For many years, the voluntary sector has increased steadily. More and more people engage in the social well-being of the society which brings along a boost in voluntary engagement. Due to the omission of the salary, voluntary leadership asks for a special leadership behavior and builds upon a wide-ranging value system. As only little literature is available on this topic, and most of the research was done on the general behavior of volunteer leaders so far, this thesis explores leaders attitudes and patterns of behavior. Thereby, the thesis addresses two contemporary leadership styles, the transformational and transactional leadership approach. In fact, it aims at how leaders manage to lead volunteers in non-profit organizations by taking account of transformational and transactional leadership behavior. To elaborate on this, existing literature was collected together, refined with an empirical qualitative study. Therefore, seven experts in six non-profit organizations located throughout Austria were interviewed to gather in-depth information about their experiences and leadership characteristics. In addition, by means of additional material of the organizations homepage, folders or position papers to the topic of volunteering, the level of accordance with what was said in the interviews was examined.
Finally, the results reveal that both transformational and transactional leadership find their usage in leading volunteers. However, it depends on the organization as well as on the organizational context, whether leaders tend to a more transformational or transactional behavior. In general, there is common agreement that volunteers are an inevitable and essential human resource in non-profit organizations. Without their voluntary assistance, lots of associations would not be able to survive. That is why all leaders embody a very reliable, thankful and appreciative attitude. On top of that, mutual trust, positive feedback and friendliness play a vital role, whereby also open-mindedness and being available for volunteers at any time were highlighted as key leadership characteristics.