Applying theories of Institutional Helping to Informal Volunteering: Motives, role identity, and prosocial personality

Marcia A. Finkelstein1, Michael Brannick2
1University of South Florida, United States
2University of South Florida, United Arab Emirates
Cite this article:  Finkelstein, M. A., & Brannick, M. (2007). Applying theories of Institutional Helping to Informal Volunteering: Motives, role identity, and prosocial personality. Social Behavior and Personality: An international journal, 35, 101-114.

Volume 35 Issue 1 | e1550 | Published: February 2007 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.2224/sbp.2007.35.1.101

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Dispositional variables from a volunteer model were shown to apply to informal volunteering. The model integrates two theories of the volunteer process: functional analysis and role identity theory. Undergraduates, (N = 139), completed an informal volunteer inventory, and measures of motives, role identity, and prosocial personality. Two dimensions of informal volunteering: people-oriented and task-oriented were revealed. Both correlated with motives for helping and role identity. The personality dimension of Helpfulness was associated with both Informal Volunteering - People (IVP) and Informal Volunteering - Task (IVT), while Other-oriented Empathy correlated only with IVP. This study is the first to demonstrate the applicability of a model of formal volunteering to ongoing informal helping. Variables heretofore conceptualized as describing individuals within organizations, are seen as equally important in initiating and sustaining informal helping.

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