For Work / Against Work
Debates on the centrality of work

"Finding Meaning through Volunteering: Why Do Employees Volunteer and What Does It Mean for Their Jobs?"

by Rodell, Jessica B (2013)


Volunteering is prevalent and on the rise in the United States, but little research has examined the connection between individuals' volunteering and their jobs. In the absence of that research, it remains unclear whether employees volunteer to build on meaningful work experiences or to compensate for the lack of them. Similarly, it remains unclear whether volunteering is beneficial to jobs in some way or if it is a distraction, akin to moonlighting. In this research, several theoretical perspectives from the multiple domain literature—particularly, compensation, enhancement, and resource drain—were employed in two studies to examine the intersection between volunteering and work domains. Results suggested that volunteering was associated with both volunteer and job meaningfulness, and that the pull of meaningful volunteer work was even stronger when employees had less meaning in their jobs. The results further revealed benefits of volunteering for employers. Volunteering was related to job absorption but not job interference, and it was therefore associated with better job performance. Implications of these findings for future theorizing on volunteering are discussed.

Key Passage



Meaningful Work, Meaning Of Work, Well-Being, Psychology, Happiness, Volunteerism


Meaningful Work

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