Applying Social Role Theory to Gender and Volunteering in Professional Associations

Abstract

In the context of professional societies and trade associations, social role theory hypothesizes that women’s and men’s volunteer roles will also reflect gendered choices that persist even after controlling for parenting, professional experience, education, race, country of residence, and other potentially mitigating factors. Our sample includes 12,722 members of 23 diverse US-based international professional societies who participated in a survey of volunteer behavior in 2007. Using probit regression analysis, we find that gender continues to influence volunteer behaviors within professional settings. Instead of a pattern of male and female preferences for certain roles, we find that women are consistently less likely than men to engage in most volunteer activities common to professional association life. However, this gender disparity is partly neutralized when women are older and fully employed. Overall, social role theory provides a significant but incomplete perspective for understanding the volunteer behavior of professional society members.

Résumé

Dans le contexte des corporations et des associations professionnelles, la théorie du rôle social suppose que les rôles des hommes et des femmes dans le bénévolat reflètent aussi des choix de genre qui persisteraient même après avoir considéré certains critères de parentalité, d’expérience professionnelle, d’éducation, de race, de pays de résidence et d’autres facteurs potentiellement atténuants. Notre échantillon contient 12,722 membres de 23 corporations professionnelles internationales basées aux États-Unis, qui ont participé à une enquête portant sur le comportement des bénévoles en 2007. Par une analyse de régression probit, nous avons déterminé que le genre continue d’influencer les comportements des bénévoles dans un environnement professionnel. Pourtant, au lieu d’obtenir un modèle des préférences des hommes et des femmes pour certains rôles, nous avons découvert que les femmes sont systématiquement moins susceptibles de s’impliquer dans la plupart des activités bénévoles courantes de la vie des associations professionnelles. Cette disparité de genre s’estompe toutefois en partie pour les femmes plus âgées et en situation d’emploi à temps plein. Globalement, la théorie du rôle social fournit une vision signifiante mais incomplète pour comprendre le comportement bénévole des membres des corporations professionnelles.

Zusammenfassung

Die Theorie der sozialen Rolle stellt im Zusammenhang mit Berufs- und Wirtschaftsverbänden die These auf, dass die ehrenamtlichen Rollen von Frauen und Männern selbst nach der Kontrolle der Faktoren Kindererziehung, Berufserfahrung, Bildung, Ethnie, Wohnsitzland und sonstiger potenziell abschwächender Faktoren gleichwohl geschlechtsdifferenzierte Entscheidungen reflektieren. Unsere Stichprobe umfasst 12.722 Mitglieder von 23 verschiedenen internationalen Berufsverbänden mit Sitz in den USA, die 2007 an einer Umfrage zum Verhalten von Ehrenamtlichen teilnahmen. Mittels der Probit-Regressionsanalyse kommen wir zu dem Ergebnis, dass die Verhaltensweisen ehrenamtlicher Tätiger im professionellen Umfeld weiterhin geschlechtsabhängig sind. Statt eines Schemas männlicher und weiblicher Präferenzen für bestimmte Rollen, sehen wir, dass sich Frauen im Vergleich zu Männern mit kontinuierlich geringerer Wahrscheinlichkeit ehrenamtlich in Bereichen engagieren, die in professionellen Verbänden üblich sind. Allerdings wird dieser geschlechtsspezifische Unterschied im Fall von älteren und vollbeschäftigten Frauen zum Teil neutralisiert. Insgesamt liefert die Theorie der sozialen Rolle eine bedeutende, doch unvollständige Perspektive für das Verständnis des Verhaltens ehrenamtlich engagierter Mitglieder in professionellen Verbänden.

Resumen

En el contexto de las sociedades profesionales y las asociaciones comerciales, la teoría del rol social propone como hipótesis que los papeles de voluntario de hombres y mujeres también reflejan las elecciones de género que persisten incluso después del control de los padres, la experiencia profesional, la educación, la raza, el país de residencia y otros factores potencialmente mitigantes. Nuestra muestra incluye 12.722 miembros de 23 sociedades profesionales internacionales diversas con base en los Estados Unidos que participaron en una encuesta sobre el comportamiento del voluntario en 2007. Utilizando el análisis probit de regresión, encontramos que el género sigue influyendo en los comportamientos del voluntario dentro de marcos profesionales. En lugar de un patrón de preferencias macho y hembra para determinados roles, encontramos que es menos probable que las mujeres, en comparación a los hombres, se impliquen en la mayoría de las actividades de voluntario comunes a la vida de la asociación profesional. Sin embargo, esta disparidad del género se neutraliza parcialmente cuando las mujeres son más mayores y disfrutan de pleno empleo. En general, la teoría del rol social proporciona una perspectiva significativa pero incompleta para comprender el comportamiento como voluntario de los miembros de sociedades profesionales.

摘要

社会的な役割理論では、職能団体および産業団体の文脈において、女性と男性のボランティア役割が子育て、専門的な経験、教育、人種、居住国とその他の潜在的な問題を緩和する要因を抑制した後もジェンダーの選択にも反映されることを仮定する。サンプルには、2007 年のボランティア行動の調査に参加した 米国を拠点とする国際的な職能団体23件の12,722 名のメンバーが含まれている。プロビット回帰分析を使用すると、職能団体においては、性別がボランティア行動に影響することがわかる。特定の役割における男性と女性の好みのパターンの代わりに、女性は一貫して職能団体の生活に共通なほとんどのボランティア活動に従事する男性よりも少ない可能性を持つことがわかった。ただし、このジェンダー格差は女性が高齢で完全雇用されていると中和される。全体的にみて、社会的な役割理論は重要だが、職能団体のメンバーによるボランティア活動の理解に不完全な視点を提供するといえる。

要約

在专业团体与行业协会背景下,社会角色理论假设:即使在控制了父母养育、专业经验、教育、种族、居住国、以及其他潜在缓解因素之后,仍一直存在因性别差异而导致的不同选择,而女性与男性的志愿者角色也反映这种不同选择。我们的样本包括12722名来自23个以美国为基地的各类国际专业团体的成员。他们参与了我们于2007年举行的关于志愿者行为的调查活动。应用机率单位回归分析(probit regression analysis),我们发现,在专业人士当中,性别继续影响着志愿者行为。与以往提出的男性和女性分别偏好某些角色的结论不同,我们发现,对于在大多数专业团体生活里常见的志愿者活动,女性的参与度一直都低于男性。然而,当女性的年龄较大且为全职雇员,这些因性别而导致的差异从某些程度上变得不太明显。总体而言,对于理解专业团体成员的志愿者行为,社会角色理论提供了颇有意义的观点,但这些观点具有局限性。

ملخص

في سياق المجتمعات المهنية والإتحادات التجارية ، نظرية الدور الإجتماعي تفترض أن أدوار النساء و الرجال المتطوعين سوف يعكس أيضا˝ خيارات التحيز للجنس التي لا تزال قائمة حتى بعد السيطرة على الأبوة والأمومة ، الخبرة المهنية ، التعليم، العرق، بلد الإقامة ، والعوامل المحتملة المخففة الأخرى. العينة التي لدينا تشمل 12,722عضو من 23 مجتمعات مهنية دولية متنوعة مقرها الولايات المتحدة الأمريكية الذين شاركوا في إستطلاع رأي لسلوك المتطوعين في عام 2007. بإستخدام تحليل الإنحدار الإحتمالي ، نجد أن نوع الجنس يستمر يؤثر على السلوكيات التطوعية داخل البيئات المهنية. بدلا˝ من وجود نمط من تفضيلات الذكور والإناث للقيام لأدوار معينة ، نجد أن النساء دائما˝ أقل عرضة من الرجال للإنخراط في معظم الأنشطة التطوعية المشتركة في حياة المجتمع المهني. مع ذلك، يتم توازن هذا التفاوت بين الجنسين جزئيا˝ عندما تكون النساء أكبر سنا˝ ويعملن بشكل كامل. عموما˝، تقدم نظرية الدور الإجتماعي منظور كبير ولكن غير مكتمل لفهم سلوك المتطوعين من أفراد المجتمع المهني .

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Notes

  1. 1.

    A stratified sampling technique was used to over-sample volunteers previously identified by their organizations with the goal to ensure this small group had sufficient representation in the study. Self-identified volunteers were then added through survey responses. The cases were then weighted in the final analysis to account for these sampling differences as well as the different sizes of sampling populations among the 23 participating associations.

  2. 2.

    In this analysis, women were comparatively more likely than men to volunteer in educational or youth service organizations, and men were more likely than women to volunteer in professional associations or sports/recreational organizations. We also found that serving as a full-time parent had a greater impact on women’s volunteering in educational/youth service organizations, although a difference in impact was not detected in the other volunteer contexts. These results did not account for additional demographic differences, but are quite consistent with past theory and research.

  3. 3.

    An alternative strategy that can also reduce selection bias would be a Heckman selection model using the full sample (with the selection equation built on predicted likelihood to volunteer for a professional association). We produced estimated models using both techniques and generated substantively similar results. We report here the results of a probit analysis with the restricted sample since such a model allows us to estimate more easily a volunteer activity with a low event rate, and since the findings are easier to interpret.

  4. 4.

    Missing values represented 3 % of total responses.

  5. 5.

    Nine associations have evenly distributed memberships; eight have male-dominated memberships; and six have female-dominated memberships.

  6. 6.

    A ninth activity, “Participated in a discussion group, expert panel or report” (p. 20), was negatively associated with being female, but its statistical significance was 0.057, falling just outside our p < 0.05 standard.

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Correspondence to Rachel Fyall.

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This research was conducted in collaboration with the American Society of Association Executives.

Appendix

Appendix

See Appendix Tables 6 and 7.

Table 6 Percentage of women by organization, in sample and population
Table 7 Probability that respondent engages in volunteer activity for a professional association that is related to “recruited a member or members” (full probit model)

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Fyall, R., Gazley, B. Applying Social Role Theory to Gender and Volunteering in Professional Associations. Voluntas 26, 288–314 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11266-013-9430-1

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Keywords

  • Gender
  • Volunteering
  • Associations
  • Social role theory