A Leadership Model for Roman Catholic Social Service Agencies

Richard A. Ketrow, Western Michigan University


U.S. federal and state governments involve faith-based agencies in public administration by contracting with them to implement social service programs. How can Catholic social service agencies effectively compete in procuring these social service contracts and securing the program funds? To answer this question, a leadership model applicable to Catholic social service agencies was proposed.

Four strategy constructs, evolving from the literature review, comprised the leadership model. The constructs providing a framework for the study were: performing service process reviews, utilizing a commitment to religious faith, entering valuable collaborations, and adhering to a consistent mission.

Data were collected using a mail survey to a cross-section of executive directors of member agencies of Catholic Charities USA in 2003. Statistical analyses, including testing for measures of central tendency, and using Chi-Square for statistical significance, indices construction, Spearman's Rank Correlation, and variance were conducted.

In the proposed leadership model, only two of the four leadership strategies were found to be effective. The two effective strategies were: utilizing a commitment to religious faith and adhering to a consistent mission.