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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.
Michael W. Kramer (PhD, University of Texas) was Professor at the University of Missouri for nineteen years before coming to the University of Oklahoma in 2010 as Chair and Professor of the Department of Communication. His research focuses on the assimilation/socialization process of employees in transition but lately has focused on volunteers. He has published two other books: Managing Uncertainty in Organizational Contexts (2004) and Organizational Socialization: Joining and Leaving Organizations (2010).
Laurie K. Lewis (PhD, University of California at Santa Barbara) is Professor and Chair of the Department of Communication in the Rutgers University School of Communication and Information. Previously she held faculty positions at Pennsylvania State University and the University of Texas at Austin. A recognized expert in organizational communication including change processes, nonprofits, and collaboration, her work has appeared in Communication Monographs, Human Communication Research, Management Communication Quarterly, and her book, Organizational Change: Creating Change through Strategic Communication. She has consulted and done training for various nonprofit organizations including Habitat for Humanity, Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, the Sharing Network, and Austin’s Community Action Network.
Loril M. Gossett (PhD, Colorado at Boulder) is Associate Professor of Communication Studies and Organizational Science at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Previously she was a faculty member at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas and the University of Texas at Austin. Her theoretical interests are focused on issues of identification, member voice, and managerial control strategies within organizational settings. Her research has been published in such forums as Communication Monographs, Management Communication Quarterly, Communication Yearbook, and Public Performance and Management Review.