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Volunteers’ personal support and learning systems operating between volunteers, paid staff and management in two voluntary human service delivery organisations in the south of England

Volunteers’ personal support and learning systems operating between volunteers, paid staff and management in two voluntary human service delivery organisations in the south of England
Volunteers’ personal support and learning systems operating between volunteers, paid staff and management in two voluntary human service delivery organisations in the south of England
Current research into the management of volunteers has tended to focus on the managers’ perspective, particularly the volunteer recruitment processes. Consequently it has overlooked aspects of the day-to-day interactions between volunteers and their managers, their fellow volunteers and any paid staff. This study explores the nature and content of those relationships, particularly matters of personal support and opportunities to learn on the job in two different voluntary human service delivery organisations. The experiences of a group of established volunteer receptionists at a day hospice are compared with a mixed group of volunteer newcomers and paid, experienced carers at a drug and alcohol support centre. The formation and development of their relationships with others is analysed from the twin perspectives of volunteers seeking and receiving support, and their initial and day-to-day learning about their work. Since the groups were small, standard statistical approaches would have been inappropriate. Instead a relational network approach was adopted which, together with traditional qualitative analysis techniques facilitated analysis of the groups as well as individuals in the two sets of participants. Learning was found to be dependent on the growth of personal support networks as well as utilising the expertise of ‘old timers’. Maintaining small networks of support providers was found to be essential to volunteers who worked in isolated circumstances. The findings indicate a need for systematic studies of management-led support and mentoring of volunteers.
Greenhalgh, Roy
74fcffa0-0d76-465d-a86c-d5d5de7574e3
Greenhalgh, Roy
74fcffa0-0d76-465d-a86c-d5d5de7574e3
HARRIS, BERNARD J
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Roth, Silke
cd4e63d8-bd84-45c1-b317-5850d2a362b6
SAUNDERS, CLARE
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Greenhalgh, Roy (2013) Volunteers’ personal support and learning systems operating between volunteers, paid staff and management in two voluntary human service delivery organisations in the south of England. University of Southampton, Social Sciences, Doctoral Thesis, 329pp.

Record type: Thesis (Doctoral)

Abstract

Current research into the management of volunteers has tended to focus on the managers’ perspective, particularly the volunteer recruitment processes. Consequently it has overlooked aspects of the day-to-day interactions between volunteers and their managers, their fellow volunteers and any paid staff. This study explores the nature and content of those relationships, particularly matters of personal support and opportunities to learn on the job in two different voluntary human service delivery organisations. The experiences of a group of established volunteer receptionists at a day hospice are compared with a mixed group of volunteer newcomers and paid, experienced carers at a drug and alcohol support centre. The formation and development of their relationships with others is analysed from the twin perspectives of volunteers seeking and receiving support, and their initial and day-to-day learning about their work. Since the groups were small, standard statistical approaches would have been inappropriate. Instead a relational network approach was adopted which, together with traditional qualitative analysis techniques facilitated analysis of the groups as well as individuals in the two sets of participants. Learning was found to be dependent on the growth of personal support networks as well as utilising the expertise of ‘old timers’. Maintaining small networks of support providers was found to be essential to volunteers who worked in isolated circumstances. The findings indicate a need for systematic studies of management-led support and mentoring of volunteers.

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More information

Published date: December 2013
Organisations: University of Southampton, Sociology, Social Policy & Criminology

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 367653
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/367653
PURE UUID: a7386bf6-d797-441a-a5d1-38e76e250e3f
ORCID for Silke Roth: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-8760-0505

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 02 Sep 2014 10:51
Last modified: 27 Jan 2020 13:41

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