Date of Award

Spring 5-16-2016

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Social Work

First Advisor

Richard Lyle, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Robert W. Waymer, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Roslyn A. Harper, Ph.D.


This study examined the perceptions that Board Members of human service organizations have of the leadership competencies of professionally trained social workers to lead such organizations. Participants of this study were comprised of 51 executive leaders of nonprofit human service organizations who were selected using non-probability convenience sampling among the target population. The findings of this study indicated that a majority (78.0%) believed that professional social workers are seen as welfare workers. Most respondents (65.3%) disagreed that the media's portrayal of social issues has influenced perceptions of the leadership abilities of social work professionals. The majority of the respondents (78.4%) agreed that nonprofit human service organizations are required to be more accountable today and as a result all leaders of these organizations should possess training and experience similar to those of professionals in business, legal, or public administration arenas.