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Effects of International Volunteering and Service: Individual and Institutional Predictors

Abstract

Despite unprecedented recent expansion of international volunteering and service (IVS), there has been relatively little research on impacts. This paper proposes a conceptual model for impact research based on existing research evidence published in English. The model suggests that outcomes for host communities, volunteers, and sending communities vary depending on individual and institutional attributes and capacity. How institutions structure and leverage individual capacity influences who participates and how they serve, and shapes the impact of volunteer action. The conceptual model provides directions for future research.

Résumé

En dépit de l’expansion sans précédent du VI (Volontariat international), il y a eu relativement peu de recherches sur ses impacts. Cet article propose un modèle conceptuel sur la recherche d’impact se basant sur la preuve de recherches existantes publiées en anglais. Le modèle suggère que les résultats pour les communautés hôtes, les volontaires et les communautés envoyées varient selon les attributs et la capacité des individus et des institutions. La façon dont la structure des institutions et les influences sur la capacité des individus, influence ceux qui participent et la façon dont ils servent et donnent forme à l’impact de l’action volontaire. Le modèle conceptuel fournit des perspectives pour de futures recherches.

Zusammenfassung

Trotz der jüngsten beispiellosen Ausweitung von internationalem freiwilligem Dienst (IVS) gibt es relativ wenig Forschung über dessen Auswirkung. Dieser Artikel stellt ein Denkmodell für die Erforschung von Auswirkungen basierend auf bestehender, in Englisch publizierter Forschungsevidenz vor. Das Modell legt nahe, dass Folgen für Aufnahmegemeinschaften, Freiwillige und Sendegemeinschaften von individuellen und institutionellen Attributen und Leistungsvermögen abhängen. Wie Institutionen individuelles Leistungsvermögen strukturieren und vorteilhaft einsetzen, beeinflusst wer teilnimmt, wie der Dienst abgeleistet wird und die Auswirkung der Freiwilligenarbeit. Das Denkmodell gibt Anleitung für zukünftige Forschung.

Resumen

A pesar de la reciente proliferación de los servicios voluntarios internacionales, las investigaciones realizadas para estudiar sus repercusiones son relativamente pocas. Este trabajo propone un modelo conceptual para investigar las repercusiones en función de las pruebas existentes publicadas en lengua inglesa. El modelo sugiere que los resultados de las comunidades de acogida, los voluntarios y las comunidades de emigración varían dependiendo de las características y las capacidades, tanto de las personas como de las instituciones. La forma en que las instituciones estructuran y aprovechan la capacidad de las personas determina quién participa y cómo prestan sus servicios, lo que confirma las repercusiones de la acción voluntaria. El modelo conceptual ofrece asimismo pautas para futuras investigaciones.

摘要

尽管国际志愿者服务(IVS)近来出现了前所未有的扩张,但是对它所带来的影响的研究还相对很少。本文根据用英文发表的现有研究证据,提出了用于影响研究的概念模型。模型显示,东道主社区、志愿者与派遣社区所获得的结果因个人和机构的属性与能力不同而各有差异。组织机构的结构和对个人能力的运用影响和决定了谁会参与志愿服务以及他们怎样服务。该概念模型为将来的进一步研究提供了方向

要約

近年の国際的なボランティアやサービス(IVS)の拡大にも関わらず、その影響についての研究はほとんど実施されていない。本論文では英語で発表された既存の研究証拠に基づく影響調査のための概念的なモデルを提案する。モデルは、個々および制度上の属性と制度面の能力によって、ホスト社会、ボランティア、および発信する共同体への結果が異なることを示している。組織がどのように構築されるか、どのように個々の能力が参加者に影響を及ぼすか、どのように組織が役立ち、ボランティア活動に影響を与えるかについて述べる。概念的なモデルは今後の調査のための方向性を提供する。

ملخص

على الرغم من أن التوسع الذي حدث مؤخرا في العمل التطوعي والخدمة الدولية (IVS) لم يسبق له مثيل ، كان هناك قدر ضئيل نسبيا من البحث عن التأثير. هذا البحث يقترح وضع نموذج تصوري للبحث في التأثير القائم على أساس أدله البحوث التي نشرت باللغة الإنجليزية. النموذج يوحي بأن النتائج للمجتمعات المحلية المضيفه ، والمتطوعين ، و المجتمعات التبشيرية تختلف باختلاف الأفراد والمؤسسات والصفات والقدرات. كيف أن هيكل المؤسسات وفعالية القدرات الفرديه تؤثر على المشتركين وكيف يعملون لديها ، وتشكل أثر العمل التطوعي. النموذج التصوري يعطي إتجاهات للبحوث في المستقبل.

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Fig. 1

Notes

  1. 1.

    This paper is limited to a review of research published in English, with a predominance of studies focused on IVS program from more developed countries in North America, Europe, and Australia. We include studies that address each feature of the framework, citing studies that make conceptual and empirical contributions. Occasionally, we refer to theoretical analyses that are not specific to international volunteering, and some cross-national comparative studies of domestic service that are relevant to IVS.

  2. 2.

    Costanza and Geudens (2003) spell out the roles of each of these.

  3. 3.

    This conceptual model borrows from a schema of “productive aging” proposed by Morrow-Howell et al. (2001).

  4. 4.

    Although Sherraden uses the term “civic service,” we prefer to use “volunteering and service” because civic service is broad in its conceptualization, and includes mandatory forms of service such as service-learning in secondary and post-secondary educational institutions and national service under some political regimes, e.g., Nigeria and Israel.

  5. 5.

    These are “ideal types” and therefore, relatively few programs will be exclusively one or the other. The point of making the distinction is that programs tend to veer towards one type of the other, with implications for other dimensions of service and, possibly, service impacts.

  6. 6.

    Andrew Jones (2004) defines the “gap year” as “any period of time between 3 and 24 months which an individual takes ‘out’ of formal education, training or the workplace, and where the time out sits in the context of a longer career trajectory” (p. 8).

  7. 7.

    This paper does not address benefit-cost analysis. Although there are estimates of the cost of sending and maintaining volunteers in placements (e.g., Laleman et al. 2007), value of hours spent volunteering (Hudson Institute 2007; Lough et al. 2007), value of incremental increases in social capital to host communities (Ironmonger 2002; Mayer 2003), researchers have not combined cost-benefit analysis with impact analysis in order to more closely estimate the total value of IVS and utility compared to other development strategies.

  8. 8.

    Categories in this survey were not mutually exclusive.

  9. 9.

    Perhaps reflecting their longer evolution, the European Voluntary Service (EVS) defines multilateral as involving four or more countries: “At least 6 volunteers have to participate in these projects which must have a common theme and approach for co-ordination, networking and exchange of good practice between the partners” (1999, p. 12).

  10. 10.

    See Machin (2008) for a review of evidence on the impact of returned international volunteers on the UK.

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Acknowledgments

We are grateful to The Ford Foundation for support and to three anonymous reviewers for Voluntas for helpful insights and suggestions. Our appreciation also to Peter Devereux, Lissa Johnson, Joanna Stuart, Kathleen O’Hara, Michael Sherraden, and Lester Salamon, who provided helpful comments and contributed to our thinking in numerous ways.

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Sherraden, M.S., Lough, B. & McBride, A.M. Effects of International Volunteering and Service: Individual and Institutional Predictors. Voluntas 19, 395 (2008). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11266-008-9072-x

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Keywords

  • International volunteering
  • Civic service
  • Research
  • Impacts