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Doctor of Education




Bishop, Pam


This exploratory case study (Yin, 2009) investigated those leadership approaches that are used by mid-level managers of seven non-profit employment agencies in Ontario, Canada, to support the intrinsic motivation of seven career professionals who work with them. Unlike profit-earning organizations, career professionals of non-profit employment agencies in Ontario do not get any additional financial incentives for exceeding their targets of helping job seekers find sustainable employment. The research used a transformative learning theory lens (Mezirow, 1991), and also an Interpretivist framework (Merriam, 1998) to understand the data. This study also sought to find what motivates career professionals to reach and exceed their pre-set targets without the availability of any additional bonus. Seven mid-level managers and seven career professionals of non-profit employment agencies were interviewed. A semi-structured interview format was used for the one-on-one interviews. Additional data were collected via document perusal, and the researcher’s reflective journals. Data were coded and analyzed thematically using a content analysis method. Triangulation and member-checking were performed for ensuring reliability of data (Yin, 2009). Findings of the study suggest that mid-level managers of Ontario non-profit employment agencies largely use transformational leadership approaches for building and sustaining career professionals’ intrinsic motivation, although, they sometimes use transactional approaches as well. The study also suggests that the career professionals of the seven non-profit employment agencies are by and large, intrinsically motivated, and three of their key motivators are “passion for their jobs”, “empathy for the clients” and “changing other people’s lives”.