Sustained volunteerism: justification, motivation and management

R.J. Renes

    Research output: Thesisinternal PhD, other


    In a society such as ours, where the tendency exists to always weigh costs against benefits (“what’s in it for me?”), unselfish volunteerism seems difficult to understand. An unselfish act such as sustained volunteerism lacks clear-cut, visible extrinsic rewards or benefits. The present thesis tries to capture the rationality behind what could be considered irrational behavior. The results of six field studies showed at least four things about sustained volunteerism. First, people who identify themselves as real-volunteers, or who feel affectively committed to volunteerism, report higher levels of intrinsic motivation than people who identify themselves less as volunteers or who feel less affectively committed. Second, experiences of relatedness and feelings of meaningfulness are consistently related to the intrinsic motivation of volunteers as well as to their satisfaction and commitment. Third, when volunteers feel they are noticed, trusted, and treated respectful by their manager, they not only assess their volunteer activities more positively, but are also more satisfied with, and committed to, the activities. Finally, volunteers with relatively low self-esteem tend to perceive volunteer managers who are committed to their work and feel they have the skills and possibilities to make a difference as more transformational or inspirational than volunteers with relatively high self-esteem do.
    Original languageEnglish
    QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
    Awarding Institution
    • VU University Amsterdam
    • Klandermans, P.G., Promotor, External person
    Award date1 Mar 2005
    Place of PublicationAmsterdam
    Publication statusPublished - 2005


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