Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Is it Worth It? The Career Benefits and Return on Investment of Volunteer Leadership as Perceived by Chapter Leaders in a Professional Talent Development Association
by Orey, Maureen, Ed.D., Brandman University, 2016, 199; 10132132
Abstract (Summary)

PURPOSE. The purpose of this study was to identify the career benefits and calculate the return on investment (ROI) of unpaid volunteer leadership as perceived by chapter leaders in a professional talent development industry association. The definition of career benefits was adapted from Hirschi’s Career Resources Model, which includes: social capital, human capital, career identity and psychological resources (2012). Additionally, this study used the ROI Institute’s ROI MethodologyTM to identify and calculate the costs and benefits of volunteer leadership to determine the ROI of time served as an unpaid volunteer leader (2013).

METHODS. This descriptive mixed-method study gathered quantitative and qualitative data via an online survey and semi-structured telephone interviews from 40 volunteer chapter leaders of the Association for Talent Development (ATD).

FINDINGS. There were multiple positive findings and several levels of ROI data documenting the strong value of volunteer leadership in a professional talent development association, and also demonstrating that there is very positive return from giving back to the profession. By giving their time and sometimes their money, volunteer leaders reaped multiple career benefits such as skill development, deeper relationships, publishing, contracts, speaking opportunities, new jobs and promotions. These specific career benefits resulted in a very significant positive financial ROI of 246%.

CONCLUSIONS. This study proved the paradox of volunteer leadership — often the main motivator is to give back, however what volunteer leaders receive is so much more. There is a strong tangible return on investment, as well as numerous intangible career benefits for serving as a volunteer leader in a professional talent development association. RECOMMENDATIONS. This study provides ideas for leveraging the value of volunteer leadership for individuals, associations and organizations. Individuals can improve or enhance their social capital, human capital, psychological resources and career identity. Associations can use this data to provide clear evidence of the value of volunteer leadership. Finally, corporations can encourage volunteer leadership as a tool to enhance or accelerate the leadership development of employees while also supporting professional industry associations.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Garman, Karen
Commitee: Bates, Kath, Phillips, Patti
School: Brandman University
Department: Education
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-A 77/12(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Behavioral psychology, Occupational psychology, Organizational behavior
Keywords: Boards of directors, Career development, Chapter leaders, Professional association, Return on investment, Volunteer leadership
Publication Number: 10132132
ISBN: 9781339899633
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