Influences of Volunteer Behavior

1028 words | 4 page(s)

With volunteering in place, individuals are able to be part of conceptual ideas as well as incepting academic, social and technical skills that are way beyond the scope of a classroom setting. Volunteering diversifies a person’s experience as well as the environment regardless of whether one is teaching marginalized kids or helping at the local library. According to social science, there have been some characteristics identified that can influence volunteering behavior. Some of the determinants that influenced volunteering behavior are higher education, social status and intelligence. These characteristics fall under personality determinants.

Personality characteristics are features that are attached to a person, such as occupational status, gender, and birth order. According to Staub, (2013), first-born college students pose a higher need for affiliation than later-born college students partly due to child rearing practices. It is thought that the need for affiliation is what influenced their volunteering behavior. Later research from researchers such as Linardi and McConnell, (2011) predicted that first-born would volunteer group experiments more than later born. This was due to the need for affiliation and the possibility that there was an overrepresentation of first-borns. They conducted their study by contacting a100 male students at Yale University individually in dorm rooms and asking them to participate in small group experiments. They found that more first-borns volunteers than later-born. Wilson, (2012), said although more first-born showed up for voluntary group testing more than later-born and he too predicted that it could have been due to an overrepresentation of first-born.

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Looking at college populations nationwide from different researchers’ data proved the idea of overrepresentation. Staub, (2013) had conflicting results, he took it a step further by soliciting volunteers under three conditions, which were group study, individual experiment and last one was not described. He found that there was no difference between first and later born volunteering for the conditions. Bereczkei and Czibor, (2014) tried a different approach to recruitment. He recruited volunteers for a sensory deprivation experiment by posting signs on bulletin boards and got reversed results, 79 percent of his volunteers were first-born and more first-borns volunteered for his experiment when compared to Staub, (2013) experiment. We predicted that more first-born would be volunteering for the group experiments.

Situational determinants are the conditions of the environment that can influence volunteering, such as method of recruitment. According to Wilson, (2012) birth order may be significant depending on methods of recruitment. To prove his theory, he offered incentives for volunteering. He randomly assigned students from introductory psychology classes to one of three conditions. The first was extra credit in which students would receive credit for participating. Second was pay in which students would receive currency for participating. Lastly, was for the love of science in which they participated because they wanted to and they would not receive any compensation for taking part in it. He found that there was no significant difference between volunteers or the conditions. He believed that first-borns volunteered to satisfy the personalized appeal of the recruiter rather than to affiliate with others. Prior research by Linardi and McConnell, (2011) helped set the groundwork for the idea that the method of recruitment influenced volunteering behavior.

The experiment was conducted by recruiting subjects in a library setting where a confederate sat at a table next to a potential subject and read a book. The experimenter would then locate and ask the confederate if he or she wanted to participate in an experiment, he or she would reply with either yes or no. The recruiter would then asked the subject if he or she would like to participate in the experiment as well, to see if the yes or no from the confederate influenced the yes or no of the subject. In a controlled version of the experiment, the experimenter simply went up to a subject and asked if he or she would participate. As a result of that experiment, the subjects were more likely to participate if the confederate agreed to participate. A later study of that experiment which was conducted by Staub, (2013), but had an added condition of forcefulness to it concluded that volunteering increased when requests to participate increased. We predict that subjects will volunteer more if the confederate agrees to volunteer.

The participants of this experiment came from various areas of a large college campus. There were 66 participants in this experiment, which consisted of both male and female participant but was not relevant to the experiment. They were
Experimental Design

The experimental design is going to be used to see personality and situational determinants influence volunteering behavior. The situational factor will be the confederate’s response.

There will be three independent variables confederate yes (cy), confederate no (cn) and confederate control (cc). The dependent variable will be the yes or no response when asked to volunteer.

The independent variable for personality factor will be birth order. There will be two independent variables first-born and later-born. The dependent variable will be the type of experiment preferred.

The instruments used to collect data for this experiment was a data summary sheet and an experiment preference sheet, which was used to collect data about the participant’s gender, birth order and comfort level.

This experiment to recruit participants was conducted with a confederate and an experimenter. The experimenter would choose an area on campus to recruit participants and the confederate would go to that particular area, find the subject, and pretend to be busy doing work. After a few minutes the experimenter would come and ask the confederate if he or she wants to participate in an experiment and the confederate responds with a yes or no. The experimenter then asks the subject he or she would like to participate in an experiment the subject then responds with a yes or no. While that is happening the confederate leaves the area. The participant is then given the experiment preference sheet to fill out and the information from that
Sheet will be used to fill out the data summary sheet. The participant is then debriefed.

An overall 2*3 Chi-Square in depth analysis was mandated on the data and elicited a significant support with respect to the hypotheses with a p value of 1.976, p<0.05. Further, a consequent analysis was mandated with the use of a 2*2 Chi-Square contingency tables, with the main aim of comparing the confederate-yes as well as the confederate-no conditions to the overall control conditions. The confederate-yes did not establish significance as opposed to that of no 6.2857, p<0012172. From the analysis above, it can be clearly depicted that the same number of subjects were coherent to the confederate when they said both yes and no and the subjects consequently agreed to be part of the control conditions. Discussion In this investigation it was normal that the subject would be more inclined to conform to the conduct of the confederate. This exploratory speculation was affirmed, with a significant percentage of the subjects imitating confederates conduct in both of the two trial conditions. On the other hand, the Chi-Square investigations elicited significance when the confederate-no condition was contrasted with the control condition, while the confederate-yes and control condition neglected to show noteworthy results. These blended results could be on account of generally the same number of the subjects in the control condition consented to volunteer as did the subjects in the confederate-yes condition. The outcomes in the control condition appear to show that subjects are pretty much as prone to volunteer disregarding to the confederate's absence or presence, or the confederate's reaction.

  • Bereczkei, T., & Czibor, A. (2014). Personality and situational factors differently influence high Mach and low Mach persons’ decisions in a social dilemma game. Personality and Individual Differences, 64, 168-173.
  • Linardi, S., & McConnell, M. A. (2011). No excuses for good behavior: Volunteering and the social environment. Journal of Public Economics, 95(5), 445-454.
  • Staub, E. (2013). Positive social behavior and morality: Social and personal influences. Elsevier.
  • Wilson, J. (2012). Volunteerism research: A review essay. Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, 0899764011434558.

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