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Conditions for Facilitation by Voluntary Organizations to Enhance Social Cohesion in China

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Clarifying conditions for advancing volunteers’ cohesion toward society (i.e., social cohesion), which means attachment to and benefiting society, is relevant to the mission of voluntary organizations. Such clarification is necessary in face of contradictory views between the reinforcement and empowerment models. Specifically, the reinforcement model envisions that organizational facilitation contributes more to a volunteer’s social cohesion when the volunteer’s prior social cohesion is higher. Organizational facilitation hereby includes support and training provided by the voluntary organization. By contrast, the empowerment model anticipates that organizational facilitation contributes more to a volunteer’s social cohesion when the volunteer’s prior social cohesion is lower. To clarify the conditions, a two-wave survey in China collected panel data from 456 volunteers for analysis. Results show significant positive main and interaction effects due to organizational facilitation on the volunteer’s social cohesion. Essentially, the interaction effect indicated that the volunteer’s prior social cohesion enhanced the contribution of organizational facilitation to social cohesion. Results therefore support the reinforcement model rather than the empowerment model. This implies the usefulness of the reinforcement model to inform organizational facilitation to raise volunteers’ social cohesion and other performances compatible with organizational goals.

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This study was funded by the General Research Fund of Hong Kong, China (9041460).

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Correspondence to Chau-kiu Cheung.

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Cheung, C., Lo, T.W. & Liu, S. Conditions for Facilitation by Voluntary Organizations to Enhance Social Cohesion in China. Soc Indic Res (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11205-019-02191-z

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  • Social cohesion
  • Organizational facilitation
  • Reinforcement
  • Empowerment