Academic Round-up

Volunteering: credits and stigmas

People like to volunteer. Not only does it make them feel good, but all the research indicates that it makes them better employees, too. Corporate volunteers are more likely to work harder, to be more positive and to move jobs less often. But what do their non-volunteering colleagues think of them? The question has largely been ignored to date, mostly because people tend to volunteer in non-work time. But with the line between our private and professional lives blurring more and more, the question merits attention. Do colleagues and bosses give volunteers “credit” for being socially minded? Or do they stigmatize them for being focused on something other than work or for being morally superior? The answer carries with it important implications for the volunteer, who may receive more – or less – assistance, guidance and resources as a result.

The researchers assess the beliefs, perceptions, and attributions that colleagues form about an employee based on his or her volunteering. The crux of the issue comes down to motivation. If colleagues think a volunteer is driven by personal enjoyment and fulfilment, they tend to credit them for it - associating their volunteering with...

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