"The Feeling's Mutual": Student Participation in Leadership as a Cooperative Effort


This article stems from a grounded theory study of leadership among urban youth. It reports the perspective of students in a college preparation program by examining how they participated in leadership. Data were collected from semi-structured interviews, focus groups, and field observations of 20 incoming college freshmen. Students conceptualized their participation in the program's leadership practice as a process of purpose-driven cooperative reciprocity. The findings suggested that all members of educational organizations make contributions to their organizations' total leadership capacity. The study concludes by encouraging further empirical work that explores leadership contributions by followers in urban educational organizations.