Does coerced volunteering undermine the public service motivation of volunteers? A moderated mediation model

Authors: Costello, J., Homberg, F. and Secchi, D.

Start date: 28 June 2016

Journal: International Society for Third-Sector Research

Volume: X

Publisher: ISTR

There has been an the increase within the past 20 years of mandatory volunteering programs within many school systems and in the past year in the UK’s Community Work Placement program. Consequently, there is the potential problem for volunteer coordinators who are managing individuals who have been coerced into volunteering. This coercion may undermine the motivation of volunteers and result in decreased performance. This study addresses the issue by examining the public service motivation (PSM) of 416 volunteers in southwestern UK. We use a moderated mediation model to test if coerced individuals have a poor person-organization fit (P-O fit) and thus a lower level of effort exerted. We found that those individuals who were coerced, but had low levels of PSM reported greater volunteer intensity then their non-coerced volunteers who also had low PSM levels. Whereas, when obligated, it strengthened the relationship between PSM and P-O fit. Consequently, this gives non-profit managers a clearer understanding of how to overcome the challenges coerced volunteers may present.

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