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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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Chapter 20 NEW DIRECTIONS FOR VOLUNTEERING Laurie K. Lewis, Loril M. Gossett, & Michael W. Kramer The inspiration for this book came from of a series of conversations be- tween the three editors in which we all expressed frustration trying to find empirical research focused specifically on volunteering. While there is cer- tainly a great deal of interesting research being done in this area, it is spread among a wide variety of disciplines, journals, and countries. Our goal in preparing this text was to collect a series of research-based studies, from a variety of viewpoints and methodological orientations, which could serve both as a text for volunteer-focused courses, as well as a general reference guide for scholars interested in this research area. Ironically, when we first proposed this project several of our colleagues told us that very little research existed and we would be lucky to get even a handful of submissions. Undaunted by the naysayers, we are delighted to report that this was far from the case. In fact, we had over 60 chapter pro- posals submitted for this book, from multiple countries and disciplines. As such, we were left with the difficult but rewarding task of selecting ones to include. To that end, we are proud to provide this compendium of volunteer scholarship as a way to promote a compelling research agenda we hope will continue to grow and develop for years to come. Key Themes in the Text This volume is one of the first to focus attention...

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