Despite active research on the performance of boards of directors, very little scholarship exists on how they intentionally recognise and act on the need for governance change. This gap has resulted in weak conceptual guidance for researchers and practitioners alike who are interested in change management. This article employs a multiple case study phenomenological analysis of member-serving organisations based in the United States that achieved substantive change at the board level, sometimes reshaping their boards and cultures in profound ways. Focused on the catalysts, agents and processes of governance change, the findings generally support the prevailing contingency theory perspective by describing patterns of change, stakeholder behaviour and goals that varied considerably from case to case. A change management lens is weakly supported in finding limited patterns in how leaders made change happen. A discussion follows of other potential conceptual lenses that may help explain successful strategic change management in non-profit boards.
Volunteers who perform intermittent, ad-hoc or autonomous activities have received much less scholarly attention when compared with those individuals whom organisations formally identify as their volunteer corps. Yet, they may possibly far outnumber formal volunteers and represent the ‘glue’ holding together many elements of civic life. The study on which this article is based examined informal volunteering in professional and occupational societies to understand the consequences for volunteer retention. Using volunteering data from 7,408 members of international associations based in the United States, we found the following: associations failed to identify as ‘volunteers’ most of the members who reported that they performed labour for their professional society, and these volunteers were less engaged and less satisfied than those formally recognised for their volunteer labour. In addition to suggestions for improving measurement instruments, we conclude that accurate record-keeping and volunteer management systems might reap tremendous benefits for many organisations with respect to recruitment, involvement, satisfaction and retention of their volunteers.