A comparison of work perceptions and derived satisfactions of hospital volunteers and paid employees
Cooper, CeCilia Rose
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This study was concerned with examining some of the perceptions which female volunteers and female employees have of their respective work situations. It also compared some of the satisfactions which both groups derived from their work. A review of the literature on volunteers revealed that they come from varying backgrounds and that their specific motives for doing volunteer work were likely to be highly diversified. It was noted that little information was available describing the extent to which they differed from a comparable population of non-volunteers. It was suggested that there were some similarities between paid employees and volunteers. For example: 1) volunteers and employees work for another individual; 2) volunteers and employees work in the context of a total setting; 3) volunteers and employees expect some form of payment, be it tangible or intangible, for their services. An assumption was made based upon these similarities, namely, that many of the same psychological needs can be met through either volunteer work or paid employment. Important differences between the two groups were also identified. Some of these were the fallowing: 1. Volunteers are supplementary to the paid personnel. 2. Volunteers have less responsibility than the paid employees. 3. Volunteers receive a different kind of supervision than do employees. 4. Volunteers seek more personal gratifications from their work than do paid employees. It was suggested that the major factor contributing to these differences was that of monetary reward although it was also recognized that economic gain was not necessarily the primary benefit which a worker sought or obtained from employment. Nevertheless, financial remuneration or some tangible equivalent is a basic part of the contract between the employer and the paid employee. Its absence is what distinguishes the volunteer contract from that of the paid employee and determines the individual's role with respect to each. It defines what is expected of the worker and what the worker may expect from participating in the work situation. A second assumption was made on the basis of the differences outlined above, namely, that being a volunteer was different from being a paid employee. A theory of volunteer behavior was presented which was based upon the two assumptions that had been made. It was suggested that volunteers are freer to select a work situation on the basis of personal needs than are paid employees. The absence of monetary remuneration in the volunteer contract caused the volunteer and the volunteer supervisor to place more emphasis upon the psychological rewards which are to be gained from the work. failure to satisfy personal needs often results in termination of the volunteer activity. In the paid employment situation recognition is given to the importance for the person to meet various personal needs through her activity; however, the fact that she is being given wages and other tangible benefits tends to curtail the extent to which either she or the employer may be concerned with such needs being met. It was therefore suggested that volunteers and paid employees within the same work situation might view it differently because of the fact that there were differences in the extent to which their personal needs could influence their subsequent involvement in the setting. The first set of hypotheses offered for testing were: Hyp. 1. The perception of tbe work situation of women volunteers and paid employees within a given setting will differ. Hyp. 1a. There will be differences between volunteers and paid employees in terms of these needs which they perceive the setting as being most able to satisfy. It was noted that work situations differ from one another in terms of the kinds of satisfactions which they made available to the individual. It was then suggested that when an individual selects a setting predominantly on the basis of her personal needs that she chooses one in which she thinks those needs can be most easily met. Thus given a setting conducive to gratifying certain needs, volunteers should therefore be more homogeneous as a group than paid employees in terms of the kinds of satisfactions which they derive from their work. [TRUNCATED]
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