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Organizational, Motivational, and Cultural Contexts of Volunteering

The European View

  • Book
  • Open Access
  • © 2022

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  • Provides a comprehensive view of volunteer work by combining motivational with organizational and social issues
  • Presents volunteer work as a psychosocial resource and a source of well-being
  • Offers concrete advice on the design of volunteer work
  • This book is open access, which means that you have free and unlimited access

Part of the book series: SpringerBriefs in Psychology (BRIEFSPSYCHOL)

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About this book

This open access book offers a comprehensive view of the phenomenon of volunteer work: it examines motivational factors and questions of corporate organization and the social environment. In particular, this is the first book to present volunteer work in detail as a psychosocial resource and a source of well-being that should not be overused or abused. The book is based on the authors' 15 years of research into volunteer work in Europe. It provides clear instructions on designing volunteer work tasks, and on where boundaries must be respected. The findings include insights into cultural and national differences, and offer practical advice on the organization of volunteer work. This book answers questions like: How do we understand voluntary work? How essential is it that this kind of work remains unpaid and carried out by so-called laypersons with special motives? And what follows from this for the interaction between voluntary work and professionalized, paid employment? The analysis draws on perspectives from wellbeing research, organizational and industrial studies, social work, and related social sciences.

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Table of contents (6 chapters)

Authors and Affiliations

  • FHNW, University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland, Basel, Switzerland

    Stefan T. Güntert

  • Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich, Switzerland

    Theo Wehner

  • Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Berlin, Germany

    Harald A. Mieg

About the authors

Theo Wehner held the professorship of Industrial and Organizational Psychology and was head of the Center for Organizational and Work Sciences at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich from 1997 to 2015. He spent 15 years researching in the field of volunteer work in Switzerland, Germany, and with Europe-wide studies. These studies on volunteer work included well over 15,000 individuals and achieved response rates of up to 70%, which are rarely achieved in comparable questionnaire studies. The respondents generated data that are still very rare in volunteer research. Since his retirement in 2015, Theo Wehner has advised charitable institutions and politics on volunteer work.
Stefan T. Güntert is a lecturer in Organizational Behavior at the University of Applied Sciences
and Arts Northwestern Switzerland. He received his PhD from ETH Zurich in 2008. His research
interests include work design, work motivation, volunteering, nonprofit management, and self-determination theory.

Harald A. Mieg is the President of the Society for Science Studies, Berlin. He is affiliated with the Humboldt University, Berlin as a Guest Professor. He was earlier at ETH Zurich, where he conducted research into the professionalization of environmental expert services in Switzerland.

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