“I have the ability” - An explorative study into the volunteer leadership and followership of Neighbourhood mothers

University essay from Lunds universitet/Statsvetenskapliga institutionen

Abstract: This thesis aimed to explore the immigrant women’s experience as Neighbourhood mothers within the project Stadsdelsmammor 2.0 in Helsingborg, and how leader and follower identities becomes prominent. To do this, this thesis analysed theNeighbourhood mothers’ understanding of their volunteer role, and their understandings of leadership and followership in their work. A qualitative approach was used where data was gathered through preparatory ethnographic interviewing as to gain further information about this project, and through individual interviews with the Neighbourhood mothers. The data was then analysed in relation to a theoretical framework consisting of role identity theory along with a literature on volunteer roles, and relational leadership and followership, as to elaborate on the organisational behaviour. The findings show that the volunteer role was based on both altruistic and self-help motivations, and that previous experiences aided in the understanding of their volunteer role as a Neighbourhood mothers. For the Neighbourhood mothers leadership identity was prominent and was associated with previous experiences in their lives and the learnings they got from the within project education. They saw themselves as leaders for the target group clearly, and this clarity was not the case for the followership identity. Instead this was individual and attached to the Project group that managed the project, while also lacking clarity in the role. Some suggestions are made in regard to clarifying the Neighbourhood mother role, and for future research into the project.

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