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Review the models of stewardship presented by Wilson (2016) and Block (1993). Choose either the Wilson or Block model and in narrative form, explain the selected model and critique it to justify your choice. Then analyse the potential benefits and challenges that might occur upon employing either the Wilson or Block model (your choice) to your organizational setting. Your paper should include a discussion of key elements of the model of stewardship chosen in addition to analyzing the potential benefits and challenges posed by employing the model in your organizational setting. If you do not currently work in an organizational setting, choose an organizational setting with which you are familiar for your analysis.

Introduction and rationale

After the globalization and technological advancements, stewardship has been extensively focused by the modern organizations to create a committed and accountable workforce without looking into the increased compliance on the governance strategies. This scenario has become more focused in the non-profit organizations, as the primary aim is to focus on the common good in the world dedicated to the world’s individual. Past scholars also pointed out the fact that the core business perspective takes away humanity to meet the higher business goals.  On the other hand, the stewardship program helps to stay focused on the reference group and meet the development at a slow pace just like nature, unlike the forced intervention to attain business profits and goals (Bernstein, Buse, & Bilimoria, 2016).

Considering the fact, the present study aims to describe the stewardship model employed by Kent R. Wilson who, in the year 2016, has pointed out that role of a steward is the work of the servant for the whole system to make a broader degree of societal improvement through actual utilization of leadership resources. The study describes the stewardship program proposed by the Wilson along with its benefits and challenges considering the case study of Netball Australia, a non-profit organization, whose objective is to “Attain national and international success in competition, support greater participation and outsider involvement to ensure excellence in all spheres of the sport” (Wilson, 2016). As Wilson’s stewardship model prioritizes on non-profit leadership specialism, and the chosen organization also aims for the better wellbeing of the nation rather than earning the business profitability, the stated model has been chosen to conduct the study.

It has been identified that most of the leadership practices to a non-profit organization are taken from the conventional profit sector approaches, which are inadequate to address the issues of non-profit sectors. Considering the need for a new framework for non-profit organizations, Wilson has rooted biblical principles and historical precedent in the context of the non-profit organizational development. According to the model of Wilson, leaders need to act as trustees or stewards, not as the owners. In this context the concept of agency theory may be referred to be a helpful tool to analyse the situation and respective obligations of the leaders towards the business in terms of their fiduciary responsibilities to protect the organisation. Ethical leadership principles are also considered as a pivotal to manage the broader need and development of the non-profit organization and the overall society (Harrison & Murray, 2012). Wilson’s model also states that stewardship and servant hood go hand in hand and the successful leader cannot execute one without another. For the non-profit organizations, leaders should always be a public servant to those who had entrusted the leader with all resources of leadership. Such role of the leaders will contribute towards the sustainability practices of the organisation in the backdrop of larger social responsibility framework.   

The servant leadership style emphasizes on managing responsibility towards the employees as individual and executes the sense of stewardship for both the employees and the organization.  In the scholarly article of Caers et al (2006), it has been mentioned that stewards put attention on environment-development activity through supporting the structure that fosters greater level of employee satisfaction. The stewardship approach followed by the Netball Australia has ensured the support activities so that everyone can value the connection with the sports (Franco-Santos, Nalick & Rivera-Torres, 2015). Wilson (2016) also mentioned that the comparatively little pace and aggression free leadership approaches have successfully rooted the opportunity to engage the non-indigenous and indigenous communities to work together for fulfilling the gaps on the indigenous disadvantage. The organizational setting can be enhanced when the leaders execute successful behaviour to empower people through right acknowledgement of the talents and strengths. Moreover, for the non-profit organizations like Netball public service areas require more redefined areas to strengthen the loosely organized collection of the individual as providing several types of services for all stakeholders equally.

Stewardship model of Wilson

Organizational development of Netball was carried out by the active implementation of steward leadership style to address the psychological need of the women participants to build a sense of community within the sports team.  Eventually, it has benefited the organization to enhance the participants by 6.2% in the financial year 2017 as compared to FY 2016 (Mccaw, 2018). The financial funding issues of the organization also mitigated through the active implementation of stewardship styles which integrated the values such as passion, teamwork, integrity, excellence and accountability through small steps unlike the conventional leadership attributes followed in most of the non-profit organizations.

Netball Australia is a non-profit organisation dedicated to the development of the environment and participation in supporting the sport is apt to implement the stewardship model of Wilson. The model ascribes a slow pace and a less aggressive style of leadership. According to Reisman (2018), this process gives an edge in carefully evaluating propositions, and prioritising the budgets, and spending wisely. Thus, the stewardship approach can benefit the organisation by defining the fundraising philosophy for the leaders and personally involve them in the fund development activities. It would also open up a world of options for the organisation as they would be mindful of the expenditure and approve proposals that reflect the greater good of the future of Netball in Australia. Block & Rosenberg (2002) suggested that a steward board has a role of volunteering in an organisation’s activities. Participating as a volunteer would allow the steward leaders of Netball Australia to be aware of the firm’s strengths, weaknesses and the crucial needs for sustainability. As a result, the leaders can govern the organisation well. However, a challenge in the volunteer role of the board member is the outlook to often act as a leader as a practice (Stewart, 2016). As a volunteer, the leader must not direct the staffs or make any decision on behalf of the staffs.

Unlike functional leadership styles, stewardship model places high importance on relationship and accountability. A non-profit organisation like Netball Australia, are committed to ensure the excellence of the sport (Kee and Newcomer, 2008). At the same time, the group must maintain a high degree of relationship with the different stakeholders a majority of whom are state bodies and the communities of people. Employing the steward leadership could provide a strong relationship with the stakeholders as the philosophy of being a steward would strengthen the importance of being accountable. In addition, training, high-performance coaching, select athletes based on performance are among the key responsibilities of Netball Australia. Steward leadership is particularly effective in empowering people by acknowledging their true potential, thereby assisting the organisation to perform the responsibilities successfully (Parris & Peachey, 2012).

The biggest challenge for Netball Australia would be to define the stewards and owner of the resources from among the stakeholders distinctively, prior to employing the leadership model as there is a lack of direct ownership of resources. A general understanding of the concepts of being a steward could also pose a problem to implement such style across the whole organisation (Kreutzer, 2009). Defining the duties of a stewards board and steward executives would another issue for the group.

Conclusion and recommendation: 

Based on the discussion and analysis performed in the preceding sections of the paper, it can be stated that the essence of a steward leader is to be accountable, dutiful and trustworthy to the followers, which can be achieved by portraying oneself as a slave to the people and the service. These properties are truly crucial for a non-profit organisation as they exist to serve a higher cause of community development and the benefits are discussed for one such organisation.

The implementation could be resistive as most of the leaders are educated and experienced in the control-oriented structure rather than serving the people. Thus, in the conclusion, it is recommended that the elements of the philosophy and its implementation in modern construct be understood correctly to reap the benefits of a steward leadership model. Finally, it may be noted that an efficiently designed stewardship leadership strategy will significantly contribute towards the organisational goal of attainment of sustainability in the long-run.

References:

Bernstein, R., Buse, K., & Bilimoria, D. (2016). Revisiting Agency and Stewardship Theories. Nonprofit Management And Leadership, 26(4), 489-498. doi: 10.1002/nml.21199

Block, S., & Rosenberg, S. (2002). Toward an Understanding of Founder's Syndrome: An Assessment of Power and Privilege Among Founders of Nonprofit Organizations. Nonprofit Management And Leadership, 12(4), 353-368. doi: 10.1002/nml.12403

Caers, R., Bois, C., Jegers, M., Gieter, S., Schepers, C., & Pepermans, R. (2006). Principal-agent relationships on the stewardship-agency axis. Nonprofit Management And Leadership, 17(1), 25-47. doi: 10.1002/nml.129

Franco-Santos, M., Nalick, M., & Rivera-Torres, P. (2015). Applying Stewardship and Agency Theories to Governance Structures inside Organizations. Academy Of Management Proceedings, 2015(1), 16174. doi: 10.5465/ambpp.2015.16174abstract

Harrison, Y., & Murray, V. (2012) Perspectives on the leadership of chairs of nonprofit organization boards of directors: A grounded theory mixed-method study. Nonprofit Management And Leadership, 22(4), 411-437. doi: 10.1002/nml.21038

Kee, J.E. and Newcomer, K. E. (2008). Transforming Public and Non-Profit Organizations: Stewardship for Leading Change. Public Organization Review, 10(3), 299-301. doi: 10.1007/s11115-010-0120-9

Kreutzer, K. (2009). Nonprofit governance during organizational transition in voluntary associations. Nonprofit Management And Leadership, 20(1), 117-133. doi: 10.1002/nml.244

Mccaw, a. (2018). Netball Submissions. Retrieved from https://netball.com.au/programs/netball-submissions/

Parris, D., & Peachey, J. (2012). A Systematic Literature Review of Servant Leadership Theory in Organizational Contexts. Journal Of Business Ethics, 113(3), 377-393. doi: 10.1007/s10551-012-1322-6

Reisman, L. (2018). Managing amidst mosaic: Integrating values and rationalization in the nonprofit arts. Nonprofit Management And Leadership, 28(4), 453-470. doi: 10.1002/nml.21300

Stewart, A. (2016). Exploring Nonprofit Executive Turnover. Nonprofit Management And Leadership, 27(1), 43-58. doi: 10.1002/nml.21225

Wilson, K. (2016) Steward Leadership in the Nonprofit Organization. InterVarsity Press

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