Advertisement

What Keeps Corporate Volunteers Engaged: Extending the Volunteer Work Design Model with Self-determination Theory Insights

  • Susan van Schie
  • Arthur Gautier
  • Anne-Claire Pache
  • Stefan T. Güntert
Original Paper

Abstract

Despite enthusiastic claims around the benefits of corporate volunteering (CV) for the workplace and its widespread implementation, the impact of such programs for beneficiaries and non-profit organizations remains uncertain, particularly when employees’ participation is one-off. Previous research suggests that the benefits of CV for employees, businesses, and society are more likely to occur if employees internalize a volunteer identity—that is, if being a volunteer becomes a part of their self. This leads them to sustain their participation in CV over time, maximizing CV’s positive effects on all stakeholders. This study explores the factors explaining why employees internalize a volunteer identity in a corporate context. We do so by empirically testing Grant’s (Acad Manag Rev 37(4):589-615, 2012) volunteer work design (VWD) theoretical model with a sample of 619 employees involved in CV programs, and by comparing its relevance with an alternative, extended model relying on insights from self-determination theory (SDT). Whereas we find only partial and weak empirical support for the VWD model, our SDT-extended model is supported empirically. These results show that the quality of motivation that employees experience while volunteering plays a more important role than repeated participation, as it illuminates the process of how factors such as the quality of the projects, organizational support for CV, as well as the causes targeted affect the internalization of a volunteer identity. In particular, we show that employees are more likely to internalize a volunteer identity if they can choose what cause to engage for and if they feel that the projects they participate in are meaningful. Surprisingly, we also show that a prestigious cause as well as recognition and managerial support foster a controlled form of motivation for employees, which are then unlikely to internalize a volunteer identity. In doing so, we contribute to a better understanding of how CV can have lasting benefits for both business and society, and provide business leaders with actionable insights about how to design impactful CV programs.

Keywords

Corporate volunteering Internalization Self-determined motivation Volunteer role identity 

Abbreviations

CV

Corporate volunteering

CSR

Corporate social responsibility

NPO

Non-profit organization

SDT

Self-determination theory

VWD

Volunteer work design

Notes

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

All authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

References

  1. Aguilera, R. V., Rupp, D. E., Williams, C. A., & Ganapathi, J. (2007). Putting the S back in corporate social responsibility: A multilevel theory of social change in organizations. Academy of Management Review, 32(3), 836–863.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Basil, D., Runte, M., Easwaramoorthy, M., & Barr, C. (2009). Company support for employee volunteering: A national survey of companies in Canada. Journal of Business Ethics, 85, 387–398.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bidee, J., Vantilborgh, T., Pepermans, R., Huybrechts, G., Willems, J., Jegers, M., & Hofmans, J. (2013). Autonomous motivation stimulates volunteers’ work effort: A self-determination theory approach to volunteerism. VOLUNTAS: International Journal of Voluntary and Nonprofit Organizations, 13(24), 32–47.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bode, C., Singh, J., & Rogan, M. (2015). Corporate social initiatives and employee retention. Organization Science, 26(6), 1702–1720.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Boezeman, E. J., & Ellemers, N. (2008). Pride and respect in volunteers’ organizational commitment. European Journal of Social Psychology, 38(1), 159–172.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Booth, J. E., Park, K. W., & Glomb, T. M. (2009). Employer-supported volunteering benefits: Gift exchange among employers, employees, and volunteer organizations. Human Resource Management, 48(2), 227–249.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Brockner, J., Senior, D., & Welch, W. (2014). Corporate volunteerism, the experience of self-integrity, and organizational commitment: Evidence from the field. Social Justice Research, 27(1), 1–23.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Bussell, H., & Forbes, D. (2002). Understanding the volunteer market: The what, where, who and why of volunteering. International Journal of Nonprofit & Voluntary Sector Marketing, 7(3), 244.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Bussell, H., & Forbes, D. (2008). How UK universities engage with their local communities: A study of employer supported volunteering. International Journal of Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Marketing, 13(4), 363–378.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Cable, D. M., & DeRue, D. S. (2002). The convergent and discriminant validity of subjective fit perceptions. Journal of Applied Psychology, 87(5), 875–884.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Caligiuri, P., Mencin, A., & Jiang, K. (2013). Win–win–win: The influence of company-sponsored volunteerism programs on employees, NGOs, and business units. Personnel Psychology, 66(4), 825–860.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Callero, P. L. (1985). Role-identity salience. Social Psychology Quarterly, 48(3), 203–215.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Callero, P. L., Howard, J. A., & Piliavin, J. A. (1987). Helping behavior as role behavior: Disclosing social structure and history in the analysis of prosocial action. Social Psychology Quarterly, 50(3), 247–256.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Carr, S. C., McAuliffe, E., & MacLachlan, M. (2014). Servants of empowerment. In W. Reichman (Ed.), Industrial and organizational psychology: Help the vulnerable (pp. 143–163). London: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Caudron, S. (1994). Volunteer efforts offer low-cost training options.Google Scholar
  16. CECP. (2017). Giving in numbers 2017 edition. New York: The CEO Force for Good.Google Scholar
  17. Chacón, F., Vecina, M. L., & Dávila, M. C. (2007). The three-stage model of volunteers’ duration of service. Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal, 35(5), 627–642.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Charng, H.-W., Piliavin, J. A., & Callero, P. L. (1988). Role identity and reasoned action in the prediction of repeated behavior. Social Psychology Quarterly, 51(4), 303–317.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Clary, E. G., Snyder, M., Ridge, R. D., Copeland, J., Stukas, A. A., Haugen, J., & Miene, P. (1998). Understanding and assessing the motivations of volunteers: A functional approach. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 74(6), 1516–1530.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. de Gilder, D., Schuyt, T. N. M., & Breedijk, M. (2005). Effects of an employee volunteering program on the work force: The ABN-AMRO case. Journal of Business Ethics, 61(2), 143–152.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Deci, E. L., & Ryan, R. M. (1985). Intrinsic motivation and self-determination in human behavior. Berlin: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Deci, E. L., & Ryan, R. M. (2000). The “what” and “why” of goal pursuits: Human needs and the self-determination of behavior. Psychological Inquiry, 11(4), 227–268.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Deloitte. (2017). 2017 Deloitte volunteerism survey. Deloitte Development LLC.Google Scholar
  24. DeVoe, S. E., & Pfeffer, J. (2007). Hourly payment and volunteering: The effect of organizational practices on decisions about time use. Academy of Management Journal, 50(4), 783–798.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. DeVoe, S. E., & Pfeffer, J. (2010). The stingy hour: How accounting for time affects volunteering. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 36(4), 470–483.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Finkelstein, M. A., Penner, L. A., & Brannick, M. T. (2005). Motive, role identity, and prosocial personality as predictors of volunteer activity. Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal, 33(4), 403–418.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Forbes. (2017, July 14). Millennials are leading a revolution in corporate volunteering efforts. Forbes.Google Scholar
  28. Fritz, C., & Sonnentag, S. (2005). Recovery, health, and job performance: Effects of weekend experiences. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 10(3), 187–199.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Gagné, M., & Deci, E. L. (2005). Self-determination theory and work motivation. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 26(4), 331–362.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Gagné, M., Forest, J., Vansteenkiste, M., Crevier-Braud, L., van den Broeck, A., Aspeli, A. K., et al. (2015). The multidimensional work motivation scale: Validation evidence in seven languages and nine countries. European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology, 24(2), 178–196.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Geroy, G. D., Wright, P. C., & Jacoby, L. (2000). Toward a conceptual framework of employee volunteerism: An aid for the human resource manager. Management Decision, 38(4), 280–287.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Grant, A. M. (2012). Giving time, time after time: Work design and sustained employee participation in corporate volunteering. Academy of Management Review, 37(4), 589–615.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Grube, J. A., & Piliavin, J. A. (2000). Role identity, organizational experiences, and volunteer performance. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 26(9), 1108–1119.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Güntert, S. T., & Wehner, T. (2015). The impact of self-determined motivation on volunteer role identities: A cross-lagged panel study. Personality and Individual Differences, 78, 14–18.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Hahn, T., Pinkse, J., Preuss, L., & Figge, F. (2015). Tensions in corporate sustainability: Towards an integrative framework. Journal of Business Ethics, 127(2), 297–316.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Haivas, S., Hofmans, J., & Pepermans, R. (2012a). Self-determination theory as a framework for exploring the impact of the organizational context on volunteer motivation: A study of Romanian volunteers. Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, 41(6), 1195–1214.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Haivas, S., Hofmans, J., & Pepermans, R. (2012b). What motivates you doesn’t motivate me: Individual differences in the needs satisfaction-motivation relationship of Romanian volunteers. Applied Psychology: An International Review, 63(2), 326–343.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Hayes, A. F. (2013). Introduction to mediation, moderation, and conditional process analysis: A regression-based approach. New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  39. Houghton, S. M., Gabel, J. T. A., & Williams, D. W. (2009). Connecting the two faces of CSR: Does employee volunteerism improve compliance? Journal of Business Ethics, 87(4), 477–494.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Jones, D. A. (2010). Does serving the community also serve the company? Using organizational identification and social exchange theories to understand employee responses to a volunteerism programme. Journal of Occupational & Organizational Psychology, 83(4), 857–878.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Lukka, P. (2000). Employee volunteering: A literature review. Institute for Volunteering Research.Google Scholar
  42. Maas, K., & Liket, K. (2011). Social impact measurement: Classification of methods. In R. Burritt, S. Schaltegger, M. Bennett, T. Pohjola, & M. Csutora (Eds.), Environmental management accounting and supply chain management (pp. 171–202). Dordrecht: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Marta, E., Manzi, C., Pozzi, M., & Vignoles, V. L. (2014). Identity and the theory of planned behavior: Predicting maintenance of volunteering after three years. The Journal of Social Psychology, 154(3), 198–207.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Millette, V., & Gagné, M. (2008). Designing volunteers’ tasks to maximize motivation, satisfaction and performance: The impact of job characteristics on volunteer engagement. Motivation and Emotion, 32(1), 11–22.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Mojza, E. J., Lorenz, C., Sonnentag, S., & Binnewies, C. (2010). Daily recovery experiences: The role of volunteer work during leisure time. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 15(1), 60–74.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Morgeson, F. P., & Humphrey, S. E. (2006). The work design questionnaire (WDQ): Developing and validating a comprehensive measure for assessing job design and the nature of work. Journal of Applied Psychology, 91(6), 1321–1339.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Muthuri, J. N., Matten, D., & Moon, J. (2009). Employee volunteering and social capital: Contributions to corporate social responsibility. British Journal of Management, 20(1), 75–89.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Pajo, K., & Lee, L. (2011). Corporate-sponsored volunteering: A work design perspective. Journal of Business Ethics, 99(3), 467–482.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Peloza, J., & Hassay, D. (2006). Intra-organizational volunteerism: Good soldiers, good deeds and good politics. Journal of Business Ethics, 64(4), 357–379.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Peloza, J., Hudson, S., & Hassay, D. (2009). The marketing of employee volunteerism. Journal of Business Ethics, 85(2), 371–386.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Penner, L. A. (2002). Dispositional and organizational influences on sustained volunteerism: An interactionist perspective. Journal of Social Issues, 58(3), 447–467.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Penner, L. A., Dovidio, J. F., Piliavin, J. A., & Schroeder, D. A. (2005). Prosocial behavior: Multilevel perspectives. Annual Review of Psychology, 56(1), 365–392.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Peterson, D. K. (2004). Benefits of participation in corporate volunteer programs: Employees’ perceptions. Personnel Review, 33(6), 615–627.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Piliavin, J. A., & Charng, H.-W. (1990). Altruism: A review of recent theory and research. Annual Review of Sociology, 16, 27–65.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Piliavin, J. A., Grube, J. A., & Callero, P. L. (2002). Role as resource for action in public service. Journal of Social Issues, 58(3), 469–485.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Plewa, C., Conduit, J., Quester, P. G., & Johnson, C. (2015). The impact of corporate volunteering on CSR image: A consumer perspective. Journal of Business Ethics, 127(3), 643–659.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Podsakoff, P. M., MacKenzie, S. B., Lee, J.-Y., & Podsakoff, N. P. (2003). Common method biases in behavioral research: A critical review of the literature and recommended remedies. Journal of Applied Psychology, 88(5), 879–903.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Points of Light. (2017). Inspiring and leading in times of change: Insights and best practices from the 2017 civic 50.Google Scholar
  59. Pratt, M. G., & Ashforth, B. E. (2003). Fostering meaningfulness in working and at work. In K. S. Cameron, J. E. Dutton & R. E. Quinn (Eds.), Positive organizational scholarship: Foundations of a new discipline (pp. 309–327). San Francisco: Berrett Koehler.Google Scholar
  60. Preacher, K. J., & Hayes, A. F. (2004). SPSS and SAS procedures for estimating indirect effects in simple mediation models. Behavior Research Methods, Instruments, & Computers, 36(4), 717–731.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Rodell, J. B. (2010). Antecedents and consequences of employee volunteerism. Dissertation, University of Florida.Google Scholar
  62. Rodell, J. B. (2013). Finding meaning through volunteering: Why do employees volunteer and what does it mean for their jobs? Academy of Management Journal, 56(5), 1274–1294.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Rosso, B. D., Dekas, K. H., & Wrzesniewski, A. (2010). On the meaning of work: A theoretical integration and review. Research in Organizational Behavior, 30, 91–127.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Samuel, O., Wolf, P., & Schilling, A. (2013). Corporate volunteering: Benefits and challenges for nonprofits. Nonprofit management and leadership.Google Scholar
  65. Shantz, A., Saksida, T., & Alfes, K. (2014). Dedicating time to volunteering: Values, engagement, and commitment to beneficiaries. Applied Psychology, 63(4), 671–697.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Siemsen, E., Roth, A., & Oliveira, P. (2010). Common method bias in regression models with linear, quadratic, and interaction effects. Organizational Research Methods, 13(3), 456–476.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Snyder, M., & Omoto, A. M. (2008). Volunteerism: Social issues perspectives and social policy implications. Social Issues and Policy Review, 2(1), 1–36.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Sonnentag, S., & Fritz, C. (2007). The recovery experience questionnaire: Development and validation of a measure for assessing recuperation and unwinding from work. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 12(3), 204–221.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Spector, P. E. (2006). Method variance in organizational research: Truth or urban legend? Organizational Research Methods, 9(2), 221–232.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Spreitzer, G. M. (1995). Psychological empowerment in the workplace: Dimensions, measurement, and validation. Academy of Management Journal, 38(5), 1442–1465.Google Scholar
  71. Stryker, S. (1980). Symbolic interactionism: A social structural version. Menlo Park: Benjamin/Cummings Publishing Company.Google Scholar
  72. Stryker, S., & Burke, P. J. (2000). The past, present, and future of an identity theory. Social Psychology Quarterly, 63, 284–297.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Stukas, A. A., Snyder, M., & Clary, E. G. (1999). The effects of “mandatory volunteerism” on intentions to volunteer. Psychological Science, 10(1), 59–64.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. The Economist. (2010, October). Corporate volunteering: Big-hearted blue. The Economist.Google Scholar
  75. Thoits, P. A. (2012). Role-identity salience, purpose and meaning in life, and well-being among volunteers. Social Psychology Quarterly, 75(4), 360–384.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. Thoits, P. A. (2013). Volunteer identity salience, role enactment, and well-being: Comparisons of three salience constructs. Social Psychology Quarterly, 76(4), 373–398.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. van Ingen, E., & Wilson, J. (2017). I volunteer, therefore i am? Factors affecting volunteer role identity. Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, 46(1), 29–46.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  78. van Schie, S., Güntert, S. T., Oostlander, J., & Wehner, T. (2015). How the organizational context impacts volunteers: A differentiated perspective on self-determined motivation. VOLUNTAS: International Journal of Voluntary and Nonprofit Organizations, 26(4), 1570–1590.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. van Schie, S., Güntert, S. T., & Wehner, T. (2014). How dare to demand this from volunteers! The impact of illegitimate tasks. VOLUNTAS: International Journal of Voluntary and Nonprofit Organizations, 25(4), 851–868.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  80. Vecina, M. L., Chacón, F., Sueiro, M., & Barrón, A. (2012). Volunteer engagement: Does engagement predict the degree of satisfaction among new volunteers and the commitment of those who have been active longer? Applied Psychology, 61(1), 130–148.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  81. Wilson, A., & Hicks, F. (2010). Volunteering—the business case: The benefits of corporate volunteering programmes in education. London: City of London.Google Scholar
  82. Wood, E. (2007). What about me? The importance of understanding the perspective of non-managerial employees in research on corporate citizenship. In F. den Hond, F. G. A. de Bakker & P. Neergaard (Eds.), Managing corporate social responsibility in action: Talking, doing and measuring. Hampshire: Ashgate Publishing, Ltd.Google Scholar
  83. Wright, B. E., & Pandey, S. K. (2008). Public service motivation and the assumption of person—organization fit testing the mediating effect of value congruence. Administration & Society, 40(5), 502–521.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  84. Zhou, J., & George, J. M. (2001). When job dissatisfaction leads to creativity: Encouraging the expression of voice. Academy of Management Journal, 44(4), 682–696.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Susan van Schie
    • 1
  • Arthur Gautier
    • 1
  • Anne-Claire Pache
    • 1
  • Stefan T. Güntert
    • 2
  1. 1.ESSEC Business School ParisCergy Pontoise CedexFrance
  2. 2.ETH ZürichZurichSwitzerland

Personalised recommendations