Rethinking episodic volunteering in the light of the gig economy (scriptie)

28 december 2017, 00:00
Thomas Behrendt
Thomas Behrendt
A Qualitative Multi-Method Research on the Exploration of Productivity-Related Benefits of Short-Term Volunteer Commitment
Thomas Behrendt examines the phenomenon of episodic volunteering, an emerging type of volunteer commitment that is redefining the nature of non-profit work. The underlying paradigm shift from long-term to short-term participation poses new (managerial) challenges that have sparked the interest of scholars and practitioners alike. Taking into account that volunteers make vital contributions not only to organizations but also to society as a whole, adequate solutions are required to facilitate successful short-term participation, which is seen as the wave of the future. To the concern of those involved, previous studies of episodic volunteering have highlighted related challenges and risks, yet leaving potential benefits mostly unexplored. As a result, volunteer managers have been little enthusiastic about accommodating a new generation of seemingly expensive volunteers.
1. Thomas, you are at a party and have to explain your paper in three sentences. What would you say?
‘This qualitative work examines the value of short-term volunteer commitment, one of the most impactful trends in volunteering at the moment. Learnings are derived by drawing parallels to paid-work environments, in which the so-called Gig Economy is transforming modern work relationships. The paper concludes with some clear guidelines for volunteer managers.’  
2. What is the most important conclusion after your research?
‘The power of episodic volunteering must not be underestimated! Volunteer managers need to get ready in order to reap the benefits of a changing volunteer workforce.’
3. Who will find this paper interesting to read?
‘Volunteers, volunteer managers, managers in for-profit organizations, paid employees, researchers.’
4. What recommendations can you give that people can put into practice?
‘It is important to include all kinds of volunteers, also those who are only willing to commit themselves for a short amount of time. Try to think ahead and create tasks that are suitable for episodic volunteers.’  
Institution: Rotterdam School of Management
Program: Msc International Management / CEMS
Supervisor: Prof. Dr. L. C. P. M. Meijs
Co-reader: Prof. Dr. A. J. J. A. Maas
December 2016 
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