NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
ERIC Number: ED535200
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 215
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1248-5759-6
The Practice of Generative Governance: A Case Study Exploring Board Learning in Context
Beck, Debra L. B.
ProQuest LLC, Ed.D. Dissertation, University of Wyoming
This case study drew upon theories of practice--specifically, situated and sociocultural learning theories--to describe how learning occurs in the routine activities of preparing for, and participating in, nonprofit board meetings. This research had a two-fold purpose: to understand nonprofit board learning within the context of their primary workspace (meetings) and to understand and articulate the factors that best contribute to an environment where generative governance ("Governance as Leadership" model, Chait, Ryan & Taylor, 2005) can occur. A case study approach was selected to allow for immersion in the meeting environment and deep exploration of the experiences, roles and motivations of individual members. Data were collected via observation of five consecutive board meetings, two focus groups, in-depth interviews of board members and the agency executive director, and content analysis of meeting materials. Evidence of a community of practice--domain, community and practice--was found and linked to the qualities necessary to foster generative thinking and governing. Particularly notable were the multiple ways in which the board focused on mission (domain) and relied upon it to drive deliberations, the collegial and trusting environment in which it worked (community), and the critical importance of peer learning--in both expert and non-expert roles--to fuel group understanding (practice). Board members achieved clarity about how their values fit organizational mission before they accepted the invitation to serve. They also knew the skills, perspectives, etc., that they were expected to contribute to group learning. This paved the way for more directed use of board member time and expertise, leading to more effective decisions. Commitment to mission, and constant focus mission in discussions and decision making, helped board members create and take advantage of the type of generative thinking described by Chait, Ryan and Taylor. Strategic use of member questions helped to facilitate that focus. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A