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Sport organizations rely on volunteers to accomplish their missions. Volunteers are a finite resource whose supply may not keep up with the ever increasing demand (Bussell & Forbes, 2002; Cuskelly, 2004). The number of organizations dependent on volunteer workers is increasing, while the number of individuals willing to volunteer is decreasing. While recruiting volunteers is important to sport organizations, retention of volunteers may be more important in order to remain viable in the competitive arena of volunteer services. Retention of volunteers should be a priority for reasons of efficiency since organizations would save time, effort, and money they would otherwise spend on recruitment and training. To assist practitioner's efforts to retain volunteers, researchers should investigate avenues to advance our understanding of volunteer retention. Toward this end the purpose of this study was three-fold: 1) to present a conceptual model illustrating the relationship between job demands and job resources as they relate to work engagement of sport volunteers leading to sport volunteer performance, commitment, satisfaction, and retention, 2) to investigate whether there were differences in volunteer engagement based on whether individuals were volunteering to work at sporting versus non-sporting events, and 3) exploring if there were differences based on a volunteer's generational cohort. A questionnaire was constructed incorporating measurements scales drawn from the literature which were modified to be applicable to the volunteer milieu, as well as items added by the researcher to assess content for which there were no items available in the existing literature. The questionnaire was vetted by an expert panel with the final version incorporated into the study. Nine hypotheses about the relationships in the proposed model were posited. Evidence from the study was found to support eight of the nine hypotheses. Based on the evidence from the data analysis, the following conclusions were drawn: the job resource with the greatest impact on volunteer engagement was social support, followed closely by feedback and supervisor support; job demands had a negative impact on volunteer engagement. There was an inverse relationship between job demands and job resources in regard to engagement in the volunteer context; sporting event volunteers did not exhibit different levels of engagement than those volunteering with non-sporting events. Volunteers representing different generations did exhibit differing preferences in regard to job resources while volunteering.
A Dissertation submitted to the Department of Sport Management in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Includes bibliographical references.
Jeffrey D. James, Professor Directing Dissertation; Gerald R. Ferris, University Representative; Pamela L. Perrewé, Committee Member; Ryan M. Rodenberg, Committee Member.
Florida State University
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