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Incorporating Diversity Into Undergraduate Nonprofit Management Education: Can Reading Diverse Narratives Increase Students’ Perspective-Taking Capacity?

Jennifer Amanda Jones, Lindsey M. McDougle, Suzanna D. Smith


Although the use of narratives has been shown to increase students’ ability to empathize, which can be an indicator of their perspective-taking ability, no studies have focused on the use of narratives specifically within the context of nonprofit management education. In this study, we tested a pedagogical technique designed to increase students’ perspective-taking capacity. Specifically, we incorporated reading assignments of personal narratives by a diverse body of nonprofit leaders into two undergraduate nonprofit management courses: one an in-person course at a large public land-grant university in the Southeastern United States (n = 85) and the other an online course at a large public university in the Northeastern United States (n = 20). We conducted pre- and postinstruction assessments to explore whether the use of these narratives enhanced students’ empathy and perspective-taking abilities. Our findings indicate that narratives are effective in improving perspective-taking skills and can be effective in both online courses and in-person courses. These findings should be of interest to nonprofit management educators.

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nonprofit management education; diversity; empathy; perspective-taking; leadership

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