College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences Theses and Dissertations

Graduation Date


Document Type


Department/Program Conferring Degree

Public Service Management


not-for-profit organizations, board of directors, board member competencies, training and development, management


Human service not-for-profit organizations provide goods and services that support the well being of members of society. While these organizations can vary in the goods and services that they provide and in the models that they use to provide those goods and services, they are all similar in that they are accountable to volunteer boards of directors. The literature contains myriad prescriptions boards can follow that will help them provide adequate governance to their organizations. In addition, researchers have identified specific competencies that are able to distinguish between low-performing and high-performing boards. Finally, research has suggested that a relationship exists between board performance and organizational success. The primary goal of this study was to explore internal stakeholders’ perceptions of the effectiveness of initial orientations and ongoing training and development opportunities in increasing board members’ facility in the board competencies that have emerged in the literature. The data suggest that while stakeholders believe that initial orientations effectively prepare board members to fulfill their responsibilities, many of the not-for-profit organizations in the sample are missing a potential opportunity to improve board performance and organizational success by failing to offer systematic ongoing training and development opportunities to board members.