A Longitudinal Study of Organisational Commitment and Turnover Amongst Volunteer Administrators in Sport

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McIntyre, Norm
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Boag, Alistair
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The purpose of this study was to investigate the development of organisational commitment and turnover amongst volunteer administrators in sport. Declining volunteerism was identified as a problem for sporting clubs and associations. It was postulated that the turnover of volunteers was a symptom of decreasing levels of organisational commitment. The sampling frame was community-based, sporting organisations in the Greater Brisbane Metropolitan region of Queensland, Australia. Data was collected on three separate occasions over a twelve month period fiom a total of 469 subjects who were volunteer administrators in 52 randomly selected sporting clubs and associations. A series of self-administered questionnaires were designed and developed for the purposes of this study. The research instruments measured organisational commitment, perceived committee functioning, the benefits of volunteering and a range of behavioural and sociodemographic characteristics. A number of structural attributes about the sporting organisations were collected from a representative of each club or association. Personal visits were made to each of the sporting organisations to introduce the study and to initiate the first phase of data collection. Survey forms were mailed to each subject in phases two and three of the data collection process. A follow-up protocol resulted in responses to all four questionnaires being returned by a total of 328 subjects (69.9%). Data was entered into a computer file and statistically analysed using a number of procedures within the SPSS data analysis software program, including factor, regression and discriminant analyses. A number of variables were found to be significantly predictive of organisational commitment. These included age, occupational prestige, number of years as an organisational member, hours per week put into administration, rate of meeting attendance, altruism and perceived committee functioning. There was a temporal relationship between organisational commitment and perceived committee functioning. Altruism was rated as the most important benefit of volunteering but other benefits were seen as moderately important. Volunteer turnover was related to changes in the subject's level of organisational commitment and perceptions about committee functioning. Committee neophytes were found to be particularly susceptible to changes in their level of commitment, although they were no more likely than experienced committee members to leave their committee. Generally, individuals who left their committees remained positively committed to their sporting organisation. It was concluded that volunteer turnover was a problem for many sporting organisations. Further, volunteer's levels of organisational commitment declined and perceptions about committee functioning became less positive in the period prior to leaving a committee. Volunteer administrators were positively committed to their sporting clubs and associations, but their level of commitment was contingent upon how they perceived the functioning of their committee. Further, volunteering as an administrator was not perceived as a leisure experience by those who engaged in this activity. Several implications for theory and practice in the management of volunteers were discussed, as were recommendations for further research.

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Thesis (PhD Doctorate)
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Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
School of Leisure Studies
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Organisational commitment
Volunteer administrators
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