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School of Public and Environmental Affairs

Steve Hinnefeld
IU Communications

Last modified: Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Study: Less time in meetings makes for more committed leaders

June 12, 2013

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- An article that offers new insight into the leadership of volunteer-driven associations and organizations has earned Indiana University faculty member Matthew Baggetta a prestigious honor.

Baggetta is an assistant professor in the IU Bloomington School of Public and Environmental Affairs. With co-authors Hahrie Han and Kenneth Andrews, he wrote the forthcoming "Leading Associations: How Leadership Teams Generate Leader Time Contributions" in the American Sociological Review.

Matthew Baggetta

Matthew Baggetta

Print-Quality Photo

The American Society of Association Executives has named the article the recipient of its Outstanding Academic Publication on Membership Organizations Award.

"We're honored to receive the award and grateful for the opportunity it presents," Baggetta said. "We hope one result is wider distribution of our research and that proves beneficial to associations struggling to maintain the best possible volunteer leadership."

For the article, Baggetta, Han and Andrews analyzed data collected from 1,616 Sierra Club volunteer leaders and the 368 chapters and groups they led. They found that the way teams work together, share the workload and hold meetings shapes the commitment of the leaders:

  • The more time leaders spend in meetings, the less time they are willing to give to the organization.
  • The more formal training leaders receive, the more hours they're willing to contribute.
  • Associations are better off getting current leaders to act as an interdependent, fair and balanced team than by seeking out new leaders.

"While this topic is certainly worthy of more research, the bottom line of our analysis is encouraging for organizers," Baggetta said. "Improve how you work, share and meet, and you just might find the leaders you already have are the ideal volunteer leaders you were wishing for."

Baggetta, Han and Andrews will receive a $5,000 prize with the award. It is available only to scholars publishing academic research related to membership associations or member-driven associations. Judges from the Institute for Nonprofit Research, Education and Engagement at North Carolina State University, the American Society of Association Executives and the larger scholarly community base the award on the paper's academic rigor, ability to advance research on associations and practical value to association managers and policy-makers.

About Matthew Baggetta

An assistant professor at the School of Public and Environmental Affairs since 2010, Matthew Baggetta earned a Ph.D. and master's from Harvard and an undergraduate degree from the University of Notre Dame. He has earned numerous awards for his teaching and scholarship.

About the School of Public and Environmental Affairs

SPEA was founded in 1972 and is a world leader in public and environmental affairs and is the largest school of public administration and public policy in the United States. In the 2012 "Best Graduate Schools" by U.S. News & World Report, SPEA ranks second and is the nation's highest-ranked professional graduate program in public affairs at a public institution. Four of its specialty programs are ranked in the top-five listings and its program in nonprofit management is considered best in the nation. SPEA's doctoral programs in public affairs and public policy are also ranked by the National Academy of Science as among the nation's best.