- Definition of Criterion Variables
We define the independent variable (IV) “volunteerism” operationally, first of all, as any manifestation of corporate support for community and other external activities that require giving of volunteer time and other resources.
The first dependent variable (DV), job satisfaction, shall be measured with a job satisfaction scale. The second DV, retention, will be quantified as annual turnover for any reason at all as a percentage of staff size in the given year and measured over the period since the employer commenced a volunteerism program or ten years, whichever is more manageable.
The theoretical model for this study (see overleaf) shall also consider as key explanatory DV’s, secondary effects, and mediating variables:
- Corporate image in the surrounding community.
- Reputation of the company among important stakeholders such as the media, government and institutional customers. The latter is relevant because this study shall investigate volunteerism in the financial services sector.
- Patronage propensity in the consumer market.
- Reputation among volunteerism intermediaries and beneficiaries generally.
- Hypotheses and Statement of Operational Variables
Below, we state the working null hypotheses (H0) that shall be tested by the data to be gathered and analyzed, along with the corresponding alternative hypotheses (Ha).
H01 : There is no difference in job satisfaction among employees of companies that practice volunteerism or not.
Ha1 : There is a difference in job satisfaction among employees of companies that practice volunteerism or not.
H02 : There is no difference in turnover rates among employees of companies that practice volunteerism or not.
Ha2 : There is a difference in turnover rates among employees of companies that practice volunteerism or not.
H03 : There is no difference in community goodwill evoked by companies that practice volunteerism or not.
Ha3 : There is a difference in community goodwill evoked companies that practice volunteerism or not.
H04 : There is no difference in opinion leader goodwill received by companies that practice volunteerism or not.
Ha4 : There is a difference in opinion leader goodwill received by companies that practice volunteerism or not.
H05 : There is no difference in customer loyalty for companies that practice volunteerism or not.
Ha5 : There is a difference in customer loyalty for companies that practice volunteerism or not.
H06 : There is no difference in inquiries and trial rates for companies that practice volunteerism or not.
Ha6 : There is a difference in inquiries and trial rates for companies that practice volunteerism or not.
- Theoretical Model
The hypothesized model below posits that the most important mediating variable is whether a company practices volunteerism and whether that is expressed as participation by a key executive in donation drives and other social responsibility projects.
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It is hypothesized, however, that the company which not only condones but affords paid time off for volunteer-employees reaps the most benefit across all five classes of dependent variables.
One notes that the fifth variable – benefits earned by volunteer aided organizations and SMEs – is not included among the null hypotheses. This is because a company practicing volunteerism derives multiple benefits from recipient organizations beyond just good will. With unpaid volunteers from the donor company, the recipient organization can do more, undertake a greater variety of tasks, expand its geographical reach function more efficiently, and be more sustainable. Such a combination of quantitative and qualitative outcomes is not amenable to easy hypothesis testing. Rather, case analyses is more likely to come to grips with the necessarily-comprehensive range of beneficial outcomes.
- Research Approach – The Mixed-Methods Four-Stage Strategy
This study undertakes a dual-type, qualitative-quantitative approach principally in order to augment predictive relationships with insight into the dynamics at work among the IV, DV’s and mediating variables. A second rationale for employing mixed methods is this investigation lies around the midpoint between naturalistic inquiry and experimental testing (Trochim and Donnelly, 2008). Sequential related studies employing different methods do characterize a great deal of sociological research, even if research designs typically adhere to just a few of the checklist steps Creswell formally proposes (2009, p. 205).
Three stages in all are proposed since the qualitative phase will embrace both the case study and depth interview methods. In the quantitative phase, structured individual interviews will emphasize ratio and ordinal scales in order to enable a wider variety of significance and statistical analyses.
The Exploratory Phase: Case Studies
The case study method provides the benefit of open-mindedness to gathering valuable lessons and insights. One obtains leads about innovative approaches and unexpected benefits from the experiences of other philanthropic businessmen and volunteer organizers. In terms of the research process, the other significant benefit of case studies is the pursuit of leads for follow-up in future research (Zikmund, 2003). Operationally, this stage will involve a search in journal and technical paper databases for volunteerism case studies, especially those revolving on financial-service institutions.
There are several disadvantages to the case study approach. Since sampling is obviously limited and unsystematic, case studies share the poor reliability of all other exploratory methods. Any given case study may or may not be representative. Secondly, the case approach is very time-consuming. Thirdly, attempting to write a new case about a financial institution that supports volunteerism can derive maximum information and insight solely if one gets full cooperation from those involved with past and ongoing volunteerism programs and untrammeled access to company records.
The Exploratory Phase: Qualitative Depth Interviews
After synthesis of the case study findings, the study will proceed to fieldwork with a series of qualitative depth interviews. An Interview Guide, to be formulated and finalized after the case study stage, will guide this free-wheeling and unstructured proceeding towards the goals of the study revolving on job satisfaction, employee turnover, and corporate image benefits.
There is no fixed quota of depth interviews. However, it is likely that at least five individual interviews will be needed with each of eight stakeholder groups: executives of the volunteerism-supporting company, volunteer-employees, non-volunteer employees, recipient organizations or businesses, opinion leaders in the community, depositors/loan customers of the financial institution, non-clients, and other members of the general public. With sufficiently expert probing, it is likely that this minimum number will be adequate for surfacing most of the issues that bear testing in the quantitative stage. Nonetheless, the researcher may elect to proceed to the next benchmark of ten interviews per segment if convinced that the point of diminishing returns has not been reached.
Commencing primary data-gathering with qualitative depth interviews permits the advantages of:
- Probing in order to generate a comprehensive range of volunteerism issues for questionnaire formulation in the predictive stage.
- Empathy between interviewer and subjects, particularly strong in face-to-face depth interviews.
- Cues or insights into in-depth motivations and feelings which may explain the results generated by the quantitative phase.
- Flexibility in question sequence and wording depending on initial answers of respondents.
For the purpose of this study phase, purposive sampling will suffice. Within the sponsoring companies, the chief executive officer (CEO) and Human Resource Department (HRD) will likely agree to participate as well as designate which other senior managers are involved with volunteerism and therefore ought to be interviewed. Employee respondents will be recruited on a voluntary-participation basis from lists of volunteers and non-volunteers that a company’s HRD can be expected to provide. As to external stakeholders, convenience sampling is all that is necessary to recruit the limited number of respondents required at this stage.
The researcher will tape all interviews, the better to capture all respondent feedback and nuances of perceptions with respect to volunteer participation. Subsequently, these will be transcribed and subjected to computer-aided content analysis in order to discern the full range of operant constructs that the follow-up quantitative phase should cover.
Content and text analysis software shall be selected from among such programs as PROTAN, General Inquirer or TextPack (Content-analysis.de, 2009).
Measuring Job Satisfaction
Job satisfaction shall be measured globally with a personality inventory and with a context-specific, three-item scale formulated by Price and Mueller (1981) and subsequently found to have adequate reliability and validity (Goldberg and Waldman, 2000). The three items are:
- I find real enjoyment in my job.
- Most days, I am enthusiastic about my job.
- I feel well satisfied with my job.
On the other hand, the Revised NEO Personality Inventory is based on the Five-Factor Theory of Personality (Costa and McCrae, 2005). Among the traits the NEO PI assesses are: trust, values, altruism, dutifulness, achievement, striving and competence.
- Vulnerability to Stress
- Excitement Seeking
- Positive Emotion
- Openness to experience
- Achievement Striving
The trait-oriented character of NEO PI aside, the inventory has been employed to assess global job satisfaction and occupational stress levels. For instance, Carbone (2001) relied on this instrument alone to investigate job commitment and satisfaction among military instructors.
The Predictive Phase: Structured Individual Interviews
This research will proceed to a quantitative phase for reliability and predictive value. Beyond the use of archival research in the respective companies to measure historical turnover among volunteer and non-participating employees, the study will employ a structured questionnaire based on information anticipated form a review of the literature (see below) and updated by new constructs revealed by the immediately-preceding in-depth interviews. Since the questionnaire is likely to be very straightforward, it may be mailed or hand-delivered to each respondent and completed as a self-administered or checklist type.
Rationale for Not Employing Other Methods
Focus Group Discussions: This method has the virtue of enriching output by virtue of the synergy that attends group dynamics. However, participation in volunteer and community service work is likely to be distinctly prestigious or at least imbue those involved with a certain exclusive cachet. As the FGD proceeds, it becomes clear to all that the topic is knowledge and affect about volunteerism. This can be expected to have an inhibiting effect on non-volunteer participants. Hence, it is counterproductive to undertake the extra effort to coordinate availability and qualifications of a group of eight to ten respondents.
- Some Elements of Proposed Information Coverage (Quantitative Phase)
Coverage Unique to Company Officers
- Recent history of individual or company involvement in volunteer projects.
- Perceived benefit to volunteer work beneficiaries
- Perceived benefit to donor-company and participating employees
- (Segment 1 company only) Why give staff paid time-off for volunteer activities
- Whether paid time-off and other incentives tied only to company-endorsed volunteer work
Specific to Employees
- Time and other resources devoted to volunteer activities.
- Motivation for participating
- Whether participation limited to company-endorsed programs only.
- Either way, attitude toward and satisfaction derived from, volunteer activities
- Recognition and intangible incentives for participation
- Whether there is any preferential treatment for volunteer-participants
- Awareness of company X involvement in volunteer and philanthropic activities
- Comparative image ratings of company X and rival company uninvolved in volunteer work, including on such factors as attractive employer or financial institution to bring one’s business to
- Population of Interest/Sampling Frame, Sample Size and Sampling Method
In the quantitative survey stage, systematic random sampling will apply, the exceptions being working with designated company managers and resorting to purposive sampling to identify, and obtain follow-on referrals to, opinion leaders in the community.
As in the depth interview stage, the CEO and HRD of each company will be requested to designate all the senior managers involved with volunteerism and who should therefore be part of the sample. Again, employee respondents will be recruited on a voluntary-participation basis from lists of volunteers and non-volunteers that a company’s HRD may be expected to provide.
As to external stakeholders, systematic random sampling shall be undertaken from business listings, telephone books and neighborhood canvass in randomly-selected ZIP codes.
Details as to sub-sample sizes and sampling frames as follows:
|Stakeholder Class||Sub-sample size||Sampling Frame||Sampling Method|
|Managers||12||Three financial institutions (FIs) with differing volunteerism status||As designated by cooperating CEO/HRD|
|Volunteer-employees||200||One FI whose CEO is involved in external volunteer projects. |
A second FI where staff are given paid time off for volunteer projects
|Systematic random sampling from lists of staff.|
|Non-volunteer employees||100||A third FI where there is no volunteerism involvement at all.||To be provided by cooperating HRD|
|Beneficiary organizations and SME’s||50||Registered businesses (SME only) and nonprofits||Random selection from list|
|Community opinion leaders||30||City officials, media, community organizers||Purposive sampling|
|General public||200||Cross-section of adult population in the city||Stratified sampling from upper, middle-income and low-income neighborhoods|
|Depositors and loan clients||200||Company X customer list |
Purposive canvass for depositors, loan clients of other companies.
|Quota sampling for company X customers and non-clients|
- Data Analysis
The first stage will be cross-tabulation of the independent variables (participation) against the main-effects DV’s of job satisfaction and commitment. Several cross-tabulation and analysis runs will be required to test outcomes for the dependent variables when these are expressed as:
- Categorical variables (participates or not) and scale variables (such as “intensity” of participation).
- Possibly discriminant analysis to build a model that classifies individuals into groups according to the participation, belief in beneficial outcomes, and self-directed philanthropic behavior. Multiple discriminant analysis (MDA) is also expected to provide clues as to which intermediate variables account for the greater difference in awareness, concern and adherence profiles.
- Cluster analysis may also be employed to test for the existence of homogenous and mutually exclusive groups in respect of volunteerism and actual participation.
Tests of significance will be the next stage. The decision rule shall be α = 0.05, meaning a 5% chance of being wrong when rejecting the null hypotheses. Any statistical test yielding a probability of occurrence of the observed result due to chance or sampling error equal to or less than 5% engenders confidence for accepting the alternate hypotheses.
As to specific tests we shall employ the chi-square in the case of contingency tables displaying frequency distribution; the Z test for differences between two means; and the ANOVA to investigate differences within employee and general-public segments.
- Time Scale
|Month 1||Month 2||Month 3||Month 4||Month 5||Month 6||Month 7||Month 8|
|Formulate Qualitative Interview Guide|
|Arrangements with venues|
|Formulation of Quantitative Phase Questionnaires|
|Questionnaire revision, other field preparation|
|Analysis and report preparation|
- Carbone, E. G. (2001). Job satisfaction, occupational stress, and personality characteristics of Air Force military training instructors. Military Medicine, 166(9), 800-2.)
- Content-Analysis.de (2009). Resources related to content analysis and text analysis.
- Costa, Jr., P. T. & McCrae, R. R. (2005). NEO Personality Inventory-Revised (NEO PI-R™). Lutz, FL: PAR Inc.
- Creswell, J. W. (2009). Research design: Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
- Goldberg, C. B. & Waldman, D. A. (2000). Modeling employee absenteeism: Testing alternative measures and mediated effects based on job satisfaction. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 21, 665-76.
- Price, J. L. & Mueller, C. W. (1981). Profession turnover: The case of nurses. New York: Spectrum.
- Trochim, W., & Donnelly, J. (2008). The research methods knowledge base (3rd ed.). Mason, OH: Cengage.
- Zikmund, W. (2003). Business research methods (7th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Thomson/South-Western.