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Volunteering and Communication

Studies from Multiple Contexts

Edited By Michael W. Kramer, Loril M. Gossett and Laurie K. Lewis

This book won the 2014 Applied Communication Division Award for Outstanding Edited Book

There is a growing interest in studying nonprofit organizations and volunteers as an alternative to studying employees in for-profit businesses and government agencies. This is driven in part by the recognition that volunteers make important contributions to society and the economy. This book is the first edited volume written primarily by communication scholars to focus on volunteers. It explores the experience of being a volunteer and managing volunteers through a focus on empirical examination of communication in volunteering. The contributors explore volunteers broadly and are divided into five sections which cover becoming a volunteer; learning about self as a volunteer; dark sides of volunteering; organizationally supported volunteering; and voice and dissent. The final chapter suggests areas of future research and application of the book.
An important focus of the book is its data-based, empirical studies. Although each chapter includes applications, those recommendations are based on systematic studies of volunteers rather than primarily on anecdotal evidence or previous literature. Furthermore, each chapter includes a brief field experience narrative written by a volunteer, as well as addressing a broader conceptual or theoretical issue of organizational studies. In this way the book provides more than just case studies of volunteers, but also addresses general organizational issues.

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Section 2: Learning about Self

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Chapter 7 THE SISTERHOOD OF THE HAMMER: WOMEN ORGANIZING FOR COMMUNITY AND SELF Claudia L. Hale, Ph.D. Anita C. James, Ph.D. Ohio University It’s 7:30 AM; but by the time I arrive, 11 people are already at work. I have a meet- ing in my office later but want to be part of raising the exterior walls. Kelsey has brought her i-Pod and speakers. We work to Bonnie Raitt, Etta James, and Tina Turner. One of the first tasks is to put together jacks (a.k.a. “headers”). Leigh marks “jackass” on the boards; we all laugh. Later, we find four boards already marked with “J” (for “jack”). Looks like we’ve cut more boards than are needed—certainly isn’t the first time; probably won’t be the last. We move the “J” boards out of the way and use our “jackass” boards.…I watch Cindy trying to drive in a nail but mak- ing contact only 50% of the time. When contact is made, it is with less power than it takes to squash a fly. I resist the urge to do the task for her. I reflect on how frustrat- ing it must have been (must still be) for professionals to watch me do this stuff. (Hale Diary, Build 3, June 30) In the introduction to Reworking Gender, Ashcraft and Mumby (2004) observed that organizations are “fundamentally gendered” (p. xvii). In ad- dressing this topic, their attention was naturally drawn to 1) profit motive organizations, and 2) organizations that have both...

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