Biodiversity and Conservation

, Volume 17, Issue 14, pp 3471–3483 | Cite as

Dialectical relations between professionals and volunteers in a biodiversity monitoring organisation

  • Dan PodjedEmail author
  • Rajko Muršič
Original Paper


The paper presents a case study of the changes in organisational culture of volunteer biodiversity monitoring organisations and is based on ethnographic research of Bird Watching and Bird Study Association of Slovenia (DOPPS). In the authors’ opinion, the dynamics of organisation’s culture is influenced by the emerging opposition between professionalism on one side and voluntarism on the other. It is explained that professionalism, though being a necessary developmental stage, may have a negative impact on voluntarism and may result in the reduction of the initial altruistic sentiments among members and hence decrease their willingness to participate. On the other hand, if an organisation depends entirely on volunteers, it may not survive and flourish in a changing socio-political environment. The paper is intended to provide a feasible solution for successful development of similar organisations facing constantly changing settings by erasing boundaries between categories of volunteers and professionals, which mitigates the dialectic processes.


Biodiversity monitoring Birdwatching Organisational culture Professionals Social dynamics Volunteers 



This paper is a result of the EU-project EuMon, funded by the European Commission (contract number 6463). We would like to thank our EuMon colleagues for the discussions. We would also like to acknowledge members of DOPPS who shared with us valuable information.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Ethnology and Cultural Anthropology, Faculty of ArtsUniversity of LjubljanaLjubljanaSlovenia

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