The Effects of Volunteerism on Self-Deception and Locus of Control

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Abstract

This study examines whether volunteering for not-for-profit Organizations (NPOs) which are involved in providing social welfare services and which actively promote sociobehavioral factors like social responsibility, leadership, and self-confidence among its volunteers, reduces an individual’s likelihood of engaging in corrupt practices. We identify two psychological traits: propensity to rationalize (as evidenced by self-deception) and an external locus of control (as compared to an internal LOC) that facilitate unethical behavior. With the help of volunteers from two NPOs, we investigate whether engaging in social welfare activities organized by such NPOs would create awareness about the adverse consequences of corruption faced by large segments of the society, which in turn would make it difficult to rationalize unethical and corrupt acts. Additionally, most NPOs actively strive to develop self-confidence and leadership skills among its volunteers. Prior literature indicates that individuals possessing such qualities are more likely to have an internal LOC and also that individuals possessing an internal LOC are less likely to act in a corrupt manner. The overall results indicate that greater experience with such NPOs leads to a significant reduction in propensity to rationalize and leads to a higher likelihood of having an internal LOC.

Keywords

Volunteerism Social impact Corruption Locus of control Self-deception 

Résumé

La présente étude tente de découvrir si le fait d’être bénévole pour des organismes sans but lucratif qui offrent des services de protection sociale et favorisent activement de nombreux facteurs sociocomportementaux, dont la responsabilité sociale, le leadership et l’estime de soi parmi ses bénévoles, réduit la possibilité que ces derniers s’engagent dans des pratiques de corruption. Nous identifions deux traits psychologiques: la propension à rationaliser (comme démontrée par l’auto-illusion) et un locus de contrôle externe (comparativement à un locus de contrôle interne), qui favorisent tous deux les comportements contraires à l’éthique. Avec l’aide de bénévoles de deux organismes sans but lucratif, nous avons tenté de découvrir si le fait de participer à des activités de protection sociale organisées par ces derniers permettrait de faire connaître les conséquences néfastes qu’a la corruption sur de vastes pans de la société, ce qui, en retour, rendrait la rationalisation des gestes contraires à l’éthique et de corruption plus complexe. En outre, la plupart des organismes sans but lucratif tentent activement de renforcer l’estime de soi et le leadership au sein de leurs bénévoles. La documentation antérieure affirme que les individus qui possèdent de telles qualités sont plus enclins à présenter un locus de contrôle interne et, conséquemment, à être moins portés à agir de façon corrompue. Les résultats globaux démontrent que le fait de posséder une plus grande expérience auprès desdits organismes entraîne une réduction importante de la propension à rationaliser et accroît les chances de posséder un locus de contrôle interne.

Zusammenfassung

Diese Studie untersucht, ob eine ehrenamtliche Tätigkeit bei gemeinnützigen Organisationen, die soziale Dienstleistungen bereitstellen und aktiv soziale Verhaltensfaktoren wie soziale Verantwortung, Führung und Selbstbewusstsein unter ihren Ehrenamtlichen fördern, die Wahrscheinlichkeit reduziert, dass eine Person kurrupte Praktiken anwendet. Wir stellen zwei psychologische Merkmale heraus - eine Neigung zur Rationalisierung (nachgewiesen durch eine Selbsttäuschung) und einen externen Ort der Kontrolle (im Vergleich zu einem internen Ort der Kontrolle) -, die unethisches Verhalten begünstigen. Mit Hilfe von Ehrenamtlichen zweier gemeinnütziger Organisationen untersuchen wir, ob die Mitwirkung bei den sozialen Aktivitäten dieser Organisationen ein Bewusstsein über die negativen Folgen von Korruption für große Teile der Gesellschaft schafft, was wiederum eine Rationalisierung unethischer und korrupter Handlungen erschweren würde. Des Weiteren sind die meisten gemeinnützigen Organisationen aktiv bestrebt, das Selbstbewusstsein und die Führungsfähigkeiten ihrer Ehrenamtlichen zu entwickeln. Die vorausgehende Literatur weist darauf hin, dass Personen mit diesen Qualitäten eher über einen internen Ort der Kontrolle verfügen und weiter, dass die Wahrscheinlichkeit, dass Personen mit interner Kontrolle korrupt handeln, geringer ist. Die Gesamtergebnisse zeigen, dass eine größerer Erfahrung mit diesen gemeinnützigen Organisationen zu einer bedeutenden Reduzierung der Rationalisierungsneigung führt und die Wahrscheinlichkeit für einen internen Ort der Kontrolle erhöht wird.

Resumen

El presente estudio examina si el voluntariado en las organizaciones sin ánimo de lucro (NPO, por sus siglas en inglés) que están implicadas en la provisión de servicios de bienestar social y que promueven activamente factores socio-comportamentales como la responsabilidad social, el liderazgo y la confianza en uno mismo entre sus voluntarios, reduce la probabilidad de que un individuo se implique en prácticas corruptas. Identificamos dos rasgos psicológicos: la propensión a racionalizar (tal como evidencia el auto-engaño) y un locus de control externo (en comparación a un locus de control interno) (LOC, por sus siglas en inglés) que facilitan el comportamiento no ético. Con la ayuda de voluntarios de dos NPO, investigamos si la implicación en actividades de bienestar social organizadas por dichas NPO, crearía concienciación sobre las consecuencias adversas de la corrupción a las que se enfrentan amplios segmentos de la sociedad que, a su vez haría difícil racionalizar los actos corruptos y no éticos. Asimismo, la mayoría de las NPO se esfuerzan activamente por desarrollar la confianza en uno mismo y las habilidades de liderazgo entre sus voluntarios. El material publicado con anterioridad indica que es más probable que los individuos que poseen dichas cualidades tengan un LOC interno y también que los individuos que poseen un LOC interno tienen menos probabilidades de actuar de manera corrupta. Los resultados globales indican que una mayor experiencia con dichas NPO lleva a una reducción significativa de la propensión a racionalizar y lleva a una probabilidad más elevada de tener un LOC interno.

摘要

本研究检查了参与提供社会福利服务,并主动促进社会行为因素的非盈利组织 (NPO) 的志愿是否会减少个人参与腐败实践的可能性,如志愿者的社会责任、领导力和自信。我们确定了两种心理状态:合理化的倾向(由自我欺骗证明)和促进不道德行为的外部控制点(与内部控制点 (LOC) 相比)。借助两家NPO志愿者的帮助,我们调查了参与此类NPO组织的社会福利活动是否会产生有关社会大领域所面临的腐败带来不利后果的意识,这反过来导致很难合理化不道德的腐败行为。此外,大部分NPO主动努力为志愿者发展自信和领导技能。早期的文献表面,拥有此类特质的个人更可能存在内部LOC,同时具备内部LOC的个人更不可能以腐败的方式行事。整体结果表明,对此类NPO的更大体验会导致极大减少合理化的倾向,并导致具备内部LOC的更大可能性。

要約

非営利組織(NPO)は、社会福祉サービスを提供に関わり、ボランティアにおける社会的責任、リーダーシップ、自信といった社会的行動要因を活発に促進するが、本研究では、社会福祉サービスが個人の実現を妨げる傾向を低減させるかどうかを調査する。本研究は、(自己欺瞞としての立証) を正当化する傾向と、非倫理的な行動を促進する外部統制感 (内部統制のコントロール (LOC))という2つの心理的な特徴を有している。2つのNPOにおけるボランティアの援助から、社会福祉活動を組織するNPOは、社会の大部分で直面する腐敗による逆効果を意識付けて、一方で非理論的で腐敗的な行動への理論づけを困難にする。さらにほとんどのNPOでは、ボランティア間で自信とリーダーシップの能力を高めるために、積極的に活動している。前文献では、そのような性質を持つ内部LOCが傾向としてあったが、内部LOCでは個人が腐敗事項を起こしにくくするという個人の所有を示している。全体の結果から、そのようなNPOは理論化する傾向を提言して、内部LOCを有するという優れた認識を持つことがわかった。

ملخص

تبحث هذه الدراسة إذا كان التطوع للمنظمات الغير هادفة للربح (NPOs) التي تشارك في تقديم خدمات الرعاية الإجتماعية والتي تعزز بنشاط العوامل الإجتماعية والسلوكية مثل المسؤولية الإجتماعية والقيادة والثقة بالنفس بين المتطوعين، يقلل من إحتمال مشاركة الفرد في ممارسات الفساد.. نحن نحدد إثنين من الصفات النفسية: الميل إلى البحث عن مبررات (كما يتضح من الخداع الذاتي)، وموضع التحكم الخارجي(بالمقارنة إلى موضع التحكم الداخلي(LOC)) الذي يسهل السلوك الغير أخلاقي. بمساعدة متطوعين من اثنين من المنظمات الغير هادفة للربح (NPOs) نحن نحقق إذا كانت المشاركة في أنشطة الرعاية الإجتماعية المنظمة من خلال هذه المنظمات الغير ربحية (NPOs)، من شأنه أن يخلق الوعي حول الآثار السلبية للفساد التي واجهت شرائح واسعة من المجتمع الذي٬ بدوره سوف يجعل من الصعب الترشيد الأخلاقي و تصرفات الفساد. بالإضافة إلى ذلك، فإن معظم المنظمات الغير ربحية (NPOs) تسعى بنشاط لتطوير الثقة بالنفس والمهارات القيادية بين المتطوعين. تشير الأدبيات السابقة أن الأفراد الذين يحملون هذه الصفات هم أكثر عرضة أن يكون لديهم موضع التحكم الداخلي(LOC) وأيضا” أن الأفراد الذين لديهم موضع التحكم الداخلي(LOC) هم أقل عرضة للتصرف بسلوك إجرامي. تشير النتائج العامة التي مزيد من الخبرة مع هذه المنظمات الغير ربحية (NPOs) يؤدي إلى انخفاض كبير في الميل إلى البحث عن المبررات ويؤدي إلى إرتفاع إحتمالات وجود موضع التحكم الداخلي(LOC).

Notes

Acknowledgements

We would like to thank Intel Foundation and Yuva Unstoppable for providing the necessary research assistance to conduct this study.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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Copyright information

© International Society for Third-Sector Research and The Johns Hopkins University 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Indian Institute of Management AhmedabadAhmedabadIndia
  2. 2.Ahmedabad UniversityAhmedabadIndia
  3. 3.University of AlbertaEdmontonCanada

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