Can a government program recipient be led?

Robinson (2020) interviewed eight recipients of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) for the purposes of understanding healthy food choice options and program leadership. What struck my interest was the inclusion of the term Transformational Leadership in the title. It appears the emerging scholar was attempting to connect leadership behavior by Federal government program administrators to food choices made by recipients in the program. I don’t see it. Three things popped into my head –

  • Were any of the program leaders executing transformational leadership qualities?
  • What influence does USDA leadership styles have on the leadership styles of regional administrators?
  • If transformational leadership falls under the umbrella of organizational theory, are recipients of of aid considered part of an organization?

When exploring the themes (p. 55), I came to the conclusion this was simply another example of an oral survey in which participants gave answers to questions –

  • Participants need better guidance in making healthier food choices
  • Participants make food choices based on various factors
  • Federal leaders should hold regional leaders accountable for informing participants about benefits under the program
  • Participants should be explained the consequences of purchasing certain types of foods

Note that none of these themes had anything to do with transformational leadership and were more related to program evaluation gap analysis. I wonder if the participants could name any of the regional leadership they were supposed to follow?

Ignore the results of this study.


Robinson, A. M. (2020). Exploring transformational leadership of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) – A qualitative study. ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global: The Humanities and Social Sciences Collection. (28031688)


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