Applying the Leadership Traits Approach to Volunteer-based Community Media

Sam Chege Mwangi 1 *, Bonnie Bressers 1, Stephen Smethers 1

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The role that leadership plays in the success or failure of community media organizations is an under-researched area. The concept of leadership in this paper refers to positive influence that moves a group towards its goals and is different from management because it relies on social influence rather than legitimate power to influence people. Focusing on the case studies of two community media organizations in rural Kansas, USA, the paper uses the Kirkpatrick and Locke model of leadership traits to examine the leadership qualities exemplified in these two organizations. The paper found evidence of all the six traits described in the model (drive, leadership motivation, honesty and integrity, self-confidence, cognitive ability and knowledge of business) present in both case studies. The paper also contributes to the further refinement of the model by identifying two other extra traits that ought to be considered in future community media studies.


Community media Leadership Volunteer-based media Citizen journalism Leadership traits.


This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Article Type: Research Article

Online Journal of Communication and Media Technologies, Volume 8, Issue 1, January 2018, pp. 41-59

Published Online: 24 Jan 2018

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