Academic journal article The ICHPER-SD Journal of Research in Health, Physical Education, Recreation, Sport & Dance

Committed Sport Event Volunteers

Academic journal article The ICHPER-SD Journal of Research in Health, Physical Education, Recreation, Sport & Dance

Committed Sport Event Volunteers

Article excerpt

In the sport industry, the importance of volunteerism has been raised in economic as well as non-economic aspects. Chelladurai (2006) appraised that the economic value of volunteers in sport exceeds $50 billion. It can be surmised that about 20% of all volunteers in America were in sport and recreation. Sport volunteers are a critical part of the overall success of many major sporting events (Warner, Newland & Green, 2011) and play a key role in the provision of sport participation opportunities (Hoye& Doherty, 2011; Mihajlovic, Komnenic, Kastratovic & Cilerdzic, 2010). Several financial benefits result from the retention of volunteers: (a) organizations benefit financially from the use of well-trained volunteers in place of paid staff; (b) volunteers come from various backgrounds and possess different aptitudes, thus are able to serve in various job positions and responsibilities; (c) volunteers can be used again in future sporting events, making their financial impact even greater. Chelladurai discussed the noneconomic significance of volunteers. According to him, volunteers can provide an objective evaluation because they are not tied to any financial benefits and/or incentives. This role of volunteers can help the organization stay on the right track.

Following these views about the significance of sport volunteerism, Farrell, Johnson, and Twynam (1998) suggested that managers should understand volunteer motivation along with the volunteering experience, in order to effectively respond to management needs in the areas of recruitment, retention, and daily operations of sport events. Therefore, research of volunteerism in the context of sport events has been focusing on motivation and management relating to the recruitment and the retention of volunteers.

Motivation to volunteer is instrumental in explaining the differences between volunteers and non-volunteers as well as differences between volunteers that continue serving an organization and those that abandon their activities (Omoto & Snyder, 1995). Employee motivation studies have been focused on job performance, absenteeism, tenure, and productivity, while most motivation studies for volunteers have been focused on the decision to volunteer (Cnaan & Cascio, 1999). Understanding the motives that cause volunteers to work in major sport events can help sport associations set up successful recruiting and training programs for such individuals.

Commitment has been identified as a significant variable associated with other employee outcomes in the field of Organizational Behavior (OB) and sport. From the studies by Reichheld (1996) and Pfeffer (1998), it is assumed that commitment could contribute to organizational effectiveness, although there is no empirical evidence in the field of sport management. Reichheld (1996) mentionedthat loyalty to customers, employees, and investors is critical and thus an important source of growth, profits, and competitive advantage. He focused on the reasons that make loyal employees valuable to companies. In his argument, he suggested that loyal employees (a) develop higher quality relationships with customers (as a result, employees' loyalty contribute to customer loyalty), (b) seek opportunities to leam and grow professionally, (c) increase organizational efficiency, and (d) reduce recruiting and training costs, releasing resources that can then be reinvested in other parts of the business. Reichheld (1996) asserted that loyalty of employees can create a powerful competitive advantage for the company. His view is also supported in Pfeifer's work. Pfeffer (1998) discussed that "firms that have pursued high involvement, high performance, and high commitment management practices have produced superior economic returns over the long-term" (p. 394).

The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship among selected demographic characteristics (income, education and age), motivation and commitment of volunteers at an amateur sporting event (see figure 1). …

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