Call for questionnaire responses: CEO/chair relationship in the charity sector

Lyn Waddington is studying an MSc in strategy, leadership and change at Bristol University. She is also chair of a small local charity, an IT manager at University of Oxford and research intern at Relational Foundation. She is looking for responses to a questionnaire which will inform her recommendations for best practice. Below, she outlines her research.

At best the CEO/chair can be a very effective relationship, yet at its worst trust in the other partner can erode and thus undermine leadership and governance. The most affected person is often the CEO because if trust is lost, it can sometimes mean time to leave, one way or another.

This relationship has been studied in many sectors. In each case it is acknowledged that this is a critical relationship and yet very few have looked at the relational qualities that might help or hinder the partnership or how that relationship affects overall governance and leadership. No studies to date consider the combined effect of several relationship factors on effective leadership and governance.

My research will use the Relational Foundation model to assess trends in CEO/chair relationships. The framework is robust and has been widely used by schools and commercial operations to assess relationships between teams, individuals and stakeholders and to assess community/social impact.

Now, with your help, I want to use it to examine the relationships between pairs of CEOs and chairs in the charity sector.

How can you help?

I am looking for responses to a survey which will take around 15-20 mins. Accessing it will require a  passphrase for both you and your chair so that I can identify you as a pair.

Both parties register here using your shared passphrase. All data will be anonymised, and unless you provide it, no personal or identifying information will be collected.

I appreciate not every CEO/chair relationship is a happy one. I want to hear from you too. Someone once said we learn as much from our mistakes as we do from our successes. Whilst we may not always choose which we end up with, others can still learn from our experiences.

What will you receive in return?

During both the first and second pilot users reported the tool itself was useful for thinking about their relationships. So, as a small thank you I am offering to analyse and send a brief summary to the first 50 pairs who provide their permission and verifiable pair of email addresses. In addition, all pairs can download their responses at the end of the survey which I hope will also provide a useful starter for discussion.

Finally, at the end of the study I will provide a detailed report to ACEVO in the hope that there will be some findings that are both interesting and useful to you, and ideally to form some recommendations for best practice.

 If you want to ask any questions before taking part in the research, you can contact Lyn on Lyn.Waddington.2016@bristol.ac.uk.

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