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Benefits of Participation in Corporate Volunteer Programs: Employees' Perceptions

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This exploratory survey study investigated the alleged benefits associated with corporate volunteer programs. The results demonstrated that employees viewed volunteerism as an effective means of developing or enhancing several types of job-related skills. This was particularly true for female employees and employees participating in a formal volunteer program. The results also demonstrated that organizational commitment was higher for volunteers from companies with a corporate volunteer program than for non-volunteers with organizations without a corporate volunteer program. Finally, the results indicated that job satisfaction was related to volunteerism among female employees, but not for male employees.
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Personnel Review
Benefits of participation in corporate volunteer programs: employees' perceptions
Dane K. Peterson,
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Dane K. Peterson, (2004) "Benefits of participation in corporate volunteer programs: employees'
perceptions", Personnel Review, Vol. 33 Issue: 6, pp.615-627, doi: 10.1108/00483480410561510
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Benefits of participation in
corporate volunteer programs:
employees’ perceptions
Dane K. Peterson
College of Business Administration, Southwest Missouri State University,
Springfield, Missouri, USA
Keywords Benefits, Job satisfaction, Skills
Abstract This exploratory survey study investigated the alleged benefits associated with corporate
volunteer programs. The results demonstrated that employees viewed volunteerism as an effective
means of developing or enhancing several types of job-related skills. This was particularly true for
female employees and employees participating in a formal volunteer program. The results also
demonstrated that organizational commitment was higher for volunteers from companies with a
corporate volunteer program than for non-volunteers with organizations without a corporate
volunteer program. Finally, the results indicated that job satisfaction was related to volunteerism
among female employees, but not for male employees.
Introduction
Despite the rapid growth of corporate volunteer programs, there has been very little
systematic research devoted to examining the alleged benefits associated with these
programs (Steel, 1995). A corporate volunteer program is defined as any formal
organized company support for employees and their families who wish to volunteer
their time and skills in service to the community (Wild, 1993). There are numerous
types of corporate volunteer programs that differ on a variety of dimensions (Solomon
et al., 1991). For instance, corporate volunteer programs vary in terms of the targets of
the volunteer activities. Some of the most commonly targeted areas are education,
health and welfare, environmental concerns, and services for youth groups and senior
citizens (Solomon et al., 1991).
Corporate volunteers programs also vary in terms of the amount and type of
support offered by the corporation. Support for volunteer programs varies from
corporations that devote a significant amount of time and resources to their volunteer
programs, to corporations that simply adopt a volunteer program as a public relations
gimmick in which the corporation commits very little resources to the program (Steel,
1995). The type of support most frequently provided by firms committed to corporate
volunteer programs include publicizing the community’s need for volunteers,
organizing team projects, providing matching funds for employees devoting time to
volunteer projects, acknowledging and providing awards or commendations for
employees participating in volunteer programs, recognizing the volunteer efforts of
employees in formal job performance evaluations, and providing employees with
release time from work (Wild, 1993).
Corporate volunteer programs provide numerous benefits for the community, as
well as enhance the company’s public image by demonstrating social involvement and
commitment to the community (Caudron, 1994; Finney, 1997; Hess et al., 2002; Laabs,
The Emerald Research Register for this journal is available at The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available at
www.emeraldinsight.com/researchregister www.emeraldinsight.com/0048-3486.htm
Corporate
volunteer
programs
615
Received April 2003
Accepted September 2003
Personnel Review
Vol. 33 No. 6, 2004
pp. 615-627
qEmerald Group Publishing Limited
0048-3486
DOI 10.1108/00483480410561510
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1993; Miller, 1997). In addition, corporate volunteer programs have been credited with a
number of favorable outcomes associated with the company’s personnel. It has been
suggested that employees prefer to work for companies that are not solely concerned
with their bottom line, but are also actively involved in their community. As a result,
corporate volunteer programs are believed to help recruit and retain highly qualified
employees (Caudron, 1994; Backhaus et al., 2002). Volunteer programs are also
assumed to provide employees with the opportunity to enhance job-related skills and
improve work attitudes (Wild, 1993).
Given the vast array of benefits associated with corporate volunteer programs, it is
perhaps not surprising that an increasing number of national and international firms
are in the process of developing or expanding their participation in corporate volunteer
programs (Hess et al., 2002). Estimates of the number of firms in the US supporting
corporate volunteer programs range from 79 to 92 percent (Miller, 1997). A survey of
the 1,800 largest companies in the US revealed that over half of the firms include
community service as part of their company’s mission statement and one-third of the
companies use employee volunteer programs as part of their strategy to address
critical business issues (Wild, 1993).
Job-related skills
It has been suggested that participation in corporate volunteer programs provides
employees with the opportunity to develop job-related skills (Laabs, 1993). As an
example, a volunteer program may give employees the chance to acquire
administrative experience that may not be possible in their current position of
employment. Included among the numerous job skills that may be enhanced through
volunteer programs are teamwork skills, written and verbal communications skills,
project management skills, and leadership/people skills (Wild, 1993). Thus, volunteer
programs not only help create the type of corporate image preferred by employees, but
may provide employees with the chance to develop new job skills without the high
costs incurred through professional skill-building courses. In fact, many volunteer
programs have been so successful in facilitating employee development that numerous
companies perceive less need to rely on the services of external training programs and
professional development seminars (Caudron, 1994).
Although it is frequently claimed that participation in corporate volunteer
programs provide employees with the opportunity to develop new job skills, there
appears to be little valid data from companies involved in corporate volunteer
programs to support these assertions (Solomon et al., 1991; Stebbins, 1989; Wild, 1993).
Keeping track of corporate volunteer activity has proven to be difficult, because
volunteer structures tend to be informal and change in response to both internal and
external factors (Steel, 1995). An investigation on record keeping reveals that less than
one-third of the companies collect any type of data on their volunteer programs (Wild,
1993). While some corporations have attempted to measure the effectiveness of their
volunteer programs, in most cases the evaluation process has been incomplete due to a
lack of sufficient data or failure to obtain reliable and valid data (Alperson, 1995).
The small amount of evidence indicating a relationship between volunteerism and
enhanced job skills is based primarily on survey data provided by directors of
corporate volunteer programs (Wild, 1993). Other evidence has been obtained from
company reports completed by employees participating in a volunteer program. In
each case, there are reasons to suspect that the data may lack complete objectivity.
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Directors of volunteer programs would most likely prefer to provide evidence
demonstrating the positive outcomes associated with volunteer programs. Similarly,
employees receiving release time or some other type of compensation for participating
in a volunteer program may also have reasons to provide evidence that their volunteer
experience produced beneficial outcomes. Thus, there appears to be a need for more
objective investigations on the relationship between volunteerism and the development
of job-related skills.
Employees’ attitudes
Corporate volunteer programs have also been credited with having a favorable impact
on individual work attitudes (Frank-Alston, 2001). Evidence of a link between
volunteer programs and employees’ attitudes has been provided by a survey which
found that employee morale was up to three times higher in companies that were
actively involved in volunteer programs (Lewin, 1991). It has been reported that
volunteer programs are associated with greater company loyalty, particularly if the
CEO is directly involved in the volunteer program (Carroll, 1990). A study conducted at
Pacific Northwest Bell reported that volunteer participation was significantly related
to both organizational commitment and job satisfaction (Stebbins, 1989).
Much of the research on the benefits relating to work attitudes has been conducted
within a single company in which a volunteer program has been established
(Frank-Alston, 2001; Stebbins, 1989). These studies have reported high levels of
organizational commitment and job satisfaction among employees participating in
corporate volunteer programs. The authors have acknowledged that a relationship
between employees’ attitudes and participation in volunteer programs is not sufficient
evidence to conclude a causal relationship. However, a number of articles in professional
publications frequently interpret the relationship as evidence that participation in
volunteer programs produces more favorable employee attitudes (Caudron, 1994, Laabs,
1993; Miller, 1997). An obvious alternative interpretation is to assume that employees
who are highly satisfied and committed to their organization are likely to participate in a
corporate volunteer program, whereas employees who are highly dissatisfied and lack
organizational commitment are unlikely to participate. This latter interpretation would
be consistent with research suggesting that favorable employee attitudes are generally
associated with organizational citizenship behavior (Wagner and Rush, 2000).
Purpose of the study
Since previous studies have primarily focused on a single organization, several
researchers have noted a need for investigations involving multiple organizations
(Frank-Alston, 2001; Stebbins, 1989). This exploratory study examined the relationship
between volunteer programs and perceived benefits based on the views of employees
from a number of organizations, including organizations with and without a corporate
volunteer program. Employees working for organizations with a volunteer program
were categorized by whether they participated in the company’s volunteer program
(group 1) participated in a volunteer program that was not related to the company’s
volunteer program (group 2), or did not participate in any formal volunteer program
(group 3). Employees working for organizations without a volunteer program were
categorized as participating in a non-work related volunteer program (group 4) or as
not participating in any formal volunteer program (group 5).
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The job-related skills examined in this study included teamwork skills,
communication skills, project management skills, and leadership/people skills.
Employees assessed the degree to which they believed each skill might be enhanced
through participation in volunteer activities. The views of employees solicited through
an anonymous survey would seem to be a more effective and unbiased method of
investigating the relationship between volunteerism and job-skill development than
relying on the views of directors of corporate volunteer programs.
There are at least two reasons to suspect that employees participating in volunteer
programs will be more likely to perceive volunteerism as an effective means of
improving job-related skills. First, employees who believe volunteerism results in
improved job-skills may be more likely to volunteer than employees who do not
perceive any relationship between volunteerism and job skills. Secondly, volunteer
participants who initially may not perceive any relationship between volunteerism and
job skills may discover through participation that volunteerism provides them with the
opportunity to develop many new job-related skills (Caudron, 1994). Those employees
who do not participate would not have the same chance to discover the potential
relationship between volunteerism and job skills.
While volunteers may be more likely to view participation as enhancing job-related
skills than non-volunteers, it is not clear whether employees participating in a corporate
volunteer program are more likely to perceive greater benefits than employees
participating in a non-corporate sponsored volunteer program. It would seem possible
that employees encouraged to participate in a volunteer program by their work
organization may assume that the corporation’s encouragement is based on the belief that
the experience will be valuable for the employees. Also, since many corporate volunteer
programs involve assigning groups of employees working together as a team on a
project, volunteers in corporate programs may have the opportunity to learn valuable job
skills from the more experienced co-workers in the group. Finally, employees
participating in a corporate volunteer program may be more likely to be involved in
volunteer activities that require skills related to their profession. That is, employees
participating in a corporate program may be strongly encouraged to volunteer or may be
specifically recruited for tasks that require their specialized job skills. On the other hand,
participants in non-corporate volunteer programs may also seek out programs where
they are able to utilize or develop skills related to their professional career. Since at the
present time there is no evidence to suggest that participates in corporate volunteer
programs are more likely to develop job-related skills than employees participating in
non-corporate volunteer programs, the first hypothesis tested was as follows:
H1. Employees participating in formal volunteer programs (groups 1, 2, and 4)
will perceive greater enhancement of job-related skills can be achieved
through participation in formal volunteer programs than employees not
participating in a volunteer program (groups 3 and 5).
The work attitudes investigated in this study included organizational commitment and
job satisfaction. Prior studies have demonstrated work attitudes are generally positive
in corporations that support volunteer programs (Frank-Alston, 2001; Lewin, 1991).
These results are typically viewed as supporting the notion that work attitudes are
more favorable in companies that adopt a volunteer program because these companies
are more likely to be concerned about issues that are important to employees. These
issues might include a commitment to the quality of employee work-life, enriching the
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work environment, providing opportunities for employee growth (Caudron, 1994;
Laabs, 1993; Miller, 1997), and demonstrating a “humanized sense of the company as a
community” (Wild, 1993, p 18). According to this view, employee attitudes should be
favorable among all personnel in companies that adopt a corporate volunteer program,
regardless of whether the employee participates in the volunteer program.
Another possibility is that only employees participating in the corporate volunteer
program will have more favorable work attitudes (Stebbins, 1989). This view is based on
the assumption that employee volunteers will share common values with their work
organization. Companies with a corporate volunteer program are typically perceived to
have an interest in community and social issues (Backhaus et al., 2002). It might be
reasonable to expect that employees participating in a company volunteer program would
also share a similar interest in community and social issues. As a result, employees
participating in company volunteer programs may feel a stronger connection with their
employer. Thus, employees participating in corporate volunteer program are likely to feel
a stronger bond with their company through mutual interests and perhaps exhibit more
positive work attitudes than employees who do not participate or share similar views.
Employees participating in the corporate volunteer program may also exhibit more
favorable work attitudes than employees participating in a non-corporate sponsored
volunteer program. Participants in the company sponsored volunteer program may be
more likely to share the company’s beliefs about the particular target of the corporate
volunteer program. For instance, employees with strong convictions on preserving the
environment may be more likely to volunteer and to feel a stronger attachment to their
work organization if the organization adopts a volunteer program that targets
environmental issues. Employees participating in volunteer programs that are not
associated with the company volunteer program may share similar views with their
company on the importance of volunteerism, but they may not share similar views with
their organization regarding the specific areas targeted by the company’s volunteer
program. Hence, these individuals may devote their volunteer efforts to other programs
targeting areas that are of more interest to them. Therefore their level of shared interest
with the company may be less and consequently there may be less attachment to the
organization. Thus, the second set of hypotheses tested was as follows:
H2a. Organizational commitment will be higher among employees participating in
a corporate volunteer program (group 1) than employees participating in
volunteer programs that are not associated with the company (groups 2 and 4)
and employees not participating in any volunteer programs (groups 3 and 5).
H2b. Job satisfaction will be higher among employees participating in a corporate
volunteer program (group 1) than employees participating in volunteer
programs that are not associated with the company (groups 2 and 4) and
employees not participating in any volunteer programs (groups 3 and 5).
Control for gender
Several studies have observed gender differences on issues related to volunteerism. For
instance, a series of studies conducted by Wuthnow and associates have noted gender
differences in the reasons for volunteering, types of volunteer activities, and the
satisfaction derived from volunteering (Wuthnow, 1995). It has also been reported that
females are more likely to view volunteerism as a challenging and educational experience
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(Ibrahim and Brannen, 1997). Due to potential gender difference with respect to
volunteerism, the present study included gender in the data analysis for control purposes.
Methodology
The questionnaire
A mail survey procedure was used in this study. The survey was first pre-tested in two
MBA classes with a total of 76 students. Most of the graduate students either had
current or previous experience working full-time in a professional position. Based on
the results obtained from the pre-test with MBA students, a few changes were made in
the wording and clarity of the items.
A definition for company volunteer programs similar to the one presented in the
first paragraph of this paper was included on the survey. Respondents were asked to
indicate whether their company had adopted a volunteer program. Respondents who
indicated their company had a volunteer program were requested to provide
information concerning their company’s use of six types of support for volunteer
programs. The responses to these six items indicated that 94 percent of the
companies publicize a need for employee volunteers, 79 percent organized team
projects, 36 percent provided matching funds for volunteer efforts, 87 percent
acknowledged volunteer participation through awards or commendations, 65
percent recognized participation in formal job evaluations, and 59 percent provided
release time. These results would seem to suggest that most of the companies
identified as adopting a corporate volunteer program were committed to supporting
their volunteer programs.
Respondents were also asked if they had participated in any formal volunteer
programs in the last 12 months. Employees who had participated in a formal volunteer
program indicated whether the program was associated with their company’s
volunteer program or if their participation in the volunteer activity was acknowledged
by their employer.
Respondents provided their views on the four job skills that might be developed or
enhanced through participation in a volunteer program. The job skills included “teamwork
skills”, “communication skills both verbal and written”, “project management skills”,
and “leadership and people skills”. Respondents rated the extent to which they agreed that
volunteerism could enhance each of the job related skills. To simplify the task demands on
the participants, a response on a seven-point scale ranging from strongly disagree to
strongly agree was used for all Likert scale items on the survey. Higher values indicated
the respondent believed these skills could be improved through volunteerism.
Organizational commitment was measured using the nine-item version of the
organizational commitment questionnaire developed by Mowday et al. (1979).
Organizational commitment assesses the relative strength of an individual’s
identification and involvement with an organization. It consists of three related factors:
(1) Acceptance of the organization’s goals and values.
(2) Willingness to exert effort on behalf of the organization.
(3) Desire to remain with the organization (Roozen et al., 2001).
The items were averaged for each respondent with higher values representing higher
organizational commitment. The reliability of the scale was 0.792 for the data collected
in this study.
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Job satisfaction was assessed with three global items:
(1) “I find real enjoyment in my job.”
(2) “Most days I am enthusiastic about my job.”
(3) “I feel well satisfied with my job.”
These items were developed by Price and Mueller (1981) and have been used in a number
of previous studies. Prior research has demonstrated that these items have an acceptable
level of validity and reliability (Goldberg and Waldman, 2000). Responses for the three
items were average for each respondent with higher scores representing greater job
satisfaction. The reliability of this measure was 0.810 for the data collected in this study.
To ensure honest responses and reduce potential biases from socially desirable
response tendencies, this study took numerous steps to ensure the anonymity of the
respondents. For instance, the survey was mailed directly to the respondent’s home
address, the cover letter stressed that no attempt would be made to identify the
respondents, described how the respondents were randomly selected, and pointed out that
no markings were used to identify the respondents on the survey or the return envelop.
Respondents
To obtain a sample of business professionals from a number of diverse functional areas
and organizations, the sampling frame in the present study consisted of names on a
computerized list of alumni from a large mid-western state university in the US. The
random selection option was used to randomly select 1,000 names from a computer
database of individuals who earned a degree from the College of Business Administration
between the years 1981 and 1997 and were presently residing in the US. Over half of the
respondents on the mailing list were currently residing in one of six states located in the
mid-west. However, 41 of the 50 states were represented on the mailing list.
A cover letter, the survey, and a self-addressed postage paid envelope were mailed to the
individuals randomly selected for the study. Of the 1,000 surveys mailed, 12 were returned
as undeliverable. The number of completed surveys returned was 342, representing a 34.6
percent response rate. The number of useable surveys was reduced to 278 after eliminating
respondents who were deemed unsuitable for this study (e.g. currently unemployed,
self-employed, business owner, or provided incomplete information, etc.).
Approximately one-half of the respondents were females (46.8 percent). Almost 70
percent (186 out of 278) of the respondents were employed by a firm with an established
corporate volunteer program. Of these employees, nearly one-half participated in the
company volunteer program (82 out of 186) and 62 participated in a non-company
volunteer program. Conversely, for companies without a volunteer program, only half of
the respondents (46 out of 92) participated in a volunteer program.
Job titles of the respondents indicated a wide range of business professionals. Some
of the job titles listed by the respondents included:
.accountant;
.financial analyst;
.loan officer;
.sales representative;
.programmer/analyst;
.manager;
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.human resource director; and
.sales manager.
Respondents were also asked to indicate the nature of the firm at which they were
employed. Some of the responses included:
.government;
.manufacturing;
.distributor/warehouse;
.transportation;
.retail;
.insurance;
.financial;
.accounting;
.technology; and
.telecommunications.
Results
The means for perceived enhancement of job-related skills through volunteer programs are
summarized in Table I. Since one treatment condition was missing for a complete factorial
design, the first hypothesis was tested by analyzing each job skill measure with a 5
(groups) £2 (Gender) ANOVA (Milliken and Johnson, 1992, p. 174). The differences
between the five groups were significant for all four job skills (F(4, 268) ¼14.10, 3.89, 8.37,
2.98 all p,0.01 for teamwork, communication, project management, and
leadership/people skills, respectively). Tukey’s pairwise comparison tests for teamwork
skills revealed that the difference between groups 1, 2, and 4 (the volunteer groups) were
not significant, but the means for all three groups were significantly higher than the means
for groups 3 and 5 (the non-volunteer groups). The differences between the means for
groups 3 and 5 were not significant. The same pattern of results was observed for project
management skills. For communication and leadership/people skills, Tukey’s test indicated
the only significant differences were between the means for group 1 and group 5. Thus, for
the most part the data support the first hypothesis that volunteers perceived greater job
skill development than non-volunteers. The last row of Table I also illustrates that female
respondents perceived greater job skill enhancement than did male respondents for all four
job-related skills (F(1,268) ¼7.17, 11.64, 5.69, 4.75, all p,0.05 for teamwork,
communication, project management, and leadership/people skills, respectively).
A5£2 ANOVA was also conducted on organizational commitment. The results
are presented in Table II. The analysis yielded a significant difference between the five
groups (F(4,254) ¼6.34, p,0.01). Tukey’s pairwise comparison tests revealed the
means for groups 1 and 2 were significantly higher than the mean for group 5. Thus,
organizational commitment was higher for volunteers from companies with a
corporate volunteer program than for non-volunteers from companies without a
volunteer program. Therefore, the results only partially support H2a. The analysis did
not reveal any significant differences for gender (F(1,254) ¼0.65, p,0.05).
The 5 £2 analysis on the data for job satisfaction revealed a significant effect of
groups (F(4,262) ¼3.00, p,0.05), but no significant effect of gender (F(1,262) ¼0.43).
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However, there was a significant group by gender interaction (F(4,262) ¼3.14,
p,0.05). Simple main effects analysis revealed that the differences in the means
between the five groups for the male employees were not significant. For female
employees, the simple main effects analysis indicated that job satisfaction was
significantly higher for the three volunteer groups (groups 1, 2, and 4) than for the two
non-volunteer groups (groups 3 and 5). The significant interaction between groups and
gender is illustrated in Figure 1 by combining the three volunteer groups and the two
non-volunteer groups. Figure 1 demonstrates that job satisfaction is higher for female
volunteers than for female non-volunteers. However for males, volunteer participation
was not related to the level of job satisfaction.
Discussion
This study demonstrates that the views of employees are consistent with results
reported in previous studies regarding the development of job skills through
participation in volunteer programs. More specifically, the mean ratings for the
Job skills
nTeamwork Communication
Project
management
Leadership
people
Overall mean 5.04 4.71 4.24 4.80
Groups
Companies with a CVP
1. Volunteers in the CVP 82 5.57 5.06 4.73 5.18
2. Volunteers not in the CVP 62 5.44 4.63 4.66 4.92
3. Non-volunteers 42 4.05 4.43 3.26 4.50
Companies without a CVP
4. Volunteers 46 5.21 4.96 4.41 4.91
5. Non-volunteers 46 4.23 4.18 3.52 4.13
Gender
Females 130 5.25 5.01 4.50 5.05
Males 148 4.85 4.45 4.01 4.59
Note: CVP is corporate volunteer program
Table I.
Means for perceived
enhancement of job skills
by gender and groups
Organizational commitment Job satisfaction
Females Males Total Females Males Total
Companies with a CVP
1. Volunteers in CVP 5.50 5.15 5.29 5.43 5.25 5.32
2. Volunteers not in CVP 5.20 5.10 5.15 5.28 5.00 5.13
3. Non-volunteers 4.69 4.78 4.74 4.43 5.21 4.84
Companies without a CVP
4. Volunteers 4.91 4.42 4.66 5.40 4.83 5.11
5. Non-volunteers 4.37 4.70 4.53 4.23 5.00 4.64
Overall means 5.02 4.96 5.03 5.09
Table II.
Mean organizational
commitment and job
satisfaction by gender
and groups
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enhancement of job-related skills through participation in volunteer programs were
above the neutral value (4) for all four job-related skills. Of the four job-related skills,
volunteerism was viewed as enhancing teamwork skills the most and project
management skills the least.
As hypothesized, employees participating in a volunteer program perceived greater
enhancement of job-related skills through volunteerism than did the employees who
did not participate in any formal volunteer program. The data did not provide
sufficient evidence to indicate that employees participating in a company volunteer
program perceived greater job skill development than employees participating in
non-company sponsored volunteer programs. However, a higher proportion of
employees in companies with a volunteer program participated in formal volunteer
programs (80 percent vs 50 percent, see Table I). Since volunteerism apparently
improves job skills, the adoption of a corporate volunteer program may be beneficial
since it is associated with higher volunteerism rates.
It was not possible to determine the nature of the relationship between volunteerism
and perceived enhancement of job skills based on the results of this study. That is, the
relationship could be attributed to the possibility that individuals who volunteer do so
in part because they believe volunteerism contributes to the development of job skills.
On the other hand, there may be a relationship between the variables because the
individuals participating in a volunteer program have the opportunity to discover that
volunteerism can result in the development of new job-related skills.
The results of this study also demonstrate that female employees are more likely to
perceive that volunteer participation can enhance job-related skills. This finding could
be viewed as consistent with a prior study indicating that females are more likely to
view volunteerism as an educational experience (Ibrahim and Brannen, 1997). It cannot
be determined based on the present data why females may be more likely to perceive
greater benefits from volunteerism. One possibility is that females are more likely to
Figure 1.
Job satisfaction interaction
between gender and
volunteerism
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rely on formal evaluation procedures to achieve career advancement since they may
have less access to the informal procedures and social networks that are often
employed by males to achieve career advancement (Sweeney and McFarlin, 1997). To
compensate and overcome potential barriers in the workplace, female employees may
be more likely to rely on the development of formal credentials. Thus, they are more
likely to seek out post-employment education and training to improve their chances of
career advancement (Cannings and Montmarquette, 1991). In the case of the present
study, female employees may be more likely to view volunteer participation as a means
to obtain and document the development of new job skills in the same manner that they
view post-employment education as a means to achieve career advancement.
Results indicating that females are more likely to view volunteerism as a means of
developing job skills could have practical implications for directors or corporate
volunteer programs. Directors have a strong interest in identifying individual
motivational differences for volunteering in order to target recruitment strategies to
specific individuals groups (Clary et al., 1994). The results of this study suggest that a
recruitment strategy aimed at potential female volunteers may want to stress the
possibility that participation may enhance job relevant skills.
The results did not support the assumption that all employees from companies with
a volunteer program would exhibit higher organizational commitment. This would
seem to suggest that organizational commitment is not higher in companies that have
adopted a volunteer program because these companies are committed to the issues that
interest employees, such as ensuring a highly quality of work life for the employees. If
this were the case, then all three groups from corporations with a volunteer program
would presumably exhibit the same level of organizational commitment.
Instead, organizational commitment was higher for volunteers from companies with
a corporate volunteer program than for non-volunteers in organizations without a
corporate volunteer program. This result is consistent with the proposal that
volunteers employed with organizations that have a corporate volunteer program may
share similar interests and form a bond with their employer. Thus, the results could be
interpreted as being consistent with the view that employee volunteers and
organizations with a volunteer program share similar values regarding the importance
of involvement in community and social issues.
There was not sufficient evidence to indicate that organizational commitment was
higher among participants in company volunteer programs than participants in
non-company sponsored volunteer program. This finding fails to support the
contention that the specific area targeted by the company volunteer program may
result in greater organizational commitment among only the volunteers in the
company’s program.
The relationship between volunteerism and job satisfaction was moderated by
employee gender. For male employees, job satisfaction was unrelated to both their
participation in volunteer programs and whether or not their organization had adopted
a corporate volunteer program. Thus, neither variable was related to the level of job
satisfaction for male employees. However, for female employees, job satisfaction was
highly related to volunteer participation, regardless of whether or not their
participation was associated with the company volunteer program.
It is not readily apparent why a stronger relationship was observed between job
satisfaction and volunteerism for female employees. One feasible explanation may be
Corporate
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that the desire for social interaction may account for both an interest in volunteering and
job satisfaction among female employees, but not among male employees. For instance,
research has shown that extroverts report higher levels of job satisfaction (Judge et al.,
2002). Studies have also found that one of the primary motives for volunteering is a
desire for social interaction (Wilson and Musick, 1997). This is especially true for
females, whereas social interaction is not generally considered to be a primary motive for
volunteering among males (Wuthnow, 1995, p. 160). Hence, a potential explanation for
the current results is that gregarious females may be both more likely to be satisfied with
their job and more likely to participate in volunteer programs.
Limitations and conclusions
While there are several anecdotal and company reports suggesting a number of
benefits associated with corporate volunteer programs, there have been very few
academic studies in the area. This study represents an exploratory attempt to validate
some of the claims made in previous reports. As in all exploratory studies using survey
procedures, there are several limitations to present investigation. One potentially
importation limitation that may be particularly relevant for this study is that
participation in mail surveys is typically influenced by the level of interest in the topic.
Thus, it is possible that the individuals involved in formal volunteer programs would
be more likely to return the survey. Therefore, it is possible that the results presented
in this study overestimate the actual percentage of employees involved in volunteer
programs as well as the number or organizations with corporate volunteer programs.
However, this limitation should not bias the main findings in the present study that
demonstrates numerous benefits for companies adopting a corporate volunteer
program. The benefits include the perception among employees that volunteerism is an
effective means of acquiring job-related skills particularly among females and
employees participating in volunteer programs. In addition, organizational
commitment is higher among volunteers in organizations with a volunteer program.
Finally job satisfaction was related to volunteerism among females, but not males.
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... A recent work by Supanti and Butcher (2019) recognized that CSRP had a positive and sturdier effect on MW and OCB than CSR perceptions. Higher CSR involvement provides a firsthand opportunity to the employees to positively impact society, resulting in greater work significance/meaningfulness and employee commitment (Peterson, 2004c;Raub, 2017;Daniel, 2019). ...
... work variety, autonomy and POS; Boštjan ci c et al., 2018), enhanced employee skills/competencies/motivation (e.g. socialization, teamwork, communication, networking and leadership/managerial skills; Peterson, 2004c;de Gilder et al., 2005;Jones, 2016), meaningfulness (Rodell, 2013;Supanti and Butcher, 2019) and happiness and cohesion at work (Im et al., 2018). In a nutshell, sensemaking, job characteristics, SIT and SET frameworks mutually endorse that a wide-ranging CSR policy (benefiting both internal and external stakeholders) fulfills employees' psychological needs, including physiological (fair remuneration), safety (job security), belonging (affiliation/ socialization), esteem (pride and self-respect) and self-actualization/transcendence needs (a sense of purpose/meaningfulness). Thus, CSR continually inspires the employees to remain motivated, engaged and committed by fulfilling their fundamental need for a meaningful existence (Glavas, 2012;Glavas and Kelley, 2014;Chaudhary and Akhouri, 2019;Wiedemann, 2019). ...
... The given results support a cohesive effect of social exchange and job design theories (Hackman and Oldham, 1975;Lysova et al., 2019), emphasizing that vigorous ICSR practices ignite feelings of obligation and meaningfulness, which coaxes employees to reciprocate constructively in the form of higher affection, commitment, OCB and intent to stay (Farooq et al., 2014a;Hur et al., 2019). Further, employees' involvement in CSR and CVPs directly augments meaningfulness and positive work attitude (Supanti and Butcher, 2019) in exchange for the underlying psychological benefits enjoyed by employees in the form of skills development (like leadership and networking), feelings of pride, happiness, cohesion and most importantly, an MW-life (Peterson, 2004c;Koch et al., 2019;Im et al., 2018). ...
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... McCallum et al. (2013) [10] describe that employee skill-based volunteerism should support company reputation, cost reduction, business strategy, and partnerships. Peterson (2004) [11] proves that volunteerism is an effective tool for developing and enhancing job-related skills. The female employees prefer more volunteering activities than male employees. ...
... McCallum et al. (2013) [10] describe that employee skill-based volunteerism should support company reputation, cost reduction, business strategy, and partnerships. Peterson (2004) [11] proves that volunteerism is an effective tool for developing and enhancing job-related skills. The female employees prefer more volunteering activities than male employees. ...
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... Affective organizational commitment (AOC) is a more relevant positive outcome of employee volunteering. It is often cited as a significant predictor of critical workplace behaviors and attitudes such as job satisfaction, loyalty, etc. (Haski-Leventhal et al., 2019;Cooper-Hakim and Viswesvaran, 2005;Meyer et al., 2002;Peterson, 2004). The study draws from social exchange theory to understand the relationship between employee volunteering and affective organizational commitment. ...
... Extant studies highlight that age, gender and educational qualification (Brammer et al., 2007;Brockner et al., 2014;Peterson, 2004) predicts the relationship between certain employee discretionary behavior and affective commitment. We therefore use them as control variables in the study. ...
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... In den vergangenen Jahren wurden die zuvor genannten Aktivitäten detailliert aus (sozial-)psychologischer und soziologischer Perspektive betrachtet. Auf der anderen Seite gilt Employee Volunteering als ein wenig erschlossenes Forschungsfeld (Steel 1995;Peterson 2004a;De Gilder et al. 2005;Vian et al. 2007;Bussell und Forbes 2008). Hinzu kommt, dass die vereinzelten wirtschaftswissenschaftlichen Beiträge in erster Linie auf Fallstudien und Anekdoten basieren (Peterson 2004a, S. 626;Grant 2011, S. 45). ...
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Skills-based volunteering programs sit at the intersection of corporate philanthropy and human resources (HR). These programs enable employees to volunteer their specialized skills to support non-profit organizations, while developing new skills along the way. While these programs are the fastest growing way that firms deliver on their corporate social responsibility strategy, the academic literature has all but ignored them. However, there is ample opportunity to build an understanding of skills-based volunteering from existing research that crosses the realms of employee volunteering and skills. This systematic literature review of 36 peer-reviewed articles forms the basis of this paper, where we provide a definition of skills-based volunteering, and offer a theoretical model to guide future HR research and practice on skills-based volunteering.
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Most research on the corporate philanthropy of organizations has focused on the external benefits of such initiatives for firms, such as benefits for firm reputation and opportunities. However, many firms justify their giving, in part, due to the positive impact it has on their employees. Little is known about the effectiveness of such efforts, or how they can be managed strategically to maximize impact. We hypothesize a main effect of office-level corporate philanthropy on average employee attitudes in that office, but also investigate three strategies that offices may use to enhance this impact. Testing our hypotheses with 3 years of data on attitudes of an average of 14,577 employees in 53 offices we find support for the main effect, but mixed support for the specific strategies used to enhance impact.
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This study explores the role of positive corporate social responsibility (CSR) perceptions of employees in reducing cynicism toward the organization. As employee involvement in CSR activities through volunteering could influence the perceptions of CSR among employees, the moderating impact of employee volunteering on the relationship between CSR perceptions and cynicism is also tested. Considering that managers and non-managers can have different perceptions of CSR and organizational realities, the relationship between CSR and organizational cynicism is compared among managerial and non-managerial staff working in large organizations. The analysis of 348 questionnaires collected from 191 managers and 157 non-managers showed that positive perceptions of CSR were negatively correlated with organizational cynicism for both managers and non-managers, with significantly stronger negative correlations among managers. Employee volunteering did not significantly moderate the relationship between CSR and organi
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This study investigated whether participating in inter-organisational (i.e. self-directed, non-strategic) employee volunteering, which is common but rarely studied, is associated with increased organisational commitment. We find evidence for this relation in a sample (N = 385) of employee volunteers and their non-volunteering co-workers. We statistically account for self-selection into the volunteering program by incorporating individual motives for volunteering. Volunteers compared to non-volunteers exhibited relatively stronger motives of expressing altruistic values and avoiding negative affect, but a weaker motive of attaining career advancement. Our findings point to an efficient way of increasing organisational commitment that is relatively inexpensive to implement. They also complement existing research from other employee volunteering contexts, pointing to a possible trade-off between the desired outcomes of effectively managing volunteering programs.
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This article contributes to a better understanding of the social acceptance of the investment model of volunteering, i.e. the view that volunteering can enhance employability through the development of professionally relevant knowledge and competences. Based on the analysis of Eurobarometer data, the article explores: (1) the prevalence of the investment model of volunteering in the EU-27 countries and the extent to which this varies between individuals with the potential to make hiring decisions (IHP) and the general population, (2) the demographic factors associated with the acceptance of this model, (3) whether national differences in the acceptance of the model are better explained by variation between countries or cross-national demographic factors and (4) whether national institutional characteristics related to the competitiveness of the national labour market, the specificity of the education system, the strength of the continuing vocational training system and cultural factors influence acceptance. The results show that the acceptance of the investment model of volunteering is relatively widespread in Europe and that variation in the acceptance of the investment model amongst the general population is driven by both individual (age and class) and between-country differences (related to the strength of training for unemployed people), but variation is more attributable to differences between countries than cross-national demographic groups. IHP, on the other hand, tend to be more homogenous in their acceptance of the investment model than the general population.
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