and nurtured by the Cooperative Extension Service, a

public agency. The Extension Service organized local Farm Bureaus, helped in the

recruitment of members, and favored those members with the allocation of goods and

services. Second, the Farm Bureaus offered their members a number of services, from

insurance to farm supplies (Hansen, 1995).

While scholars have concentrated on the AFBF's national political influence to

explain its power, the local programs it offered were equally as important. Members

participated in the organization to take advantage of the bureau's scientific, economic,

and social projects rather than to gain national political power. The array of programs

that local Farm Bureaus offered strengthened the appeal of the organization and helped to

establish a strong power base in rural communities (Berlage, 2001).

The AFBF is the nation's largest farm organization with over five million

members in all 50 states and Puerto Rico. There are 2800 county Farm Bureaus across

the country, which provide programs that are developed to meet the needs of member

families. Thousands of volunteer leaders serve on county Farm Bureau boards and

committees (AFBF, 2003). Bob Stallman, AFBF President, stated, "whether at the

county, state or national level, Farm Bureaus across the nation have always been loyal to

the foundation of our organization-our grassroots members" (Stallman, 2003, para. 11).

Farm Bureau has endured its share of criticisms. In his critique of the AFBF,

Berger (1971) stated that the AFBF claims it is a grassroots organization, which is truly

representative of farmers. However, the organization has become more and more

autocratic over the years. Policy positions are made at the top of a rigid hierarchy, while

attempts at the grassroots level to change that policy have been stifled. Another criticism

is that the AFBF claims to be an organization made up of farmers, when a large

percentage of its members have no relationship to farming. Membership has become

little more than a device through which Farm Bureau products and services are sold

(Berger, 1971).

In his 1971 commentary about AFBF Berger stated that, "the nation's biggest

farm organization has been quietly but systematically amassing one of the largest

business networks in America, while turning its back on the deepening crisis of the

farmers whom it supposedly represents." Farm Bureau has been called an organization of

and for large farmers (Mooney & Majka, 1995).

The AFBF was the dominant voice in Washington, D.C. with respect to farm

policy at the end of WWII. This was no longer true in the 1990s. Browne (1995)

conducted a study of agricultural organizations influence in the United States Congress,

he stated:

Generalist organizations usually ranked by respondents as very active and
involved but only somewhat influential include such high profile groups as the
American Farm Bureau Federation, the Fertilizer Institute, and the Food
Marketing Institute. The access and influence of those groups are not seen as the
same, as is the case for interest that represent fewer and narrower claims.
Organizations that can speak to the very specific needs of a commodity program
or a distinct type of business seem to have a better transactional base within
Congress and, as a result, gain better reputations for influence. (p. 372)

National Farmers Union and the Grange

The NFU and the Grange also continue to represent large numbers of farmers in

addition to the AFBF. The Grange was, "increasingly relegated to less agriculturally

dependent regions and was not aggressive politically" (Mooney & Majka, 1995, p. 90).

The NFU struggled with the AFBF's increasing influence. The NGOPH, which was

established in the late 1800s, is the oldest national agricultural organization in the nation.

Today, Granges are established in 3,600 communities in 37 states. Its 300,000 members

provide support to rural areas and agriculture on a wide variety of issues, including

economic development, family, and legislation designed to assure a strong and viable

rural America (NGOPH, 2004).

The Grange is a grassroots organization that provides its' members a voice on the

local, state and national level. Major objectives of the Grange support stewardship of

America's natural resources, promotion of worldwide free trade, a combination of local

and federal support of rural medical, communications, and road systems, and elimination

of direct government farm programs (NGOPH, 2004).

The NFU is a general farm organization with a membership of nearly 250,000

farm and ranch families across the country. It is a federation that represents farmers and

ranchers in all states and the presidents of the 24 state and regional farmers union

organizations serve as its board of directors (Price, 2003).

The NFU was founded in 1902 due to a need identified by a group of farmers to

join together to fight a common cause. Today, according the president of the NFU, Dave

Frederickson, the NFU's education, cooperation, and legislative programs all revolve

around member needs. This organization also provides a voice for family agriculture and

rural America. Its primary goal has been to sustain and strengthen family farm and ranch

agriculture, which it does through a grassroots structure with policy positions begun at

the local level (Price, 2003).

In addition to the AFBF, the Grange, and the NFU, there is one other national

farm organization. The National Farmers' Organization (NFO) was formed in 1955. It

originated as a protest group that threatened farm strikes to a serious collective

bargaining organization that bargained with the buyers and processors of farm products

(Mooney & Majka, 1995).

All of these agricultural organizations have basically one thing in common, they

were all founded because a critical mass of highly motivated people decided that their

likelihood of success in tackling a significant challenge would be much greater if people

worked cooperatively toward a common goal (Stuart, 2003).

Florida Commodity Organizations

In the state of Florida, there are numerous organizations that represent all the

major agricultural commodities, which are grown in the state in addition to the FFBF

representing the general agricultural interests. Two of the largest and most powerful are

the Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association (FFVA) and Florida Citrus Mutual (FCM).

FFVA began during World War II to address the challenges facing growers at the

time. Legislation had been passed that negatively affected Florida growers and those

growers saw a clear need to organize so that the concerns of Florida's fruit and vegetable

industry would be heard in Washington D. C. (Stuart, 2003).

The FFVA "has grown into one of the most recognized and influential

organizations of its kind in the country. Its success can be directly attributed to the

dedication and hard work of individuals who have served as officers and on its board of

directors and committees throughout its history" (Stuart, 2003, para. 5).

FCM began in 1948 after the citrus industry experienced severe market

fluctuations. Today, FCM provides the following services to its members: reliable

market information, grower legislation, taxation, citrus research, Florida Department of

Citrus oversight, and non-price information. The reason it has survived and prospered is

because growers, shippers, and processors of Florida citrus have coalesced to create an

organization that has broadened its initiatives to meet the changing needs of its grower

members (Florida Citrus Mutual, 2004).

Summary of history of Farm Bureau and agricultural organizations

Farm Bureaus were formed in the early 1900s in response to changes in the

agricultural sector. Farm Bureaus provided ways to disseminate research and information

being conducted by universities to farmers in rural areas. After WWII, farmers no longer

had common interests that were represented by organizations such as Farm Bureau.

Instead, organizations began forming that specialized along commodity lines and

represented the more narrow interests of farmers. These commodity groups pursued

more limited policy objectives than a general interest group such as Farm Bureau.

Even with each agricultural industry and commodity having a national

organization and frequently a state organization who represents them, the AFBF

continues to be the nation's largest farm organization with over five million members in

2800 local county Farm Bureaus across the United States and Puerto Rico. The NFU and

the NGOPH are general agricultural organizations who also represent farmers but have

smaller memberships than the AFBF. The Farm Bureau continues to represent the

political interests of its members on the county, state, and national level. The next

section provides information on Farm Bureau as a political interest group.

Farm Bureau as a Political Interest Group

Groups do not form spontaneously. In a simple society, there is little need for

interest group formation, even though there are distinct interests in the society.

Economic specialization and social differentiations are crucial to group proliferation.

Technological changes and the interdependence of economic sectors create new interests

and encourage the formation of interest groups (Loomis & Cigler, 1995).

Loomis and Cigler (1995) state that, "central to theories of group proliferation are

the pluralist notions that elements of society possess common needs and share a group

identity or consciousness, and that these are sufficient conditions for the formation of

effective political organizations" (p. 7).

Economist Mancur Olson challenged the pluralist theories and instead proposed

that individuals who share common interests are not inclined to join the organizations

that address their concerns. Individuals choose not to participate and bear the costs of

participation, because they can enjoy the benefits of the organization whether they join or

not, the "free rider" problem. Groups that pursue benefits that accrue to all members of a

segment of society will have difficulty forming and surviving (Olson, 1971).

As an organization, the AFBF has received extensive research and theoretical

treatment by social scientists since the AFBF is an economic lobby, which represents a

large constituency (Hansen, 1995). There are several controversies that exist regarding

membership in political interest groups especially in the AFBF. The core of this

controversy in this area is the importance of selective material benefits in the explanation

of membership. Olson (1971) argued that coercion or the offer of selective material

benefits to potential members would be necessary to induce them to join if the group was

to overcome the "free-ride" tendency. The free-rider problem is especially problematic

for large organizations as the larger the group, the less likely an individual will believe

their contribution as having any impact on group success (Loomis & Cigler, 1995).

Other political scientists and economists (such as Salisbury (1969), Moe (1980),

and Hansen (1985) believe that nonmaterial selective benefits and other factors

(perceptions and efficacy) explain membership in political interest groups (Brown, 1989).

The key to group formation and survival is the presence of selective benefits. These

benefits are offered to only members of the group and can include: discounts,

publications, and cheap insurance. The AFBF offers inexpensive insurance, which is a

major inducement to join, even if an individual does not agree with the Farm Bureau's

goals (Loomis & Cigler, 1995). The following services have been supplied as selective

material benefits to Farm Bureau members: (1) wide variety of insurance programs, (2)

regional and state purchasing cooperatives, (3) cooperative marketing programs, and (4)

discounts on consumer goods (Brown, 1989).

Another area of controversy is the impact of economic conditions on political

interest group membership. Truman's theory suggests that during hard economic times

individuals will join organizations that work for improvement of their economic

conditions. Truman theorized that two interrelated processes lead to group formation,

societal change and disturbances. As society evolves and becomes more complex, new

interest groups will emerge. Individuals are affected by "disturbances" which drive them

to then support group endeavors. Examples of this can be found in the history of the

formation of the major farm groups in the United States, such as the NGOPH, the

Farmers Alliance, the AFBF, and the NFU which all emerged between 1867 and 1900.

They were formed from an increased interaction of farmers in response to disturbances of

their accustomed behavior. These disturbances included: technological change,

westward expansion, growth of corporate power, industrialization, and low commodity

prices (Nownes & Neeley, 1996).

Robert Salisbury theorizes that group survival depends upon an exchange of

benefits that is mutually advantageous between the organization and the members

(Nownes & Neeley, 1996). Salisbury's view is that people join political interest groups

during periods of prosperity when the cost of dues is relatively painless, and that when

times get rougher membership in organizations is one of the first cost-cutting measures in

which people engage (Brown, 1989).

Hansen (1985) theorized that people in different contexts have different resources

and preferences, which indicates that they have different subjective weightings of the

benefits and costs of participating in a group. When resources such as time and income

are ample, people can easily bear the costs of participation. When people have particular

needs and preferences, they are attracted to certain benefits. When people have different

attitudes toward risk, they are more or less willing to engage in actions whose success is


An individual will join an interest group if the subjective costs incurred by joining

are less than the subjective benefits received from membership. As the information,

resources, preferences, and risk attitudes change in making the assessments to join, the

attractiveness of group affiliation changes too (Hansen, 1995).

Individuals are more easily mobilized in response to a threat than they are in

response to a prospect. The collective benefits of group membership are increased with

the awareness of threats. The effects of costs and benefits on group membership depend

on what is known about them, whether or not the benefits are wanted, and whether or not

the costs can be afforded (Hansen, 1995).

Brown (1989) tested several of the most prominent interest group theories by

examining membership in five state affiliates of the AFBF, but offered no concrete

conclusions except for the need of additional research on why people join interest groups

and what factors determine the membership levels.

Summary of Farm Bureau as a Political Interest Group

The AFBF has received extensive research and theoretical treatments by social

scientists, as it is an economic lobby which represents a large constituency. Several

theories by prominent social scientists were introduced in regards to group membership

such as: selective benefits, disturbances, exchange of benefits, and costs of benefits for

belonging to organizations. In addition to being a political interest group, the AFBF is a

grassroots organization which derives its power from its members on the county level. A

discussion of grassroots organizations follows.

Grassroots Organizations

In addition to being a political interest group, the AFBF is also a grassroots

organization. Smith (2000) defines grassroots associations as, "locally based,

significantly autonomous, volunteer-run, formal nonprofit groups that manifest

substantial voluntary altruism as groups and use the associational form of organization

and, thus, have official memberships of volunteers who perform most, and often all, of

the work/activity done in and by these nonprofits" (p. 7). Throughout history and

cultures, people have organized themselves to find solutions to specific problems through

grassroots efforts (Wittig, 1996).

Identifying with Grassroots Organizations

Important to grassroots organizations is developing a sense of identification with

the organization. The development of group cohesion, team building, and increasing

perceived social support may prove effective in enhancing the identification and further

strengthening the favorability of members' attitudes (Hinkle, Fox-Cardamone, Haseleu,

Brown, & Irwin, 1996). The development of a social identity serves to sustain

membership in a grassroots organization. This social identity serves as a motivator for

participating in a group. Individuals strive to maintain their self-esteem by committing to

a group, participating in its activities, identifying with its behaviors, and adopting its

symbols (Pratkanis & Turner, 1996). Bettencourt (1996) states, "grassroots efforts may

succeed if they capitalize on initiating grassroots involvement by helping potential

volunteers to become identified with the grassroots organization and on maintaining

activism by encouraging cohesion and commitment among the members of their group"

(p. 209).

By joining organizations, people are seeking the respect of their peers. They also

want to belong to a group that gives individuals an opportunity where their contributions

can be appreciated (Kaye, 2001). People join grassroots organizations because they want

to be recognized for their leadership to serve members of their organizations and by

members of other groups for their contribution to the effort to build a better quality of life

(Kaye, 2001). Monetary funds, time, capacity, and skills of grassroots members, in

addition to leadership, are resources that contribute to the success of grassroots

organizations. They are necessary for the effectiveness and continued operation of

grassroots efforts (Bettencourt, 1996).

Leadership in Grassroots Organizations

To be successful, grassroots groups need to encourage the development of

effective communication skills among their members. When working toward a goal,

good communication among members is necessary to accomplish the planned action

steps to get to the goal. The extent to which grassroots members and leaders utilize open

communication will be reflected in the group's ability to resolve disagreements as well as

reduce conflict, resentment, and member dropout (Bettencourt, Dillman & Wollman,


Leaders of grassroots organizations need to be aware that volunteers differ in the

rewards they value and that these values change over time. Grassroots organizations

need to offer volunteers a variety of rewarding and challenging tasks to sustain their

efforts (Bettencourt et al., 1996). Brant (1995) states that, "one's personal values play an

important role in propelling one toward grassroots action" (p. 185).

A lack of leadership in grassroots organizations may have dire consequences on

the success of the group and the attempt to achieve change. To reduce chances of failure,

grassroots organizations need to foster the leadership skills of their members

(Bettencourt, 1996).

Negative factors that affect volunteer motivations are stress, burnout, and

expenditures of time. "Although a certain amount of time investment from volunteers is

necessary, grassroots organizations should be ever mindful to encourage volunteers to

give only as much as they can afford and to avoid spreading themselves too thin with

commitments" (Bettencourt et al., 1996, p. 173).

Grassroots organizations have less of a problem finding people that support their

cause and more of a problem motivating people to act on their convictions (Hinkle et al.,

1996). Bettencourt et al. (1996) reasoned,

The success of a grassroots group is attributable, in part, to the coordination and
motivation of group members. The extent to which a grassroots organization
encourages members to identify with the group may be important for sustained
success. Group identity should facilitate coordination and motivation within the
group. (p. 170)

There are different types of motivations, which may inspire individuals to work

for grassroots organizations. One may be whether the fruits of the grassroots effort will

directly or indirectly affect members of the group (Bettencourt, 1996).

Summary of grassroots organizations

Farm Bureau is a grassroots organization. Grassroots organizations are

organizations in which people create and join to find solutions to specific problems that

affect them. Membership in these organizations is sustained by a common social identity

with the organization and its' members. Individuals are motivated to join these

organizations for many reasons, such as respect from their peers, benefits the

organization provides, solutions to problems that affect them, and the satisfaction of

working with others with similar problems to reach a common goal.

Motivations of Volunteers

According to Scott (2000):

There are more than one million not-for-profit organizations in the U.S. with
100,000 more created each year. This sector depends on volunteers to help
provide programs and services and financial support. Ninety-three million
people, almost half of the population volunteers an average of 4.2 hours a week.
(p. 3)

With every other adult already volunteering, the overall number is unlikely to

grow. If non-profit organizations want to add to their activities they are already engaged

in, or attract volunteers from other organizations, they have to make their volunteers

more productive, which means giving them more work to do and additional responsibility

(Drucker, 2001).

A majority of volunteer work is completed in associations or organizations. In

1995, 71% of the adults in the United States were members of associations, not including

memberships to churches and synagogues. In 1991, 53% of the population participated

in active unpaid volunteer work for non-profit organizations and associations (Smith,

2000). In 1998, survey results showed the highest rate of volunteer participation at 55%,

while the number of hours volunteered per week fell to 3.5 hours. Though there are

increasing numbers of people volunteering, fewer hours are being contributed by those

volunteers, which greatly increase the risk of volunteer burnout (Safrit & Merrill, 2002).

Inherited in the legacy in America is volunteering on behalf of the common good.

People are identifiers of needs, issues, and problems and expect to participate in the

decision making on how to respond to these. Voluntary activities range from short-term

events, which have a time limit, to longer-term commitments of service such as serving

on a board. The choice to sit on an organization's board is an important decision (Scott,

2000). Safrit & Merrill (2002) stated that:

The concept ofvolunteerism in North American society has evolved. What
historically began as individualized, altruistic behaviors founded upon strong
religious tenets has evolved into a contemporary social movement driven by a
wide range of individual motivations, and organizational and governmental
incentives. (p. 12)

Penner (2002) defines volunteerism "as long-term, planned, prosocial behaviors

that benefit strangers and occur within an organizational setting. Based on this definition,

volunteerism has four salient attributes: longevity, planfulness, nonobligatory helping,

and an organizational context" (p. 448). Longevity indicates a long-term behavior rather

than a one-time occurrence. Planfulness means that volunteering is typically a planned

action. Nonobligatory helping is the notion that the volunteer is not motivated by a sense

of personal obligation to a particular person (Penner, 2002).

Drucker (2001) described the motivations of volunteers as follows:

Volunteers have to get more satisfaction from their work than paid employees,
precisely because they do not get a paycheck. They need, above all, challenge.
They need to know the organization's mission and to believe in it. They need
continual training. They need to see results. (p. 80)

Motivation depends on being effective and being able to achieve something. If

effectiveness is lacking, the commitment to work and to contribute to the organization

will soon vanish and it will then be just going through the motions (Drucker, 2001).

Motivation Theories

The theoretical rationale on the roles of motives comes from Snyder's (1993)

functional approach to prosocial behaviors which are based on the notion that much of

human behavior is motivated by specific goals or needs. To fully understand why a

person is engaging in a behavior, the purpose or need served by that behavior needs to be

identified. The fundamental concerns of motivational inquiry is understanding the

processes that move people to action and the processes that initiate, direct and sustain

action. Clary et al. (1998) describe the functional perspective of volunteering as

encouraging the consideration of the wide range of personal and social motivations that

promote sustained behavior. This perspective advances an interactionist position, as it

argues that consequences follow from matching the motivations of individuals to the

opportunities in their environments.

From a functional perspective, people are recruited to volunteer by appealing to

their own psychological functions, and they will be satisfied to the extent they engage in

volunteer work that serves these psychological functions, and they will continue to serve

to the extent that their psychological functions are being served (Clary et al., 1998).

Omoto and Snyder (2002) developed a conceptual model of the volunteer process

which explains volunteering on various levels. At the individual level, the model focuses

on activities and the psychological processes of the individuals which include:

expressing their personal values, satisfying their need to help others, community concern,

personal development, and to fulfill esteem enhancement needs. At the intrapersonal

level, the dynamics of helping relationships between the volunteers and the recipients of

their help are incorporated. At the organizational level, the focus is now on the goals

associated with the recruitment, management, and retainment of volunteers. At the

societal level, the model takes into consideration the linkages between individuals and the

social structures of their society.

Cavalier (2000) proposes a triarchic theory of motivation, which proposes that

motivation is comprised of three autonomous motivational systems: the formative

system, the operational system, and the thematic system. The formative system includes

the development forces that move individuals in a certain direction. These forces include:

one's genetic makeup, learned behaviors, beliefs, values, social norms and attitudes, and

conflicts. The operational system includes the assessments where there is a sense of

integration, choosing, decision-making and evaluation. The thematic system finds its

roots in: 1) ego gratification, 2) self-actuation and 3) altruism (Cavalier, 2000).

Self-actuation is the motivation of individuals to seek ways to fully express their

interest, talents and potentials as human beings. The people who are characterized by

these motives may have talents or power over others by the virtue of their knowledge or

talents. Altruism is the principal motivational theme for people who seek opportunities to

help others (Cavalier, 2000). In rough terms, altruism is defined as an internal concept

that refers to the tendency or disposition of an entity to help others (Smith, 2000).

Penner (2002) used data from 1100 individuals who responded to a survey in the

USA Weekend, a Sunday supplement magazine carried in 560 newspapers, which

contained an article on altruism and invited readers to respond to an online poll about

their prosocial behaviors. This behavior is defined as an individual's empathy and

feelings of concern and responsibility for the welfare of others. Results from this study

showed that age was significantly and positively associated with the number of

organizations and length of time spent working for an organization.

Motivation Sources

Another instrument used to measure motivation sources was developed by

Barbuto and Scholl (1998), the motivation sources inventory has been used to predict

leadership influence tactics, transformational leadership behaviors and follower

compliance using sources of motivation which include: intrinsic, instrumental, external

and internal self-concept. It has shown to be reliable and valid in reported studies and

captures the sources of motivation.

Barbuto, Brown, Wilhite and Wheeler (2001) describe intrinsic process

motivation as when a person is motivated to perform certain kinds of work or to engage

in certain types of behavior for the fun of it. The work acts as an incentive and it is

derived from immediate internal gratification. Deci and Ryan (1995) describe intrinsic

motivation as the innate, organismic needs for self-determination and competence.

Instrumental motivation is when individuals perceive their behavior will lead to pay,

promotions, bonuses, or other extrinsic tangible outcomes (Barbuto et al., 2001).

Self-concept-external motivation is based on an individual who is primarily other-

directed and seeking affirmation of traits, competencies, and values. The individual

behaves to satisfy reference group members to gain acceptance and then status (Barbuto

et al., 2001). Deci and Ryan (1995) describe this type of motivation as extrinsic

motivation, the behavior where the reason for doing it is something other than an interest

in the activity itself. It may be due to something a person feels pressured to do.

Self-concept-internal motivation is internally based. The individual sets internal

standards that become the basis for the ideal self and is motivated to engage in behaviors

that reinforce these standards (Barbuto et al., 2001). Internal motivations also are

motivations for cooperation that flow from individuals' values and attitudes and shape

their behavior (Tyler, 2002).

Loyalty or commitment to the group or organization can also be a motivation of

volunteering as people in groups come to identify with those groups (Tyler, 2002). Tyler

(2002) describes social identity theory as one that individuals in groups identify with

those groups and merge their sense of identity with the groups and when people identify

with groups they put the welfare of the group above their own.

When there is no identification with a group, if an individual believes that the

organization does not represent their interests or if an individual is content, they may

become apathetic and do not feel the need to participate. There is a connection between

contentment and apathy as a content person may become lulled into apathy over time

after deciding that withdrawing from an activity will not seriously jeopardize his or her

future wants or needs, and thereby future contentment (DeLuca, 1995).

Leaders play an important role in creating and sustaining a group with which

individuals can become loyal and committed to. The feeling of group identification

encourages cooperation on behalf of the group because people merge their sense of

themselves with the group. The important role of attitudes and values in stimulating

cooperation suggests the importance of creating a supportive culture or value climate

within a group. "Leaders need to stimulate intrinsic interest in group roles, identification

with the group, and the development of moral values and feelings that group authorities

are legitimate" (Tyler, 2002, p. 779).

The objective of a study done by Martinez and McMullin (2004) was to better

understand the motivations and characteristics of individuals who participate in volunteer

activities in comparison to those who do not. Results found that active members

belonged to organizations almost twice as long as non-active members. Both groups had

similar competing commitments on their time. Active members witnessed the effects of

their efforts, witnessed organizational success and achieved a level of personal

accomplishment; they believed they could make a difference. For those that were not

active, the potential benefits and outcomes may have been important but unknown. This

study, a longitudinal analysis, was conducted on the characteristics of membership of

voluntary organizations, "these characteristics are: (a) memberships over time are

relatively stable, (b) most individuals will add and drop memberships in organizations

over time but maintain at least one continuous membership, and (c) the occurrence of

affiliation changes influence the structure and function of association" (Martinez &

McMullin, 2004, p. 114).

Influences on Volunteers

Penner (2002) identified the organizational variables that are likely to influence a

volunteer's behavior, they are: "(1) an individual member's perceptions of and feelings

about the way he or she is treated by the organization and (2) the organization's

reputation and personnel practices" (p. 458). In a study done by DeChant (2001),

research showed that a person may be committed to an organization but the level of

commitment cannot serve as a measure for the amount of volunteer hours they will

actually perform. Volunteering in an organization provides opportunities to build

stronger ties and commitment to the organization. For those that are not active

participants, believing that they could not contribute effectively to the organization's

activities may be the reason why they do not actively participate (Martinez & McMullin,


Eisinger (2002) states "attracting future leaders is as much about knowing what

you want as it is about knowing what members are hoping to gain, that's another

challenge inherent to attracting and engaging volunteer leaders" (p.3). Organizations

who are interested in recruiting new volunteers would benefit by identifying the things

that would motivate a certain target group to volunteer and then highlight those motives

in their recruiting appeals directed at this target group. If an organization has difficulties

retaining volunteers, the problem is sometimes not a shortage of people who want to

volunteer it is the attrition rate of people who are in the early stages of tenure in the

organization (Penner, 2002). Why do individuals volunteer for organizations? Clary et

al. (1998) state simply that:

Volunteers (a) often actively seek out opportunities to help others; (b) may
deliberate for considerable amounts of time about whether to volunteer, the extent
of their involvement, and the degree to which particular activities fit with their
own personal needs; and (c) may make a commitment to an ongoing helping
relationships that may extend over a considerable period of time and that may
entail considerable personal costs of time, energy, and opportunity. (p. 1517)

Martinez and McMullin (2004) state "volunteer roles may appeal to people with

certain lifestyles based on (a) ones' position in a job; (b) whether one is employed full-

time, part-time is retired, or is a home maker, (c) age and (d) the expectations and

associated responsibilities of the role(s) one would fill" (p. 114). The success of the

volunteer experience is largely determined by whether the volunteer experience meets the

person's expectations. The more that is known about those expectations, the more effort

can be made to ensure the volunteer remains motivated (Eisinger, 2002).

Individuals are more attracted to organizations that have a good reputation for

management that effectively used the talents of the volunteers. Poor management of

volunteers is frequently the reason that people discontinue their volunteer service. In

addition to effective volunteer management, organizations who utilize volunteers should

have individuals volunteering who represent the membership that they are working for.

There is increasing pressure for organizations to reflect a broader cross-section of the

societies which they represent (Safrit & Merrill, 2002).

Constraints on Volunteering

Martinez and McMullin (2004) state that in order to understand why people

become active volunteers, it is important to consider why people do not volunteer.

"Three reasons for nonparticipation have been identified: (a) individuals lacked the

capacity to volunteer, (b) individuals lacked motivation, or (c) individuals had not been

asked" (p. 113). This implied that both access to resources and capacity to take part

along with motivation, are necessary for members to become active.

The generations of individuals who compose the volunteer segment of the

population are facing different issues and pressures. Individuals who belong to the "baby

boomer" generation are facing pressures of the needs of their children and their aging

parents. Those individuals who were born between 1960 and 1980, the members of

Generation X, are inwardly focused and less inclined to be involved. They are facing

personal and professional pressures as they build their careers and families. Life

pressures, particularly those of time and family are limiting the availability of traditional

volunteers (Safrit & Merrill, 2002).

Organizations need to find ways to structure volunteer work, which will allow

people increased flexibility to move in and out of volunteering as work and family

pressures affect their lives. Turnover rate is influenced by the importance and structure

of an organization, as well as age, family status, work, family stage, and life stage

(Martinez & McMullin, 2004). As Eisinger (2002) states:

The needs of today's time-crunched members, such as shorter-term commitments,
may require associations to examine their traditional notions of volunteer service
and how to attract those members to leadership positions. In addition, identifying
and developing future volunteer leaders requires a commitment from the highest
levels of the organization. (p. 5)

Organizations need to pay more attention to personal and professional

development opportunities for volunteers that will increase their effectiveness while

maintaining personal interest (Safrit & Merrill, 2002). Volunteers who are active must

have certain abilities. Volunteers must develop the personal capacities to make critical

decisions regarding their actions on behalf of the organization as they need to learn "how

to think" rather than just "what to think" (Safrit & Jones, 2003). Volunteers demand

training from their organizations. They want responsibility and expect to participate in

making decisions that affect their work and the work of the organization as a whole.

Volunteers also expect the organization to remove non-performers who are hindering the

effectiveness of the organization (Drucker, 2001). Traditionally, training programs for

volunteers have focused on specific subject matter, organizational, or interpersonal skills.

They must also include components that challenge volunteers to develop important

thinking and processing skills (Safrit & Jones, 2003).

There are several variables that determine the group's overall effectiveness; how

well resources are utilized (both personnel and resources), how members are motivated to

perform, and how much teamwork and cooperation there is among group members. A

deficiency in any of these variables is likely to reduce group effectiveness. The function

of leadership is maintaining an optimal level for each of these variables (Yukl, 1994).

Current trends in organizational management and leadership are affecting the

decisions that people make in their volunteer activities. Authoritarian management styles

are being replaced by participative decision-making and teamwork and volunteers are

seeking similar management styles in the non-profit organizations they volunteer with.

Volunteers tend now to avoid authoritarian management and large bureaucratic

institutions, and are seeking organizations that treat them professionally and include them

in planning and decision-making phases of work (Safrit & Merrill, 2002).

Further studies have shown that the length of tenure as a volunteer is positively

associated with organizational satisfaction. "Volunteers who are satisfied with their job,

committed to the organization, have positive affect while on the job, and believe they are

being treated fairly should display a higher level of volunteer activity" (Penner, 2002, p.

459). Organizations that can design and manage opportunities for volunteers that allow

individuals to make meaningful contributions in non-traditional time frames are more

likely to attract a more diverse range of volunteers (Safrit & Merrill, 2002). The next

section will address organizational leadership and how it affects the productivity of a

group or organization.

Summary of motivations of volunteers

Approximately half of the adult population in the United States volunteers a

portion of their time to organizations. Individuals are identifiers of needs, issues, and

problems and participate in the decision making on how to respond to these factors.

There are many reasons why individuals volunteer and organizations need to understand

what motivates individuals to volunteer and make the volunteer experience positive and

meaningful to their volunteers. The organization needs to provide group identification

for their volunteers so they can relate to the organization and the organization needs to

provide volunteer experiences that fit with the individual's lifestyle as factors such as

gender, children, and life status affect the time an individual can devote to an


Organizational Leadership

An understanding of what the attraction is to serve and lead an organization, of

what motivates individuals to become members of the board, of what causes those

individuals to care deeply about the future of the organization, and of what helps

individuals remain active and committed is vitally important knowledge to an

organization (Scott, 2000).

Maxwell (1995) states "grow a leader-grow the organization" (p.4). An

organization's strength is a direct result of the strength of the leaders of the organization.

Organizational leaders must be active in their organization, generate productive activity

and must encourage and command changes in the organization (Maxwell, 1995). The

survival of institutions depends on the capacity of "leaders to develop and maintain

organizational cultures that foster and sustain autonomy and independence while

strengthening the ability of individuals to care for and commit to the organization and the

larger community" (Scott, 2000, p. 13).

Organizational leaders will need to be able to read the larger environment at

various levels and know which level to focus attention on so their organization can

negotiate change successfully. Not-for-profit organizations need leaders who can engage

in the process of "systems thinking." This is leadership that can understand the bigger

picture without being pulled into tunnel vision or allow quick fixes of problems (Scott,


Organizational Theories

The process of "systems thinking" can be better understood by understanding the

different components or perspectives of an organization. Bolman and Deal (1997) have

condensed the major schools of organizational thought into four perspectives or frames.

The frames are structural, human resource, political, and symbolic. Effective leaders

understand their own strengths and work to expand them and build their teams or groups

that can provide leadership in all four frames.

The structural frame emphasizes the organizations' goals, roles and relationships.

Problems in organizations occur when the structure does not fit the situation. The

challenge is to tailor the organization to the people who work within it. Organizations

need to find a way for individuals to get the job done, while feeling good about what they

are doing (Bolman & Deal, 1997).

The human resource frame believes that organizations can be productive,

energizing and mutually rewarding. This perspective regards the skills, attitudes, energy

and commitment of individuals as vital resources of either making or breaking the

enterprise. When the fit between the organization and individual is poor, one or both

suffer. Organizations may become ineffective because individuals withdraw their efforts

and individuals may feel neglected or feel their abilities are needed or wanted. When the

fit is good, individuals find meaningful and satisfying work and organizations get the

talent and energy they need to succeed (Bolman & Deal, 1997).

The political frame asserts that in the face of differences and scarce resources,

conflict is unavoidable and power is a key resource, the assumptions of this frame find

the sources of political dynamics in organizations. The symbolic frame sees

organizations as cultures, which are propelled by rituals, ceremonies, stories, heroes and

myths rather than by rules, policies, and managerial authority (Bolman & Deal, 1997).

Duke (1998) stated that individuals are seen to occupy roles which represent sets

of expectations and these roles are a function of social context and individual

understanding. An assumption about human nature supports this "role theory" is that

humans are capable of self-reflection and evaluation. Inquiry in sociological research

must focus on understanding how people define situations, determine what is expected of

them, and select courses of action. Role expectations become an important source of

information for the study of organizations.

Organizing is as much a bottom-up philosophy and process as a method to win

victories on specific issues as people are encouraged to take direct action on their own

issues, not encouraged to look to others to act on their behalf The greatest organizational

mileage occurs when a group of members are directly involved in winning a victory. The

lesson is that "we won because we are organized, there is strength in numbers." Such

strategies build a sense of ownership and control, empowering people through the process

of organizing as well as through benefits achieved (Staples, 1984).

Membership in Organizations

The growth of an organization depends on retaining members and recruiting new

ones. Success depends on a combination of things: a shared organizational vision, an

effective group process and a strong capacity for leadership development. The long-

range vision of an organization is key to keeping and attracting new members. There

needs to be a sense of community and the challenge of higher goals. More people will

stay active in an organization if they feel they are taking part in something important and

exciting. Some membership attrition is inevitable as people's lives, actions, and

responsibilities change over time. "Only by attracting and involving new people can the

organization renew and regenerate itself in the face of the natural tendency for people to

lose interest, drop out, or become less active" (Staples, 1984, p. 122). The "apathy" of

the organization's members is usually blamed for declines in organizational membership.

Most individuals are attracted to an organization because of the prospects of being

victorious on an issue they have a stake in. Membership involvement is needed to win

through collective action, which also helps to build an organization. Members do their

part by participating, and hopefully there is a concrete benefit produced by the

organization. When the issue is over, most members go back home, even though they are

still members of the organization. If the experience was satisfying, they will likely

participate again if it's in their self-interests to do so (Staples, 1984). Effective collective

action depends on the active involvement of self-motivated participants. The

commitment of organizational participants-to each other and to the organization-

becomes a critical and a necessary mechanism for directing their behavior toward

collective goal accomplishment (Robertson & Tang, 1995).

Roberson and Tang (1995) defined commitment as "a psychological attachment

felt by the person for the organization" (p.68). The dominant orientation in

organizational behavior literature focuses on commitment as an individual's attitude

regarding their relationship to the organization. The role of commitment in collective

action receives attention from two literature bases, the field of organizational behavior

and rational choice literature. The organizational behavior literature focuses on factors

that influence the quality of individuals' involvement and performance in the

organization. A primary focus has been individuals' work attitudes and the individual

and organizational characteristics that shape these attitudes (Robertson & Tang, 1995).

The rational choice literature focuses on how an individual's choice of behavior

depends on the way they perceive and weigh the expected costs and benefits of

alternative courses of action. The extent to which participants perceive each other to be

credibly committed to the cooperative arrangement is important, rather than the level of

individuals' commitment to the organization as an entity (Robertson & Tang, 1995).

Both organizational behavior and rational choice perspectives share the common

belief that commitment is an important factor affecting collective action systems.

Implicit in both is the notion that individuals with higher levels of commitment are more

likely to engage in behaviors oriented toward the good of the collective. Commitment

can motivate individuals to act cooperatively in pursuit of shared collective ends

(Robertson & Tang, 1995).

The two perspectives differ in how they conceptualize the role of the mechanisms

in building commitment in collective action. Robertson and Tang (1995) describe these

two perspectives:

The organizational behavior literature emphasizes the role informal social
mechanisms play in shaping individuals' cognition and values. The focus is on
how participants internalize norms and values, and thus increase their personal
commitment to social and organizational life. The rational choice perspective, on
the other hand, views informal social mechanisms as a means of enhancing
credible commitment and mutually beneficial gains among individuals. The focus
is on how participants develop trust among themselves and pursue long-term
mutual benefits. (p. 70)

Leadership in Organizations

Staples (1984) states, "the person who acts alone has very little power. When

people join together and organize, they increase their ability to get things done. The goal

is to strengthen their collective capacities to bring about social change" (p. 1).

"Organizations with the broadest base of participation usually develop the best leaders

and, in turn, those leaders help increase membership involvement. Existing leaders and

organizers have the responsibility for expanding the leadership core and motivating,

teaching, and supporting the new people who emerge" (Staples, 1984, p. 129). An

organization's choice not to innovate or change with the times is the largest reason for its

decline. Organizational performance is measured by its development of its people, its

standing, innovation, and its productivity. Changes in population structure and

population dynamics are important trends to watch in the future of organizations, as these

trends will be the cause of an organization to evolve. The populations that comprise the

memberships of organizations are changing and no longer remain as constant as they

once did (Drucker, 2001).

A successful nonprofit organization focuses the organization on action by

defining the strategies needed to accomplish the important goals of the organization. The

most effective nonprofits devote much time on defining the mission of the organization.

They focus objectives that have clear implications for the work of their members, both

their staff and their volunteers (Drucker, 2001).

Northouse (1997) defines leadership as, "a process whereby an individual

influences a group of individuals to achieve a common goal" (p. 3). At the core of

leadership are the ideas that leadership is a process, it involves influence, it occurs within

a group and it involves the attainment of a goal by the group (Northouse, 1997).

An important impediment to achieving leadership effectiveness is a lack of leadership

skill. Skill is needed because the role of the leader is both complex and simple. Simple,

because effectively functioning groups have a natural synergy that gives them momentum

and complex because the relationships with group members are dynamic and constantly

changing, depending on the situation, goals, and the environment (Hersey, Blanchard &

Johnson, 1996).

One of the fastest ways to build leaders in an organization is to train them. The

most effective training takes advantage of the way people learn, from research it is

known that individuals remember 10% of what they hear, 50% of what we see, 70% of

what we say, and 90% of what we hear, see, say, and do (Maxwell, 1995). Leadership

development programs that aid in the assurance of an adequate supply of effective leaders

are a vital and continuing need in communities and organizations across the United States

(Rohs & Langone, 1993). Leadership development builds the capacity of local leaders

and citizens. This means enhancing the potential of individuals to solve problems. It is

done by engaging citizens and organizations to identify needs, resources, and

opportunities (Hustedde & Woodward, 1996).

A major responsibility of an organization is to cultivate leadership skills and pass

on that knowledge to the next generation of leaders. Because of retirement, many

organizations are facing a high turnover rate, which means that the leaders of tomorrow

could look, and think a lot differently, about their commitment and role within the

organization (Eisinger, 2002). Eisinger (2002) continues by stating, "once associations

identify future volunteer leaders, they must offer specific training programs" (p.14).

Much of this training needs to be directed towards those volunteers who are serving on

organizational boards as they sometimes lack the necessary skills to be effective board


Many non-profits have a functioning board. Those that serve on the boards have

a personal commitment to the organization's cause. Most board members should have a

deep knowledge and understanding about the organization. The key to making the board

effective is organizing the work of the board (Drucker, 2001).

The board of an organization should reflect the makeup of the membership, which

includes people of different backgrounds, ethnicities, ages, and interest. If the board has

been homogeneous in the past, it needs to broaden its horizons and welcome new ideas

that emerge from interactions among different groups (Eisinger, 2002).

Tweeten (2002) states, "dynamic, visionary boards are absolutely critical to the

future of nonprofit, service delivery organizations" (p. 1). Twenty-first century boards

are facing inevitable changes as a result of dramatic and continuing societal changes.

These changes include, the way people learn, they way they view authority, philanthropy,

and non-profit organizations, and they way they live, work, and play with emphasis on

self-development, independence, flexibility, rapidly moving technology, and family

(Tweeten, 2002).

In the past, some boards with weak board members may have been able to operate

inefficiently and still get by, but this will not be possible as organizations face the

transformation process that is inevitable if they are to be successful. Boards can no

longer afford to be dysfunctional. There is a dangerous tendency for some boards to be

so attached to their past that they overvalue their history and are reluctant to embrace the

necessary change that will make them effective (Tweeten, 2002).

Organizational Changes for the Future

There are several ways organizations will have to change to remain viable and

effective in the future. Organizations need to realize that there are other ways for the

meaningful involvement of people in their organizations other than on their boards.

Boards will need to be more resourceful and their membership more diverse to accurately

reflect the population they represent. Board members will have to be team players, with

the ability to work effectively in a group. Board members will need to make intense

commitments to their board responsibilities. This commitment may result in board

members cycling in and out appropriately, depending on their available time to be fully

engaged as they serve on the board. Commitments may be shorter but more concentrated

(Tweeten, 2002).

A study by Bright (2001) on the commitment of board members suggested that

individuals believe that commitment among board members is essential to the effective

functioning of boards. When board members served primarily because they had an

emotional attachment to the organization, the board experienced higher performance,

though passions and personal experiences individuals bring to the cause often obscure

objective thinking and may thwart the success of the organization. Research has

suggested that ideal board members are personally affected by the problems) the

organization focuses on. It has also shown that board members who care, but have some

distance from the issue are best because they are able to make difficult decisions for the

good of the organization as a whole, based on facts, not emotions (Bright, 2001).

Whether volunteering on an organizational board or for the organization in

general, it is important that the group has common goals. Hersey et al. (1996) state

"research has consistently shown that group productivity is highest in those groups in

which techniques are used that simultaneously further the attainment of group goals and

bring fulfillment of the needs of individual group members" (p. 363).

The goals of an organization help shape the organizational leaders as do the

context, norms and values of the organization and determine the effectiveness of a group.

Two conditions that face all organizations and their leaders are external adoption and

internal integration. External adaptation is the idea that all organizations fit a context; the

survival of the organization is contingent on the organization's ability to address the

needs and expectations of its environment. Internal integration is the assurance that all

members of the organization value and pursue the goals of the organization (Duke, 1998).

Effective groups are those in which the needs of the group are harmonious with

the needs of the individuals. Individual needs may be different for each group member.

The key to individual needs satisfaction is that those needs are dependent upon the

accomplishment of the group goals. The degree to which individual need satisfaction is

achieved differentiates those effective groups from ineffective ones (Hersey et al., 1996).

The shifting demographic trends may make it necessary for organizations to

modify their approach to volunteerism and how leadership opportunities are structured.

Differing leadership styles need to be considered. Keeping the interest levels high in

volunteers is not achieved by increasing their responsibilities, instead, they need to feel

like the have ownership in the association (Eisinger, 2002).

Those who volunteer are less interested in serving in long-term commitments and

in a designated role for the entire year, and are more willing to work on one project and

see it through to completion. Organizations are learning that the more you give board

members to do, the more they tend not to return (Eisinger, 2002). Washbush (1998)

states, "personal motivation, self-assessment, diagnostic skills coupled with vision, and

the ability to communicate are fundamentally important to one who aspires to have an

impact in the organization" (p. 251).

Sorcher and Brant (2002) state, "homogenous groups often run more smoothly,

but they lack the synergistic power of a diverse team of people with talents, skills, and

characteristics that complement one another" (p. 80). Exceptional leaders are willing to

take risks by picking people who are not like them and who may have different

leadership styles.

There are several trends that need to be addressed by nonprofit boards: (1)

limited availability of board members, (2) lack of preparation of board members, (3) lack

of recruitment strategies, (4) board members who are on too many boards, and (5) board

members who do not understand their roles (Tweeten, 2002). Many organizations do not

have procedures in place to identify or recruit potential leaders. Potential leaders are

sometimes assessed based on hearsay, observations, and insufficient information. The

process of identifying these future leaders is not simple or straightforward as leadership is

a complex, multifaceted capability (Sorcher & Brant, 2002).

Organizations need to consider these trends as many organizations are struggling

with a shortage in leadership, though in these organizations, there may be a lot of

leadership talent that goes unused. Leaders tend to favor other potential leaders with

backgrounds, experiences, and characteristics that are similar to their own. Often

promising potential leaders are overlooked because of differences in gender, race, or

cultural, academic, socioeconomic, or geographical background (Sorcher & Brant, 2002).

Leaders are managers of group dynamics. They are a key component to the

effectiveness of any group. Effective leaders will recognize the variations among

individual members in their abilities and willingness to do a job and assign work roles

accordingly. Effective leaders are sensitive to the natural cycle of commitment to long-

term projects and provide the necessary support to sustain commitment over prolonged

periods (Garkovich, 1984).

"If we assume that leaders are made, not born, and that most people have within

them the basic skills and abilities to assume leadership positions, then one strategy for

local capacity building is to promote the emergence of such individuals" (Garkovich,

1984, p. 209). This can be done through organized leadership development programs.

A climate needs to be generated in an organization where the members feel that

they are heard, supported, and have a sense that the organization is open to new ideas.

This generates interest and encourages the members to stay involved (Eisinger, 2002).

Organizations need to retain its volunteers to remain effective and viable into the future.

Effective leadership combines both altruism and authority. It is respectful of the

need for individual interests and also considerate of the common good (Scott, 2000).

Scott (2000) defines altruism as "caring for the welfare of others; it is the ability to be

concerned about the condition or state of being of another human and to acknowledge

and meet the needs of the other" (p. 23). Authority is the degree of power exercised by

an individual, organization, or group in order to perform important functions to those

over which the authority is exercised. These concepts build into the ideas of social

capital and civic engagement, which will be examined in the next section.

Summary of organizational leadership

The strength of an organization is a direct result of the organization's leadership.

The growth of an organization depends on retaining members and recruiting new ones.

Individuals will continue to be involved in an organization if they feel they are

participating in something important and exciting. Individuals are attracted to

organizations because of the prospects of being victorious on an issue they have a stake

in. An organization has the responsibility to provide leadership development

opportunities to individuals to further develop their leadership skills.

Social Capital

Social capital is a collective concept that has its basis in individual behavior,

attitudes, and predispositions. Multiple institutions nurture the habits and values that give

rise to social capital, including community and other voluntary associations, families,

church organizations, and cultural patterns. Scholarly interest in the development of

social capital is motivated primarily by the linkage between levels of social capital and

collective outcomes (Brehm & Rahn, 1997, p. 999).

The more citizens participate in organizations and their communities, the more

they learn to trust others; the greater the trust of others, and the more likely they are to

participate. Social capital is the reciprocal relationship between civic participation and

interpersonal trust. Brehm and Rahn (1997) believe that, "civic engagement and

generalized trust, and the dynamic that sustains them, have important consequences for

the polity, specifically, citizens' confidence in political institutions" (p. 1003).

According to Garkovich (1984), associations and organizations, "provide the locus in

which individual interests are articulated and translated into action goals, and humans and

other resources are mobilized for goal accomplishment" (p. 199).

Scheufele and Shah (2000) propose that the process through which social capital

is maintained is a three-way relationship among civic engagement (group memberships

and civic participation), life satisfaction (contentment with respect to present condition

and future prospects), and interpersonal trust. The theory of social capital presumes that

the more people connect with each other, the more they trust each other. Civic

engagement refers to people's connections with the life of their communities (Scheufele

& Shah, 2000).

In the social field paradigm, social action is the pivotal element. It is in social

action that various individuals and associations come to orient their activities around

overlapping interests (Garkovich, 1984). Christenson and Robinson (1989) discuss social

action as the key component in the social field paradigm. The underlying process of the

social action framework, is one in which associations are linked through common

interests to act together toward mutually defined goals. The process depends on effective

leadership, leadership that can anticipate change, identify action programs, contribute to

informed decisions, stimulate support, attract resources, and manage group behavior.

Leadership involves both the ability to organize and sustain task performance and arouse

or stimulate others to join in the task (Garkovich, 1984; Christenson & Robinson, Jr.,


An essential characteristic of a properly functioning society is engagement in

civic activities because cooperative actions enable citizens to efficiently pursue common

goals. Self-confident leaders are more trusting in other people, they are satisfied with

their life and their achievements, and they are more likely to engage in various forms of

community activities. A grassroots political movement is a social capital-intensive form

of political participation (Scheufele & Shah, 2000).

The trend in civic engagement, shown by membership records of organizations,

has declined by roughly 25 to 50% over the last three decades. There are many reasons

why social capital has eroded: time pressures, economic hard times, residential mobility,

surbanization, movement of women to the paid work force, disruption of marriage and

family times, the electronic revolution and other technological changes. A social trend

which influences social capital and coincides with the downturn in civic engagement is

the breakdown of the traditional family unit. Since the family is a key form of social

capital, its eclipse is part of the explanation for the reduction in joining and trusting in the

wider community (Scheufele & Shah, 2000).

Married men and women do rank higher on measures of social capital. Men and

women, divorced, separated, and never-married, are significantly less trusting and less

engaged civically than married people. Married men and women are a third more

trusting and belong to about 15 to 25% more groups than comparable single men and

women. Women belong to fewer voluntary organizations then men and older people

belong to more organizations than young people (Scheufele & Shah, 2000).

Social capital is features of life, networks, norms, and trust that enable

participants to act together to more effectively pursue shared objectives (Scheufele &

Shah, 2000). It has been shown that a greater number of social ties increased the

likelihood that a group will be more successful in organizing for concerted action

(O'Brien, Hassinger, Brown & Pinkerton, 1991). Social capital is important when

discussing agricultural organizations as social capital has strong influences in these


Summary of Social Capital

Social capital is the reciprocal relationship between civic participation and

interpersonal trust. It presumes that the more people connect with each other, the more

they trust each other. From this theory comes the notion of social action in which

individuals and groups orient their activities around overlapping interest. There has been

a decline in social capital because of time pressures, difficult economic times and

changes in the family structure. This has caused a decline in civic participation.

Agricultural Leadership

When discussing leadership in agricultural organizations, the leaders have

traditionally been male. With recent demographic shifts in the volunteers of

organizations, more women will become a part of these organizations, but to understand

agriculture and agricultural organizations, it is important to look at the past and the

influence that men have had on these organizations.

Family farmers lack the power of individual survival almost by their very nature.

The reason lies in the psychology of the individual farmer, whose concentration on his

own operation tends to distract him from concern for factors that affect farming as a

whole. This has been referred to as family farming's "non-instinct for self-preservation"

(Breimyer & Frederick, 1999).

Men are driven to succeed, with their masculinity tied to career success and the

ability to be the breadwinner and provide for their family. They are likely to be

supportive of Type A behavior, which reveres rationality and tough-mindedness. Men

show that they are in command of the situation and carry out tasks with confidence, even

when those tasks seem insurmountable (Lindsey, 1994).

Weigel (2003) theorizes that growing up male is "often characterized by an

emphasis on independence, competition, emotional restraint, and maintaining the upper

hand in relationships." Beliefs about how men ought to behave are constructed at many

levels in society and in the minds of men. This masculine identity is generated by the

media, teachers, historians, parents, and public figures and dominates how men think

about themselves. Men in any subgroup, such as farmers, tend to share the same cultural

history and have similar notions about behavior. This identity leads to four traditional

attitudes about masculinity: (1) men should not be feminine, (2) men should strive to be

respected for successful achievement, (3) men should never show weakness, and (4) men

should seek adventure and risk (Weigel, 2003). In addition to looking at the psychology

of men, investigating leadership in other agricultural organizations is important in this

review of literature, as it could possibly be a basis for leadership development in other

agricultural organizations.

Kajer (1996) conducted a study with nine agricultural leaders in Minnesota

regarding their leadership experiences. Kajer found that volunteer leaders in agricultural

organizations define their leadership in a range of processes and roles, with the most

important being facilitating group cooperation and decisions. These leaders are

concerned with the struggle to maintain and build memberships, and find and develop

future leaders for agricultural organizations. With state level volunteer positions,

volunteer leadership in agricultural organizations can result in large sacrifices by the

individual in lost time with family and business and unreimbursed expenses in time and

travel. Those who do take leadership positions become energized by the experience and

dedicate much time to the organization during their key leadership position years.

Volunteer leaders believe that their leadership experiences made their lives fuller,

increased their self-esteem and expanded their horizons (Kajer, 1996).

In a study of volunteer leaders in agricultural organizations, the motivations to

serve in leadership roles in agricultural organizations were found to be a concern for

people, the responsibility to support their profession, it's something they believe in, it's

an outlet for their talents, it's a source of enjoyment and satisfaction, it's their duty to use

their talents in service to others, and they believe they owe it to their industry (Kajer,


In Kajer's study of volunteer leaders (1996), the importance of being asked to

take on a particular leadership role was emphasized. When individuals are asked to

serve, it affirms the confidence of others in their leadership abilities, which also raises

their individual self-confidence and firms their resolve not to let the people down who

asked them. Those that participated in this study felt that the "asking" could be improved

by treating it as a grooming process for leadership rather than a single request.

Respondents to the study of volunteer leaders in agricultural organizations felt

there is little involvement of women in most agricultural organizations as active members

and especially as leaders. There is a great deal of leadership potential being wasted with

the absence of women. Increased involvement of women would increase the pool of

leaders and make available the special talents and interests that women have. The "good

old boys network" continues to be a barrier for women with the stereotyping of women's

roles continued to be reinforced by both genders at the family, community, and

organization levels. A general consensus has been found that the process of breaking

down gender barriers is slower in rural communities and organizations than in society as

a whole (Kajer, 1996).

There are issues that will affect agricultural organizations and their leaders now

and in the future. One set of issues revolves around the trend to larger and fewer farms

and the effect this has on rural communities, agricultural organizations and on

agriculture's influence. Another set of issues are the challenges of technology and

information overload to members in the agricultural community especially those older

members who are not as comfortable working within technology. Leaders will need a

broader perspective on the world in the future and how agriculture fits into this larger

picture (Kajer, 1996).

Summary of Agricultural Leadership

The leaders of agricultural organizations have traditionally been male, but more

women are becoming involved in agricultural organizations and in leadership roles in

these organizations. A study conducted with leaders of agricultural organizations found

that agricultural leaders are concerned with maintaining and building memberships and

finding and developing future leaders for the organization. Changes in agriculture,

technology and demographics are issues that will affect agricultural organizations in the



This chapter focused on the areas of literature important to this study, which were:

history of Farm Bureau and agricultural organizations, political interest groups,

grassroots organizations, motivations of volunteers, organizational leadership, social

capital and agricultural leadership.

Farm Bureau is the largest general agricultural organization that represents

farmers throughout the United States and Puerto Rico. It has been representing the needs

of its members for one hundred years through grassroots efforts that begin with members

at the county level. Because of the changes in agriculture and the prominence of

commodity organizations that serve specific segments of the agricultural industry, Farm

Bureau needs to find ways to recruit, retain, and encourage its members to take on

additional leadership roles within the Farm Bureau organization.

An understanding of volunteers and what motivates individuals to join

organizations and assume roles in those organizations is necessary for organizations in

order for those organizations to more effectively utilize their volunteers and make their

efforts productive. Individuals need to identify with the organization and its members

and feel that they are accomplishing organizational objectives. Organizations should

realize that they are competing with other time pressures on an individual and should

consider restructuring volunteer tasks to meet the needs of the volunteer.

Another factor in an individual's likelihood to join and participate in an

organization is the organization itself and the leadership that guides it. Organizations

should develop the leadership within to produce new leaders for tomorrow and to

increase the leadership skills of existing leaders to make their organizations more

effective. One way to do this is to offer leadership development opportunities and

leadership training to individuals in the organization.

Agricultural organizations need to consider the motivations of volunteers and

their organizational leadership as agriculture is facing many changes, such as farm sizes,


technology and shifts in demographics. If these organizations do not take measures to

evolve with these changes, they may not remain productive and viable in the future.


Chapter 1 provided an introduction and the background of this study of the

leadership expectations and perceptions of Florida Farm Bureau members, especially

those who serve (or who may serve) on their local county boards. An overview of the

methodology used in this study, delimitations of the study, and definitions of key terms

are outlined in this chapter.

A thorough review of relevant literature was provided in Chapter 2. This

literature focused on areas which included: history of Farm Bureau and agricultural

organizations, political interest groups, grassroots organizations, volunteer motivations,

organizational leadership, social capital and agricultural leadership.

This chapter explains the methodology and data analysis used in this study. The

objectives that were identified in this study were: (1) identify selected demographics of

county Farm Bureau membership, (2) identify perceived leadership roles of county Farm

Bureau leaders by the state Farm Bureau leadership, (3) measure the extent to which

county Farm Bureau members practice the leadership expectations held by state Farm

Bureau leaders and the level of importance they assign to those skills, (4) determine

leadership attitude, will, and desire of active Florida Farm Bureau members, and (5)

determine reason why local Farm Bureau members chose to participate or not participate

in leadership roles in local county Farm Bureau boards.

In this chapter the research design used, the populations who participated in the

study, the procedures used for data collection and the statistics used to analyze the data

are described.

Research Design

The research design of this study was a three-part assessment of the Florida Farm

Bureau and its membership using both qualitative and quantitative research methods.

The three parts of this study included:

1. A qualitative long interview of members of the state leadership of the FFBF. This
interview was the first part of the study and provided the foundation for the
leadership competency instrument given to county Farm Bureau board members.
Interview questions included their expectations of desired leadership practices and
behaviors of local board members and their expectations of what county Farm
Bureau boards should accomplish. The information provided in these interviews
accomplished the second objective of this study.

2. A quantitative survey instrument was developed by the researcher, based upon
findings from the qualitative interview and given to a random sample of members
of local Farm Bureau boards. This instrument had a list of 66 leadership
competencies, derived from the qualitative long interviews, which were divided into
four sections and each respondent rated their perceived importance and proficiency
of each. This instrument was used to accomplish the third objective of this study.

3. A quantitative leadership behavior instrument developed by the researcher and
administered to active Farm Bureau members. This instrument measured
respondent attitude/will/desire regarding leadership to determine if leadership
apathy exists. Objectives four and five were accomplished by this instrument.

A demographic section was included at the end of both quantitative instruments to

collect personal information about survey respondents. This information was used to

accomplish the first objective of this study.

Quantitative research uses objective measurement and numerical analysis of data

to explain the causes of changes in social phenomena. Qualitative research, seeks to

understand a social phenomenon through the researcher's total immersion in the situation.

Quantitative research seeks to explain, while qualitative research is more concerned with

understanding (Ary, Jacobs, and Razavieh, 1996).

Denzin and Lincoln (1994) offer a generic definition of qualitative research as

multimethod in focus, involving an interpretive, naturalistic approach to its subject

matter. Qualitative researchers study subjects in their natural settings, attempting to

make sense of, or interpret, phenomena in terms of the meaning people bring to them. It

involves the studies use and collection of a variety of empirical materials-case study,

personal experience, introspective, life stories, interviews, observational, historical,

interactional, and visual texts that describe routine and problematic moments and

meanings in individuals' lives.

Qualitative research does not have a distinct set of methods that are entirely its

own. Researchers in this field use semiotics, narrative, content, discourse, archival, and

phonemic analysis, and even statistics (Denzin and Lincoln, 1994). In reporting

qualitative data, one includes conceptual and theoretical framework, purpose and

questions, research methodologies, findings, and a discussion section (Rudd, 1998).

Qualitative studies seek to answer questions that stress how social experience is created

and given meaning (Denzin and Lincoln, 1994).

Ary et al., (1996) state that both qualitative and quantitative research aim at a type

of scientific explanation that includes the discovery of and appeal to laws-laws that

govern the behavior of the physical world and human behavior. Rudd (1998) describes

the attributes of qualitative research as providing a deep understanding of what is being

researched, generating a deeper understanding of the phenomena, and providing another

perspective for research. In qualitative research, researchers seek to interpret human

actions, institutions, events, and customs and in doing so, they construct a "reading" or

portrayal of what is being studied. The ultimate goal is to portray the complex pattern of

what is being studied in sufficient depth and detail so that one who has not experienced it

can understand it (Ary et al., 1996).

Survey research can be classified as quantitative research in which instruments

such as questionnaires are used to gather information from groups of subjects. Surveys

are used to measure attitudes and opinions of respondents and are widely used in the

social sciences (Ary et al., 1996). Regardless of whether a survey is qualitative or

quantitative, it must be reliable (consistent) and valid (accurate) to ensure the accuracy

and truthfulness of the findings.

Ary et al., (1996) describe validity as the extent to which an instrument measures

what it is intended to measure. Reliability is the extent to which a measuring device is

consistent in measuring whatever it measures. Vogt (1999) defines validity as a term

used to describe a measurement instrument or test that accurately measures what it is

suppose to measure. Reliability is defined as the freedom from measurement or random

error. For qualitative data, the measurement instrument is said to be reliable when

repeated measures of the same thing give identical or similar results. This reliability can

be measured for the quantitative data using statistical software packages.

A long interview made up the first phase of the study. Long interviews are a

more formal, orderly interview process that the researcher can direct to a range of

intentions (Glesne, 1999). Researchers ask questions in the context of purposes generally

known only to themselves, while the respondents, who possess the information the

researchers are seeking, answer the questions in the context of dispositions (motives,

values, concerns, needs) that the researchers need to unravel to clarify the words that their

questions generated. Long interviews can be the basis for later data collection (which is

the case for this research project) as in the form of a questionnaire, which is the next step

outlined in this process (Glesne, 1999).

Long interviews were chosen as they yield a high percentage of returns, as people

are willing to cooperate with the research agenda. Information derived from interviews is

likely to be correct than data obtained by other sources as the interviewer can clear up

inaccurate answers by explaining the questions more thoroughly (Miller, 1991). This

method is also advantageous as the researcher can chose and control those who answers

the questions, important in this study as the state Farm Bureau organization initiated this

needs assessment, so it is important to obtain the ideas and thoughts of the state

leadership of this organization.

The qualitative interviews of the state Farm Bureau leadership underwent content

analysis to provide the information used in the qualitative instrument given to county

board members. Interviewing can be used to produce data for academic analysis and for

the purpose of measurement or for understanding of an individual or group perspective.

It is used as an attempt to understand the complex behavior of individuals without

imposing any categorization that may limit the field of inquiry (Fontana & Frey, 1994).

Keppel and Zedeck (1989) describe content analysis as an examination of spoken or

written material for the purpose of classifying or coding of the information. Content

analysis is a quantitatively oriented technique by which standardized measurements are

used to characterize and compare documents (Manning & Cullum-Swan, 1994).

There were several steps in the content analysis of these interview questionnaires.

The first step was the complete transcription of the seven interviews. The responses for

each question were then grouped together. From the groups of responses for each

question, four themes emerged. Responses were then grouped into these four theme

areas and from there, the duplicate responses were eliminated. From the remaining

responses in each area, the competencies were derived from the responses for the county

board member instrument.

The quantitative portion of this study utilized survey research methods, with the

first part a questionnaire developed from the responses of the long interviews and

administered to county Farm Bureau board members. An additional leadership behavior

instrument was developed to examine leadership attitude/will/desire within members.

This instrument was administered to a sample of active Florida Farm Bureau members.

Ary et al., (1996) describe a survey as a research technique in which data are

gathered by asking questions of a group of individuals called respondents. Survey

research asks questions about the nature, incidence, or distribution of variables and/or the

relationships among those variables. No manipulation is attempted on the variables, only

descriptions of variables and their relationships as they naturally occur.

All three survey instruments used in this study were pilot tested to ensure validity.

Pilot tests are a form ofpre-testing in which subjects from the sample population are

given the instrument and provide feedback to determine if the instrument is measuring

what it is suppose to measure (Black, 1999). Members of the pilot test groups were taken

from the same as the groups who would be receiving the three individual instruments.

Findings of this study determined what Farm Bureau is doing and what it needs to

do to make local board members more effective in their county Farm Bureau's and also

in their communities. The findings will be used as the state Farm Bureau organization is

interested in developing a leadership program for its members, especially those serving

on the local county boards. Results of this study will provide the state organization with

the information needed to develop programs tailored to the needs of members.

Research Context

This study took place in several locations and covered a five-month period, from

January 2004 to May 2004. The development of the interview schedule occurred in early

January and was completed early February 2004. The survey instrument developed from

these interviews was pilot tested in March, then sent out to all local board members at the

end of March 2004. The third and final part of this study, the leadership behavior

instrument was developed and pilot tested in March 2004 and then was mailed to a

sample of Florida Farm Bureau active members in late March 2004 with the responses

collected until the middle of May 2004.

Research Participants

For this study, one population, the Florida Farm Bureau organization, was used.

Three subsets of this population were included in this population. The first subset was

the leadership of the FFBF, which included: the president of the board of directors,

administrative and legal counsel, director of the agricultural policy division, director of

public relations, the vice president of the board of directors, the coordinator of national

affairs, and the executive director of the Dade County Farm Bureau. These individuals

participated in the first part of this study, individual interviews using a long interview

format. These interviews asked the organizational leaders to explain what they expect

from county board members and what they want these board members and county boards

to accomplish.

The second subset of the population was composed of members of local county

Farm Bureau boards. A sample of this sub-population completed the survey derived from

the state leader responses to the interview questionnaires. This portion of the study

determined existing board member leadership behavior. Salant and Dillman (1994)

describe how a sample size is chosen. There are approximately 666 county Farm Bureau

board members in Florida (FFBF, 2004). Using a table provided by Salant and Dillman

(1994), the researcher chose a 50/50 split with a 5% sampling error, a sample of 279

individuals was chosen (p. 55). The researcher was given the names and addresses of all

county board members and randomly chose 279 participants to receive the survey. They

were chosen through a process of systematic sampling, with the first element in the

sample chosen from a random numbers table. After that number was chosen, every other

individual on the list was included in the survey.

The third subset of the population was a sample of active Florida Farm Bureau

members. The researcher was given a computer generated random list of active members

and mailed surveys to 419 of these members. In this study, one of the subsets of the

population was the active members of Florida Farm Bureau. The size of this subset is

36,100 (P. Cockrell, personal communication, September 10, 2002). Using a 50/50 split

with a 5% sampling error, 419 members of this subpopulation were selected to

participate in this part of the study.

The basic survey procedure outlined in Salant and Dillman (1994) was used for

the data collection of the two subset populations of board members and active members.

This survey procedure is comprised of four separate mailings. The first is a personalized,

advance notice letter, which is mailed to all members of the sample. This letter explained

to the individuals that they were selected for the survey and that they will be receiving a

questionnaire. The second mailing was mailed a week later. It included a personalized

cover letter, which explained the survey, their rights as survey subjects, a survey

instrument, and a stamped return envelope. Exactly six days after the second mailing, a

postcard was sent to each participant thanking those who had sent back their survey and

requesting a response from those who had not yet responded. Three weeks after the

second mailing a third mailing was sent out to all those who had not responded. It

included a personalized letter again explaining the importance of their returning the

survey, a replacement survey, and another stamped return envelope.

This procedure was used to produce an acceptable response rate so as to try to

avoid nonresponse error. The response rate for the qualitative interview was 100%, 46%

for county board members, and 25% for active members. As Ary, Jacobs, and Razavieh

(1996) state "using information only from those who choose to respond can introduce

error, because the respondents represent a self-selected group that may not represent the

views of the entire sample or population" (p. 460). Research has shown that respondents

differ from nonrespondents and the extent of this difference should be determined. For

this study, early and late respondents were compared as late respondents are similar to

those who do not respond at all (Ary, Jacobs, & Razavieh, 1996). Those who responded

to the survey early (after the first survey was sent to them) were compared to those who

responded late (after the follow-up survey was sent). Differences were examined in the

responses of these groups to determine if there were any significant differences between

the responses, the differences examined include survey responses and demographic

information. There were no significant differences found in the surveys of the early and

late respondents, which indicates that it was an unbiased sample of recipients.

Instruments Used in Data Collection

Three instruments were used in the data collection for this study. The first was an

interview questionnaire found in Appendix C. This questionnaire was developed by the

researcher and sought to determine the competencies and skills that were perceived by

the leadership of the state Farm Bureau organization as necessary leadership attributes

that local county board members should have to make them effective members of their

county boards. These questions also were used to determine from the state leadership the

perceived needs of the county boards, the perceived needs of the Farm Bureau

organization, and the needs of Farm Bureau members. There were 16 questions used for

this interview and based on interviews with Farm Bureau leadership and from a review of

the literature.

This instrument was evaluated by a panel of experts for content and validity and

pilot tested with a comparable group of leaders from two other state Farm Bureaus.

These pilot tests were conducted over the telephone and lasted approximately one hour.

The interviews were transcribed by the researcher and analyzed for content. Minor

changes were made to the interview questionnaire from the results of the pilot test.

This questionnaire was administered by the researcher to leaders of the Florida

Farm Bureau organization. Five of these interviews took place in person in the state

Farm Bureau headquarters in Gainesville, Florida and two took place by telephone, and

all were recorded for later transcription. This transcription occurred soon after the

interviews and themes were examined in the responses. Four themes emerged from these

interviews and served as a basis for the instrument that was developed for county board


The second instrument was developed by the researcher from the responses of the

long interviews. Respondents of this survey questionnaire (Appendix D) were local Farm

Bureau county board members. This instrument was pilot tested with a group of county

board members who were not included in the final sample. From the content analysis of

the long interviews with state Farm Bureau officials, a list of 100 competencies were

identified in four areas: leadership, political process, knowledge of Farm Bureau, and

effective boards. Participants were asked to rate the importance of each competency to

the success of a county board using a Likert scale ranging from 1 (low importance) to 7

(high importance). In addition, how proficient they felt they were, was also rated on a

Likert scale ranging from 1 (low importance) to 7 (high importance). After pilot testing

this instrument and analyzing the data, the list of competencies was reduced to 66 across

the four construct areas. A conceptual model for this part of the study depicting the

relationship between the competencies found in the first part of the study and what makes

a successful board member is presented in Figure 3-1. This model represents that being a

successful board member is a function of competencies in the four theme areas.

Competencies In:
SBM f (L, + Pc + Ec + K)
Successful Leadership Political Effective Knowledge
Board Member Process Boards of Farm Bureau
Figure 3-1. Competencies Necessary for Successful Board Members.

The third instrument (Appendix E) used in this study was a leadership behavior

instrument which was composed of three parts: a motivation sources inventory, a

semantic differential scale to measure volunteering attitudes, and a Likert scale inventory

to assess respondents' desire about serving on a county board. The motivation sources

inventory was developed by Barbuto and Scholl (1998) and measures the sources of

motivation. The authors developed this inventory to predict behaviors of individuals and

it was used in this context as a factor that contributes to members will to serve (or not to

serve) on their county Farm Bureau boards.

Because county board members are volunteers, a semantic differential was

constructed to obtain participants' attitudes on volunteering. Vogt (1999) defines a

semantic differential scale as "a question format in an interview or survey in which

respondents are asked to locate their attitudes on a scale ranging between opposite

positions on a particular issue" (p. 261). This scale is a combination of scaling

procedures and controlled association that provides the subject with a concept, in this

case volunteering, to be differentiated and a set of bipolar adjectival scales against which

to do it. The participant is asked to indicate for each item, the direction of their

association and its intensity on a seven-step scale (Osgood, Suci, & Tannenbaum, 1971.)

Twelve adjective pairs were used in the semantic differential used in this scale.

The third part of this instrument was a Likert scale, which measured participants'

desire about serving on their local county Farm Bureau boards. This part of the

researcher-developed instrument consisted of twelve statements which participants were

asked to rate from 1 (strongly disagree) to 7 (strongly agree).

From the literature, motivation factors, attitudes on volunteering and demographic

variables have been identified as influences on participation in organizations and whether

individuals will step forth for additional leadership responsibilities within these

organizations. These contribute to the attitude/will/desire that was measured by this

instrument in the third part of this study. A conceptual model which represents this part

of the study is provided in Figure 3-2. In this model, leadership is a function of

motivation factors, volunteering attitudes, a desire to serve and demographic variables.

L f(M + V + S + D)
(Leadership) Motivation Factors Volunteering Desire Demographic
Attitudes to Serve Variables
Internal Self-Concept Evaluative Gender
External Self-Concept Potency Age
Intrinsic Process Activity Marital Status
Instrumental Children
Belong to Orgs.
(Will) (Attitude) (Desire)

Figure 3-2. Factors which Influence Individuals Participation in Leadership
Data Analysis

An informed consent letter for study participants and a proposal of this study was

submitted to the University of Florida Institutional Review Board (IRB) for their review.

The IRB approved the proposal for this study and the instruments that were used to

collect data (Protocol #2003-U-992). A copy of the informed consent letter was signed

by interviewees before they participated in the long interviews. For the other two

participant groups, they were informed of their rights as research subjects in a letter they

received explaining the survey and the importance of their participation. Data collection

began once IRB approved this study.

Various methods of data collection and analyses were conducted in this study.

Responses from the long interviews underwent content analysis. McCracken (1988)

described the qualitative researcher's goal in long interviews is to isolate and define

categories during the process of research. Patterns of interrelationships between

categories are examined. Using the same interview questions for each respondent

ensures that the investigator covers all the terrain in the same order for each respondent.

The first step in this analysis was the transcription of the interview answers. The object

of this analysis was to determine the relationships, categories and assumptions that

inform the respondent's view of the world in general and the topic in particular

(McCracken, 1988). The analysis conducted identified themes in the responses that were

subsequently used in the development of the competencies used in the survey instrument

given to local county board members. The information provided by this content analysis

was used in objective two; identify perceived leadership roles of county Farm Bureau

leaders by the state Farm Bureau leadership.

Data analysis of the two survey instruments was used to explain and predict

leader involvement. The demographic information collected from both surveys was used

to accomplish the first research objective, identify demographics of county Farm Bureau

members. Independent variables, age, gender, years of membership in Farm Bureau,

membership in other agricultural organizations, membership in other organizations,

membership in leadership and youth development organizations, marital status, children,

agricultural income and farm size was analyzed. Selected independent variables were

used with other data as predictors of participation on county Farm Bureau boards.

The leadership competency instrument that was developed for county board

members was used to accomplish objective three, measure the extent to which county

Farm Bureau members practice the leadership expectations held by state Farm Bureau

leaders and the level of importance they assign to those skills. This instrument was

comprised of four competency sections: (1) 15 leadership, (2) 20 political process, (3) 15

effective boards, and (4) 16 knowledge of Farm Bureau. The mean and standard

deviation was calculated for the importance and proficiency of each competency section.

Determine leadership attitude, will, and desire of active Florida Farm Bureau

members was accomplished in objective four, by analyzing the data of each section of the

instrument. A mean and standard deviation was found for the motivation sources

inventory and the semantic differential. A reliability analysis was conducted on the

Likert scale about perceptions of serving on county boards.

Multiple linear regression was used in the accomplishment of objective five,

determine reason why local Farm Bureau members chose to participate or not participate

in leadership roles in local county Farm Bureau boards. Vogt (1999) describes regression

analysis as a predictor for whether something will happen or not, such as graduation,

business failure, or in this case, participation on a county board. Regression is used to

determine the nature of the relationship between a dependent variable and more than one

independent variable (Black, 1999). For this analysis, the dependent variable is

participation on a county board, and the independent variables are: the four motivation

factors from the motivation sources inventory, the three factors about attitude on

volunteering from the semantic differential, attitude about serving on a county board, and

the following demographic variables: motivation internal self-concept factor, evaluative

volunteering factor, activity volunteering factor, belonging to other organizations,

children, member of 4-H, member of other youth development organizations,

participation in leadership development programs, and agricultural income from



This chapter explained the research methods that were used in this research design

conducted for the FFBF. This study was conducted in three-parts, which included: long

interviews, a leadership instrument developed from these interviews, and a leadership

behavior instrument developed to measure leadership attitude/will/desire. Demographic

information was also collected from individuals which was used to in the data analysis.

Results of these methods will be presented in the next chapter.


This study examined the need for individuals to step forward and assume

leadership positions within a changing agricultural industry. The purpose of this study

was to examine the leadership expectations and perceptions of Florida Farm Bureau


Chapter one provided the background to this study, the problem statement, and

significance of this study, definitions of key terms and several limitations to the study.

The objectives of the study were: (1) identify demographics of county Farm Bureau

membership, (2) identify perceived leadership roles of county Farm Bureau leaders by

the state Farm Bureau leadership, (3) measure the extent to which county Farm Bureau

members practice the leadership expectations held by state Farm Bureau leaders, (4)

determine leadership attitude, will, and desire of active Florida Farm Bureau members,

and (5) determine reason why local Farm Bureau members chose to participate or not

participate in leadership roles in local county Farm Bureau boards.

The theoretical and conceptual framework for this study was found in Chapter

two. This framework focused on research in seven areas: the history of the Farm Bureau

and other agricultural organizations, political interest groups, grassroots organizations,

organizational leadership, motivations of volunteers, social capital and agricultural


The research methodology used in this study was described in Chapter three. The

research design, research participants, instruments used in data collection and data

analysis procedures were described.

This chapter will present the findings of the study, which are organized in order of

the research objectives.

Objective One
Identify Demographics of County Farm Bureau Membership

Results from the demographic information section found at the end of each of the

quantitative instruments (Appendices D-E) are reported separately for the two groups due

to differences found between the demographic variables of active members and county

board members. Please note the change in population number (n) for each table. Several

respondents in both groups did not fill out portions of the demographic information

sections found in both instruments. The total number of board members who responded

to the survey was 129 (46%) and the total number of active members was 104 (25%).

Table 4-1 provides information on gender, marital status and children of

participants in both groups. Of the 129 board members who responded to this survey,

88.4% (n=114) were male and 11.6% (n=15) were female. For the active survey, of the

100 who completed this demographic variable, 69% (n=69) were male and 31% (n=31)

were female. According to the 2002 Census ofAgriculture, 11% of principal operators

on farms were women, while 89% were men (USDA, 2004). Those numbers reflect the

county board members who responded to the survey.

Married board members made up 86% (n=l 11) of the board member population.

Single board members accounted for 14% (n=18) of the population. Of the active

members who participated in the study, 68.3% (n=69) were married.

Large percentages of both groups had children, 93.8% (n=121) for board

members and 84.2% (n=85) for active members. When combined, 90% (n=206) of

respondents to both surveys had children.

Table 4-1 Demographic Variables for Gender, Marital Status, & Children of Active and
Board Members (N=233)
Board (N=129) Active (N=104) Total (N=233)
n % n % n %
Male 114 88.4 69 69 183 80
Female 15 11.6 31 31 46 20

Married 111 86 69 68.3 180 78
Single 18 14 32 31.7 50 22

Children 121 93.8 85 84.2 206 90
No Children 8 6.2 16 15.8 24 10
Note: Missing variables (Active = 4)

Those who serve on Farm Bureau boards have been a Farm Bureau member for

an average of 21.4 years. The average number of years in Farm Bureau for active

members who completed this survey was 14.5 years. Years of membership in Farm

Bureau can be found in Table 4-2.

Table 4-2 Years of Membership in Farm Bureau for Active and Board Members (N=220)
Board Active
(n=125) (n=95)
Mean 21.4 14.5
Minimum 1 .30
Maximum 62 64

% %
Member for 0-10 years 33.6 50.5
Member for 11 to 25 years 33.6 37.9
Member for 26 to 64 years 32.8 11.6
Note: Missing variables (Board = 4; Active = 9)

Board members who have belonged to Farm Bureau for zero to ten years is 33.6%

(n=42), while 50.5% (n=48) of active members have belonged to Farm Bureau for this

time range. Those who have been a member for 11 to 25 years are 33.6% (n=42) for

board members and 37.9% (n=36) for active members. The third range of membership,

26 to 64 years, has 32.8% (n=41) of board members and 11.6% (n= 11) of active

members. A graphic representation for years of membership in Farm Bureau for both

groups can be found in Figure 4-1.

5 20





0 0 0 0 40 50 60 0 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70
Active Members Board Members
Figure 4-1. Comparisons of Years of Membership in Farm Bureau (Active N=95,
M=14.50, SD=11.90; Board N=125, M=21.38, SD=14.94)

Family involvement in Farm Bureau was also examined with 73.4% (n=91) of

board members indicating that they were part of another generation of Farm Bureau as

their family had been involved in Farm Bureau, while only 17% (n=17) of active

members indicated that their family was involved in Farm Bureau. Table 4-3 represents

the involvement of family in Farm Bureau and demonstrates that board members have a

much greater percentage of family who have been involved in Farm Bureau than active


Table 4-3 Family Involved in Farm Bureau for Active and Board Members (N=224)
Board Active
(n=124) (n=100)
% %
Family Involved
Yes 73.4 17.0
No 26.6 83

Family Involved in FB from 0 to 25 Years 56.2 92.8
Family Involved in FB from 26 to 50 Years 40 5.1
Family Involved in FB from 51 to 80 Years 3.8 2.1
Note: Missing variables (Board = 5; Active = 4)

On average, Farm Bureau board members spend 8.4 hours per month on Farm

Bureau activities, which includes participating in meetings, activities, events and

conventions and reading information in support of these activities. Active members

spend considerably less time than board members, only a quarter of an hour per month on

average. Farm Bureau board members attended, on average, 11.7 Farm Bureau events in

the past year, while active members only attended an average of 0.3 events for the past

year. Table 4-4 represents the time devoted and events attended for both groups.

Table 4-4 Time Devoted to Farm Bureau for Active and Board Members (N=215)
Board Active
(n=123) (n=92)
Mean Number of Hours Per Month 8.4 0.4
Minimum Number of Hours Per Month 0 0
Maximum Number of Hours Per Month 82 8

Mean Number of FB Events Attended Last Year 11.7 0.3
Minimum Number of FB Events Attended Last Year 2 0
Maximum Number of FB Events Attended Last Years 40 6
Note: Missing variables (Board = 6; Active = 12)

There were several demographic questions that were only asked of county board

members. These questions reflected their length of time on their county board, if they

had been president of their county Farm Bureau board and if they had been on the Florida

Farm Bureau Federation board. Table 4-5 represents the first of these questions for board

members, the length of time (in years) they have served on their county boards. County

board members have served an average of 11.5 years on their county boards. This table

shows that over 60% of county board members have been on their boards for up to ten

years, while over 14% have been on their board for longer then twenty years.

Table 4-5 Length of Time (in years) on Farm Bureau Board (N=126)
Mean 11.5
Minimum 0.5
Maximum 54

n %
0.5 to 5 Years 53 42.1
6 to 10 Years 25 19.8
11 to 15 Years 18 14.3
16 to 20 Years 12 9.5
20 and More Years 18 14.3
Note: Missing variables (Board = 3)

One-third of county board members have served as president of their county Farm

Bureau board 33.6% (n=43) and less then 10% (n=10) have served on the Florida Farm

Bureau Federation Board. Table 4-6 reflects those that have served in these higher


Table 4-6 Board Members Who Have Served as President of County Farm Bureau Board
and/or on the Florida Farm Bureau Federation Board(N=128)
No Yes
n % n %
Served as County President 85 66.4 43 33.6
Served on Florida Farm Bureau Federation Board 118 92.2 10 7.8
Note: Missing variables (Board = 1)

Many organizations represent components of agriculture and Table 4-7 shows the

involvement of both board and active members in other agricultural organizations. Board

members seem to be more active in other organizations 71.4% (n=90) than do active

members 10% (n=10). For those that are involved, board members belong to an average

of 1.9 other agricultural organizations, while active members belong to an average of 0.5

agricultural organizations. Board members belong to a greater number of organizations

as well, as the maximum number was 11 with a maximum of only 5 for active members.

Of those board members who were involved in other agricultural organizations, 42.1%

(n=53) held leadership roles in these organizations, while only 4% (n=4) of active

members held leadership positions in other agricultural organizations.

Table 4-7 Involvement with other Agricultural Organizations for Active and Board
Members (N=226)
Board Active
(n=126) (n=100)
n % n %
Involvement with Other Ag. Organizations
Yes 90 71.4 10 10
No 36 28.6 90 90

Leadership Role in Agricultural Organizations
Yes 53 42.1 4 4
No 73 57.9 96 96

Mean Number of Agricultural Organizations 1.9 .5
Minimum Number of Agricultural Organizations 1 1
Maximum Number of Agricultural Organizations 11 5
Note: Missing variables (Board = 3; Active = 4)

Individuals are also involved in other civic, community, and business

organizations and Table 4-8 represents the level of involvement by board and active

members. Both groups are involved with other organizations, 63.8% (n=81) of board

members and 42.6% (n=43) of active members are involved in at least one civic,

community or business organization. On average, active members belonged to 0.9

additional organizations, while board members belonged to 1.9 additional organizations.

Of the over one-third of board members who did belong to additional organizations, 37%

(n=47) held leadership roles in these organizations, while 18.8% (n=19) of active

members held leadership positions in civic, community, and business organizations.

Table 4-8 Involvement with other Organizations (N=228)


n % n %


Mean Number of Boards 1.1 0.3
Minimum Number of Boards 1 1
Maximum Number of Boards 7 5
Note: Missing variables (Board = 2; Active = 4)

The age characteristics of board and active members can be found on Table 4-10.

The mean ages for both groups are approximately equivalent, 51.4 years for board

Yes 81 63.8 43 42.6
No 45 35.4 58 57.4

Leadership Role in Organizations
Yes 47 37 19 18.8
No 80 63 82 81.2

Mean Number of Organizations 1.9 0.9
Minimum Number of Organizations 1 1
Maximum Number of Organizations 8 6
Note: Missing variables (Board = 2; Active = 3)

Slightly over half of the board members 53.5% (n=68) were currently serving on

the board of other organizations, while only 16% (n=16) of active members were on the

boards of other organizations. The mean number of additional boards that county Farm

Bureau board members were serving on was 1.1 boards, while the number for active

members was 0.3. These figures are represented by Table 4-9.

Table 4-9 Active and Board Members Currently Serving on Boards of other
Organizations (N=227)
Board Active
(n =127) (n =100)
n % n %
Yes 68 53.5 16 16
No 59 46.5 84 84

members and 50.9 years for active members. A graphic representation of the

distributions of ages for both groups is presented in Figure 4-2. Close to fifty percent of

active members, 48.5% (n=33) are between 43 to 60 years old, while 33% (n=36) of

board members fall within this age range. A graphic representation of the distributions of

ages for both groups is presented in Figure 4-2.

Table 4-10 Age of Active and Board Members (N=177)

Board Active
(n =109) (n =68)
Mean Age 51.4 50.9
Minimum Age 21 19
Maximum Age 83 87

n % n %
19 to 42 Years Old 36 33% 19 27.9%
43 to 60 Years Old 36 33% 33 48.5%
61 to 87 Years Old 37 33.9% 16 23.5%
Note: Missing variables (Board = 20; Active = 36)





20 40 60 80 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90
Age Distribution of Active Members Age Distribution of Board Members
Figure 4-2. Age Distributions of Active and Board Members (Active N=68, M=50.90,
SD=14.32; Board N=109, M=51.40, SD=15.26)