The role of the volunteer in the mental hospital.
Theodore, Athena Rentoumis
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The sociological aspects of the role of the volunteer deal with the marginal person who joins an organization in which professionally trained people are also employed. The immediate problem raised is, to what extent can the non-professional volunteer supplement the professional roles within the organization without creating a situation of strain? Or, can a person who is institutionally not expected to be a professional perform a professional function in the technical organization? This is the problem of marginal professionalization: the volunteer stands on the periphery of the social organization because he has not fully adopted the norms of the professional task group. There is yet another reason why the volunteer in the mental hospital is functionally necessary to the technical organization. The volunteer operates in a task group where human problems are dealt with, not things. Again because the volunteer's chief source of status lies outside the hospital, the volunteer provides something to the organization which the regular staff members cannot do. Also, because it is human beings that are dealt with and not things, the role of the volunteer in the mental hospital cannot be explicitly defined. When the task performance deals with such things as specific duties which do not involve a human relationship, the role can be more definitely defined and the strains will be fewer. Where the marginal person must perform a function which is similar to that of the task group and deals with human relationships, the strains can be minimized only insofar as the members of the task group accept the marginal role and re-define their own roles within the organization. [TRUNCATED]
Thesis (Ph.D.)--Boston University
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