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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 4: Organizationally Supported Volunteering


Chapter 14 VOLUNTEERISM AND CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY: DEFINITIONS, MEASUREMENT, ROLES, AND COMMITMENT Donnalyn Pompper Temple University Increasingly, corporations strive to not only generate profits but also give back to communities and protect natural environments where they do busi- ness. Corporate social responsibility’s (CSR) guiding principle is business- society inter-dependency (Wood, 1991). Further, legal and social pressures have been enacted locally, nationally, and globally to hold corporations ac- countable. Yet, Crouch (2006) said how corporations do CSR is a “central puzzle” (p. 1534) since acting responsibly while turning a profit seems to involve conflicting goals. For example, if a corporation permits employees to perform community service during company time, those are paid hours not tangibly contributing to bottom line profits. Indeed, degrees of employer support for employee voluntary activity remains a relatively neglected form of CSR (McPhail & Bowles, 2008). The current study examined this generat- ing-profit-while-giving-back dynamic among Fortune 500 corporations by invoking the social exchange theory framework and closely examining how corporations define CSR and involve employees in community outreach ac- tivities, as well as employees’ perceptions of such programs. Of the 64.3 million people (26.8%) in the US engaged in volunteer activ- ities, 1.3% become involved through their employer (Bureau of Labor Statis- tics, U.S. Department of Labor, 2012). Tuffrey (1997) found that employee volunteerism is encouraged by 9 out of 10 U.S. firms and Wild (1993) found that over two-thirds of US firms offer time off for employee volunteerism. Nearly three-fourths of US-based firms offer matching gifts programs...

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