Unwaged labour intensified: Volunteer management and work targets at a UK charity

Authors: Read, R.

http://eprints.bournemouth.ac.uk/34126/

https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/0038026120938291

Journal: The Sociological Review

Publisher: SAGE

ISSN: 0038-0261

DOI: 10.1177/0038026120938291

Volunteer management is an expert practice which aims to maximise the productivity and efficiency of volunteers’ activities, by adapting Human Resource Management (HRM) approaches to voluntary work settings. Sociological and social anthropological studies of volunteering have not explored the significance and effects of volunteer management in sufficient detail. This article critically examines the historical emergence and contemporary UK practice of volunteer management at a charity providing counselling services by phone and online. Using data drawn from an ethnographic study among volunteers and staff at this charity, I examine how management practices were calibrated to encourage volunteers to achieve productivity targets. Volunteers’ workloads increased as a result, but management strategies also portrayed a willingness to work intensively as a key measure of altruistic and compassionate motivations. Drawing on feminist analyses of the constitutive nature of service work for workers’ subjectivities, I examine how volunteer management strategies engaged volunteers at the level of affect in order to align their attitudes, feelings and behaviours with the achievement of targets. My argument contributes new insights to sociological and social anthropological debates about volunteering and its relationship to employment, by evaluating how the values of productivity, efficiency and value for money, all of which cohere within volunteer management expert practice, come to animate and reorder the experiences of volunteering.

This data was imported from Scopus:

Authors: Read, R.

http://eprints.bournemouth.ac.uk/34126/

Journal: Sociological Review

Volume: 69

Issue: 1

Pages: 223-239

eISSN: 1467-954X

ISSN: 0038-0261

DOI: 10.1177/0038026120938291

© The Author(s) 2020. Volunteer management is an expert practice which aims to maximise the productivity and efficiency of volunteers’ activities, by adapting Human Resource Management (HRM) approaches to voluntary work settings. Sociological and social anthropological studies of volunteering have not explored the significance and effects of volunteer management in sufficient detail. This article critically examines the historical emergence of volunteer management in the UK, and explores its contemporary practice at a charity providing counselling services by phone and online. Using data drawn from an ethnographic study among volunteers and staff at this charity, I examine how management practices were calibrated to encourage volunteers to achieve productivity targets. Volunteers’ workloads increased as a result, but management strategies also portrayed a willingness to work intensively as a key measure of altruistic and compassionate motivations. Drawing on feminist analyses of the constitutive nature of service work for workers’ subjectivities, I examine how volunteer management strategies engaged volunteers at the level of affect in order to align their attitudes, feelings and behaviours with the achievement of targets. My argument contributes new insights to sociological and social anthropological debates about volunteering and its relationship to employment, by evaluating how the values of productivity, efficiency and value for money, all of which cohere within volunteer management expert practice, come to animate and reorder the experiences of volunteering.

This data was imported from Web of Science (Lite):

Authors: Read, R.

http://eprints.bournemouth.ac.uk/34126/

Journal: SOCIOLOGICAL REVIEW

Volume: 69

Issue: 1

Pages: 223-239

eISSN: 1467-954X

ISSN: 0038-0261

DOI: 10.1177/0038026120938291

The data on this page was last updated at 05:20 on March 4, 2021.