Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Leadership (MAL)




There are both opportunities and challenges associated with executive transitions. Succession planning is becoming an increasingly significant topic for many nonprofit organizations in the Twin Cities. The retirement of the large generation of baby-boom leaders during the next decade is likely to have a direct impact on the capacity of organizations to sustain their work. This is especially critical for smaller organizations and those with founders or long-term executive directors who leave. These leaders have shaped their organizations throughout their tenure and are seen as synonymous with their organizations. Founders and long-term executives have a strong presence and vision for an organization, but when their time has come to move on, it's critical to be prepared for the transition. Understanding the traits of founders and long-term executives, and knowing how to engage the next generation of leaders can facilitate a positive transition, which creates a sustainable organization. This study examines the factors that are critical for successful leadership transition planning in nonprofit organizations with founders or long-term executives.


SC 11.MAL.2006.Kosciole.JV