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Good deeds revisited: motivation and boundary spanning in formal volunteering

Meike Rombach (), Eunkyung Kang () and Vera Bitsch ()
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Meike Rombach: Technical University of Munich
Eunkyung Kang: Technical University of Munich

International Review on Public and Nonprofit Marketing, 2018, vol. 15, issue 1, No 7, 105-126

Abstract: Abstract The study investigates the motivation of volunteers to serve at the Federal Association of German Food Banks and volunteers’ interactions with food donors, food pantry managers and users. Social exchange theory is used as a frame to investigate volunteers’ interactions in the context of boundary spanning. Twenty in-depth interviews were recorded, transcribed and analyzed through qualitative content analysis. Volunteers are predominantly socially motivated to work at the German Food Bank, but this is not necessarily reflected all their interactions with food pantry users. Even though the authority in these interactions rests with the volunteers, they still feel uncomfortable in some interactions. Volunteers’ interactions with managers are essential, because managers tell volunteers, which tasks to carry out in which manner. But the volunteers do not necessarily respect the instructions in all cases. The interaction with food donors are negatively affected through a mismatch in the perception of authority within the collaboration. In some interactions, both parties believe they have authority within the interaction, even though they are rather equal partners. The study provides best practice recommendations on how to train volunteers to avoid interaction problems with food pantry users and donors.

Keywords: Charitable food assistance; In-depth interviews; Interpersonal authority; Qualitative content analysis; Social exchange theory (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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DOI: 10.1007/s12208-018-0193-7

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