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Journal of Sport Management, 2009, 23, 549-573 2009 Human Kinetics, Inc.
The Role of Psychological Contract in Intention to Continue Volunteering
May KimUniversity of Florida
Galen T. TrailSeattle University
Jon LimMinnesota State University
Yu Kyoum KimFlorida State University
Retaining volunteers is a critical issue for sport organizations utilizing volunteer labor. Based on the theory of planned behavior, the theory of work adjustment, psy-chological contract theory, two frameworks (person-environment fit and empower-ment), and previous empirical results, we proposed and tested three models to explain intention to continue volunteering with 224 volunteers from the Special Olympics State Summer Games. We accepted a model in which Empowerment fully mediated the relationship between Person-Environment Fit and Intention to Continue Volun-teering. We also found that Psychological Contract Fulfillment moderated the rela-tionship between Fit and Empowerment.
Employee turnover cost is a continual and serious burden for any organiza-tion. In 2007, the average cost to replace an employee across all private industries was $13,996 and in the leisure and hospitality industry it was $7,000 (The Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2007). Employee turnover causes not only additional staffing, vacancy, and training related expenses, but also decreases morale, increases the amount of work for other employees, and decreases the efficiency of the remain-ing employees during the transition period (OConnell & Kung, 2007). Although turnover of volunteers may not be as expensive as that of paid-employees, undeni-ably, it is still far more costly, both financially and nonfinancially to recruit and train new volunteers than to retain current volunteers. Recently, the rate of people volunteering for sport and cultural organizations has dropped significantly from
M. Kim is with the Dept. of Tourism, Recreation and Sport Management, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611. Trail is with the Dept. of Sport Administration and Leadership, University of Seattle, Seattle, WA 98122. Lim is with the Dept. of Sport Management, Minnesota State University, Mankato, MN 56001. Y.K. Kim is with the Dept. of Sport Management, Recreation Management and Physical Education, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL 32306.
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8% of total adult volunteers in 1989 to only 4% of total adult volunteers in 2005 (Grimm, Jr., Dietz, & Foster-Bey, 2006). Therefore, retaining volunteers is a criti-cal issue for sport organizations utilizing volunteer labor (e.g., Cuskelly, Taylor, Hoye, & Darcy, 2006; Kim, Chelladurai, & Trail, 2007; Wymer, Jr. & Starnes, 2001).
Based on the above information, it is imperative for academics and practitio-ners alike to understand the factors that influence volunteer retention. Researchers have suggested several factors influencing volunteer retention in sport settings such as volunteer motivation (MacLean & Hamm, 2007), commitment, (e.g., Cuskelly & Boag, 2001), and various human resources practices (Cuskelly et al., 2006). Furthermore, researchers have also made initial attempts to explain the interaction of various factors and have proposed models to explain volunteer retention in both in nonsport contexts (e.g., Farmer & Fedor, 1997, 1999) and sport contexts (e.g., Kim et al., 2007).
Using volunteers from a national nonprofit fund-raising health advocacy organization, Farmer and Fedor (1999) tested a model in which Met Expectations and Perceived Organizational Support were found to influence Turnover Inten-tions. Furthermore, in an earlier study they argued that Satisfaction mediated the relationship between both Met Expectations and Intentions, and between Per-ceived Organizational Support and Intentions. In the sport context, Kim et al. (2007) proposed and accepted a volunteer retention model depicting an individu-als continued involvement in an organization is a function of Person-Organization Fit (P-O Fit), Person-Task Fit (P-T Fit), satisfaction with Managerial Treatment (MT), and Empowerment. They determined that Empowerment fully mediated the relationship between the three independent variables (P-T Fit, P-O Fit, and MT) and the dependent variable (Intention to Continue Volunteering).
However, most of the volunteer retention studies or studies measuring inten-tion to continue volunteering (e.g., Cuskelly & Boag, 2001; Cuskelly et al., 2006; Karl, Peluchette, & Hall, 2008; Lewig, Xanthopoulou, Bakker, Dollard, & Metzer, 2007) have not provided a systematically developed model with strong theoretical and empirical support, except the research mentioned above. Furthermore, the ability to predict volunteer retention (intention to continue volunteering), repre-sented by variance explained in retention, has not been very good in some studies. For example, in Kim et al.s (2007) model, only approximately 14% of the vari-ance in Intention to Continue Volunteering (ICV) was explained, leaving 86% unexplained by the variables included in their model.
Therefore our purpose in this study is to use the theory of planned behavior as a general framework and to weave the theory of work development and psycho-logical contract theory together within the theory of planned behavior to explain ICV. Furthermore, we incorporate two frameworks (Person-Environment Fit and Empowerment) and previous empirical results (e.g., Kim et al.s model among others) to propose and test a new model. This model would explain intention to continue volunteering, which is a critical predictor of actual retention of volun-teers. Specifically, we propose to test whether the relationship between Person-Environment Fit and Intention to Continue Volunteering is partially or fully medi-ated by Empowerment (Figure 1) and to test whether the relationship between Person-Environment Fit and Empowerment is moderated by Psychological Con-tract Fulfillment (Figure 2).
Role of Psychological Contract in Volunteering 551
Theory of Planned BehaviorAccording to Ajzen (1991), the theory of planned behavior is an extension of the theory of reasoned action, primarily through the addition of the construct of per-ceived behavioral control. As in the theory of reasoned action, intentions are cen-tral to the model in the attempt to predict behavior. In the theory of planned behav-ior, Ajzen surmised that an individuals intention, the immediate antecedent of the behavior, is guided by three factors: attitudes toward the specific behavior (behav-ioral beliefs), perceived behavior control (control beliefs), and subjective norms (normative beliefs). Attitude toward the behavior refers to the degree to which a person has a favorable or unfavorable evaluation or appraisal of the behavior in question (Ajzen, p. 188). That is, whether the individuals expectations are met
Figure 1 Modified volunteer retention models: Fully mediated and partially mediated models.
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or not influences intentions. Perceived behavioral control refers to the perceived ease or difficulty of performing the behavior and it is assumed to reflect past expe-rience as well as anticipated impediments and obstacles (Ajzen, p. 188). Subjec-tive norms comprise a social factor that refers to the perceived social pressure to perform or not to perform the behavior (Ajzen, p. 188). Ajzen found that subjec-tive norms were typically not as good predictors of intentions as the other two factors.
Based on the theory of planned behavior, we believe that intention to con-tinue volunteering will be influenced by control beliefs represented by the level of fit between an individual and the individuals environment (both job and organiza-tion). We also believe that behavioral beliefs represented by met-expectations about psychological contracts will interact with control beliefs to influence inten-tions. However, based on Ajzens (1991) findings, we do not believe that norma-tive beliefs will significantly influence intentions, and thus did not include them in this model. We also believe that the theory of work adjustment provides additional support for our suppositions.
Theory of Work AdjustmentIn the context of paid-employees, the theory of work adjustment (Dawis & Lofquist, 1984) is typically used to explain why individuals stay in certain posi-tions. According to this theory, person-environment fit at work leads to the employees satisfaction that their own needs and expectations have been met (a sense of perceived control, within the theory of planned behavior terminology). High levels of person-environment fit also leads to satisfactoriness (the degree to which a workers performance meets the expectation of a job (Dawis, 1996)). Both employee satisfaction and employer satisfactoriness eventually influence the retention/tenure of the employee with the organization. We believe that aspects of the theory of work adjustment would be applicable for volunteer-work settings as well. That is, if volunteers feel that their beliefs and values match well with the organizations mission and values, and that their abilities are well-matched with
Figure 2 Moderating effect of Psychological Contract Fulfillment on the relationship between Fit and Empowerment.
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the job requirements, the volunteers will have higher perceived control or control beliefs. Greater control beliefs will lead to being satisfied, and satisfaction will lead to retention with the organization. Thus, because the theory of work adjust-ment seems to be predicated on person-environment fit, we focus on the fit between the volunteer and the task/organization, specifically Person-Organization Fit and Person-Task Fit.
Person-Environment FitThe concept of Person-Environment Fit, the employees fit with various organiza-tional attributes, is a critical issue for organizational behavior and human resource management research (Edwards, Cabe, Williamson, Lambert, & Shipp, 2006). Among the components of Person-Environment Fit, researchers have focused on Person-Task Fit (or Person-Job Fit) and Person-Organization Fit in the last few decades (e.g., Dawis & Lofquist, 1984; Edwards, Caplan, & Harrison, 1998; Kristof, 1996).
Person-Task Fit (P-T fit). Person-Task Fit, often labeled as Person-Job fit in the literature, refers to the level of congruence between employee attributes (e.g., knowledge, skills, and abilities) and the demands of a job or task. Edwards (1991) has also expressed that P-T Fit could include the match between the needs, desires, and preferences of the individual and the supplies of the job. P-T Fit has tradition-ally been used as the foundation of various human resources practices including employee selection (Werbel & Gilliland, 1999). From the perspective of the employee, P-T Fit (i.e., work/task competence or work/task self-efficacy) can motivate and empower the employee to perform well and enjoy the work (Meihem, 2004; White, 1956). Furthermore, researchers have found that P-T Fit is positively related to employee attitudes (Spokane, Meir, & Catalano, 2000), job satisfaction, low job stress (Edwards), and empowerment (Brkich, Jeffs, & Carless, 2002), but negatively correlated with turnover intention (Chan, 1996; Hollenbeck, 1989; Kristof-Brown, Zimmerman, & Johnson, 2005). The effect of P-T Fit in the vol-unteer context is not dissimilar to that of paid-employees. Kim et al. (2007) found that P-T Fit of the volunteer explained approximately 25% of the variance in Empowerment, but only 3% of the variance in ICV.
Person-Organization Fit (P-O Fit)
Person-Organization Fit is a more comprehensive concept than P-T Fit because it describes the compatibility of an individual with various and broad organizational attributes including organizational values, people in the organization, organiza-tional systems and structures, and organizational climate (Judge & Ferris, 1992; Kristof, 1996). Among these many organizational attributes and individual char-acteristics influencing P-O Fit, researchers generally have considered congruence between organizational values and an individuals values as the most important (Chatman, 1989; OReilly, Chatman, & Caldwell, 1991). Accordingly, the defini-tion of P-O Fit often focuses on the value fit between the organization and the employee. Chatman defined P-O Fit as the congruence between the norms and values of the organizations and the values of persons (p. 339). For both the employee and the organization, a good P-O Fit is crucial in continued involvement
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and productivity (Bertz & Judge, 1994; Lauver & Kristof-Brown, 2001; Tziner, 1987). In addition, P-O Fit is positively correlated with job satisfaction of indus-try-relations college alumni (Bertz & Judge), of MBA graduates and new accoun-tants (OReilly et al.), and of new audit staffs (Chatman, 1991). In addition, it is positively correlated with organizational commitment of MBA graduates and new accountants, but it is negatively correlated with turnover intention of entry-level engineers (Chan, 1996), of new audit staff (Chatman, 1991), and of tracking-com-pany employees (Lauver & Kristof-Brown). Specific to volunteers, Kim et al. (2007) determined that P-O Fit explained approximately 12% of the variance in Empowerment and 16% of the variance in ICV.
Empowerment is defined as intrinsic motivation manifested in four cognitions reflecting an individuals orientation to his or her work rolemeaning, compe-tence, self-determination, and impact (Spreitzer, 1995; Thomas & Velthouse, 1990). Meaning refers to the fit between work role requirements and personal beliefs, values, and behaviors; competence is defined as the belief in ones capa-bility to perform work-related tasks; self-determination refers to having choice or autonomy in initiating and regulating actions in work behaviors and processes; and impact is the degree to which one feels his or her work influences the organi-zation on strategic, administrative, or operating outcomes at work. We propose that all of these aspects represent perceived control specified in the theory of planned behavior. Empowerment is positively related to loyalty, affective commit-ment, and organizational attachment (Spreitzer & Mishra, 2002) and negatively related to turnover intention (Chen, 2005; Eby, Freeman, Rush, & Lance, 1999). According to Kim et al. (2007), among volunteers, Empowerment explained 13.5% of the variance in Intention to Continue Volunteering.
Intention to Continue Volunteering (ICV)Increasing volunteer retention is a critical task for volunteer managers of most events and organizations (Wymer, Jr. & Starnes, 2001). However, due to the dif-ficulty in measuring actual volunteer retention, typically Intention to Continue Volunteering is used as the dependent variable in most studies (e.g., Kar et al., 2008; Kim et al., 2007; Lewig et al., 2007). According to the theory of planned behavior (Ajzen, 1991), the behavior of an individual is best determined by the intention of the behavior. That is, an individuals intention to volunteer would be the best predictor of actual volunteering behavior. In addition, Tett and Meyer (1993) and VanYperen (1998) both argued that intentions-to-continue predict actual behavior effectively. For example, behavioral intentions predicted actual behavior in automobile purchase behavior (51%; Morrison, 1979), in physical activity (26%; Chatzisarantis & Hagger, 2005), in lottery playing behavior (above 50%; Walker, Courneya, & Deng, 2006), in hunting behavior (38%; Hrubes, Ajzen, & Daigle 2001), and in game attendance of spectators (45%; Trail, Ander-son, & Lee, 2006).
Based on the above information, it is evident that the perceived control dimen-sions of Person-Environment Fit and Empowerment are related and both predict
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ICV. Similar to Kim et al. (2007) we decided to test two models, one in which Empowerment partially mediated the relationship between P-E Fit and ICV and one in which Empowerment fully mediated the relationship between P-E Fit and ICV. Specifically, we proposed:
Hypotheses #1: The fully mediated model of the modified volunteer retention model would fit the data better than the partially mediated model (Figure 1). That is, Empowerment would fully mediate the relationship between P-E Fit and ICV.
Psychological Contract Theory
Psychological contract theory was first developed and used to describe the rela-tionships between the employer (organization) and the paid, full-time employee. However, researchers have used the concept to explain various employment rela-tionships including the relationship among contingent workers (McLean Parks, Kidder, & Gallagher, 1998), among middle managers (Hallier & James, 1997), and between employees and customers (Koh, Ang, & Straub, 2004). In addition, the concept of psychological contract was used to explore employment relation-ships in sport leagues (McGaughey & Liesch, 2002).
A psychological contract is a mutual agreement. According to psychological contract theory, employees and employers behave based on the perceived fulfill-ment of the promises made between the organization and the employee (e.g., Argyris, 1960; Blau, 1964, Rousseau, 1989). Another characteristic of the psycho-logical contract is that each employee has different levels and kinds of expecta-tions toward the organization. Each employee has an idiosyncratic psychological contract; that is, psychological contracts are personal and subjective according to Rousseau and Turnley and Feldman (1999). However, individuals in the same organization, group, or situation typically tend to construct their psychological contracts analogous to other similarly situated individuals, based on the compa-rable values, duties, and conditions of the group (or organization) members. These have been termed shared psychological contracts or normative contracts (Ho, 2005; Raja, Johns, & Ntalianis, 2004; Rousseau, 1995). However, each employee may interpret and perceive the employers promises on benefits and resources (e.g., job security, wage, performance-based pay, and vacation) subjectively based on what the employee has received in return on labors or services (Nelson, Quick, & Joplin, 1991; Rousseau, 2001; Rousseau & Greller, 1994; Rousseau & McLean Parks, 1993).
Different Kinds of Psychological Contracts. Psychological contracts are often categorized into two fundamental types of contracts, transactional and relational contracts. Transactional contracts are focused on economic or materialistic exchanges, which are finite, static, observable, and tend to be short-term exchanges. Employees egoistic labors or services are exchanged for adequate monetary com-pensation, a safe working environment, and reasonable short-term guarantees of employment which the organization provides under transactional contracts (Thompson & Bunderson, 2003). On the other hand, relational contracts include not only economic exchanges but also socioemotional exchanges, which are relation-oriented, subjective, trust-based, long term, and dynamic. Relational
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contracts are more likely to be an open-ended relationship focusing on mutual satisfaction, loyalty, and commitment of both sides (Morrison & Robinson, 1997; Robinson, Kraatz, & Rousseau, 1994; Rousseau, 1995; Rousseau & McLean Parks, 1993) and employees often express their commitment through organiza-tional citizenship behaviors (Robinson & Morrison, 1995). Raja et al. (2004) found that relational psychological contracts (social-emotional exchanges) were positively related to affective commitment and job satisfaction and negatively related to intention to quit, while transactional psychological contracts (economic or materialistic exchanges) were negatively related to affective commitment and job satisfaction and positively related to intention to quit. In addition, when a labor relationship is formed based on a transactional psychological contract, P-T Fit is more critical than P-O Fit, whereas when a labor relationship is formed based on a relational psychological contract, P-O Fit is more important than P-T Fit (Sekiguchi, 2007).
Fulfillment or Violation of Psychological Contract. Another increasing interest of scholars on the psychological contract is the impact of psychological contract violation and benefit of psychological contract fulfillment (e.g., Grimmer & Oddy, 2007; Robinson 1996; Robinson et al., 1994; Robinson & Rousseau 1994). Mor-rison and Robinson (1997) explained that violation of the psychological contact had two forms: reneging and incongruence. Reneging occurred when agents of the organization recognize that an obligation exists but they knowingly fail to follow through on that obligation (p. 233) because the organization cannot fulfill the expectation or is not willing to fulfill the expectation. On the other hand, incongruence occurred when an employee has perceptions of a given promise that differ from those held by the organizational agent or agents responsible for fulfilling that promise (p. 235). In terms of the theory of planned behavior, both reneging and incongruence create unmet expectations for the individual.
Coyle-Shapiro and Kessler (2003) explained that the organizations obliga-tion fulfillment (e.g., pay, job security, and career development) becomes the foundation of employees commitment and employees might even feel obligated to commit when their psychological contracts were fulfilled. Previous research on psychological contracts has repeatedly shown a negative influence of psychologi-cal contract breach and a positive influence of psychological contract fulfillment on personal outcomes including job satisfaction, organizational commitment, and intention to continue (Bunderson, 2001; Coyle-Shapiro, 2000; Coyle-Shapiro & Kessler, 2003; Freese & Schalk, 2000; Rusbult, Farrell, Rogers, & Mainus, 1988; Turnley & Feldman, 1999; Withey & Cooper, 1989). In addition, Sutton and Grif-fin (2004) found that psychological contract breach influenced job satisfaction independently from postentry experiences. That is, the violation of the psycho-logical contract would strengthen the level of dissatisfaction or weaken the level of satisfaction created by postentry experiences. They also found that job satisfac-tion mediated the relationship between the psychological contract and intention to quit.
Psychological Contract of Volunteers. Material or economic obligations of the employer (e.g., wages and benefits) are the most obvious expectations of the paid-employee, many of which are often included on the written contract. Further, both
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the employer and the employee at least have the mutual expectation or assumption that their employment relationship will be continued for a certain period. That is, most paid-employees, if not all, possess some kind of relational and transactional contracts although the levels of the contracts may differ based on the relation-ships. Researchers have investigated the fulfillment or breach of psychological contracts in the following areas: promotion and advancement, training, long-term job security, career development, job content, social atmosphere, financial rewards, and work-life balance (e.g., de Vos, Buyens, & Schalk, 2003; Robinson et al., 1994; Robinson & Morrison, 1995; Robinson & Rousseau, 1994; Rousseau, 1990). Despite the great similarity between paid-employees and volunteers (e.g., working conditions, types of tasks, psychological characteristics, attitudes (Liao-Troth, 2001)), the uniqueness of the volunteer context creates a huge difference in how individuals perceive psychological contracts. Because the volunteer does not get monetary remuneration, the volunteers expectation for financial return and the organizations obligation for monetary compensation (e.g., salary, wage) are minimal. Thus, for most volunteers, transactional contracts do not exist (Taylor, Darcy, Hoye, & Cuskelly, 2006). Instead, the volunteer heavily relies on relational contract fulfillment (e.g., volunteer duties, social relationships, career or learning related benefits).
Specifically, because volunteers have greater freedom of choice in the type of tasks and the kinds of organizations for which to volunteer than do paid employ-ees, volunteers may have different kinds of reciprocal obligations or expectations than paid employees would (Farmer & Fedor, 1999). The reason that volunteers enjoy more opportunities to choose their volunteer work or duties than paid employees have for paid work or duties is because many organizations use a less rigorous screening process to hire volunteers than paid employees and some orga-nizations have more volunteer positions to fill than the number of volunteer appli-cants. Thus, volunteer duties would be an area through which volunteers construct their psychological contracts. Another important relational contract volunteers may create is a contract regarding social relationships. Knoke and Prensky (1984) pointed out that volunteers are motivated by affective incentives, which include interpersonal relationships and friendship. Also Caldwell and Andereck (1994) listed relationships as an important volunteer benefit and named it solidary incen-tives. Further, Clary et al. (1998) listed social relationships as an important motive for volunteers as well. Furthermore, researchers have continuously shown that volunteers are concerned about the nonmonetary benefits they received from vol-unteering such as knowledge and skill obtainment. Knoke and Prensky called these benefits utilitarian incentives and Clary et al. called them understanding and career-related functions.
Based on the above research, we believe that volunteers create relational psy-chological contracts in specific areas such as volunteer duties, social relation-ships, and learning/career-related/networking benefits. In addition, because indi-viduals who feel a high degree of relational contracts are more likely to be sensitive to contract violations (Robinson et al., 1994), it is likely that volunteers would be sensitive to contract violation. Thus, the fulfillment of the psychological contract may positively influence the volunteers perceptions, attitudes, and behaviors, whereas the breach of the relational contract would have negative effects.
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According to psychological contract theory (e.g., Argyris, 1960; Blau, 1964, Rousseau, 1989), behaviors of individuals are formed based on the perceived fulfillment of promises made between the organization and themselves; that is, the degree of agreement between the expectations of volunteers toward the organiza-tion (e.g., work duties, social relationships, and nonmonetary benefits) and the actual offering by the employer. Even though personal volunteering experiences may be poor, if the individuals expectation toward the organization or the volun-teer work was low or lower than the individuals actual experiences, the individu-als psychological contract may be fulfilled and positive outcomes (e.g., empow-erment, retention) will probably follow. On the other hand, it is still a breach of the psychological contract if the individuals expectations toward the volunteer work and the organizational support were higher than the actual experiences, although the volunteer work and the organizational support may have been good. Then, a negative outcome (e.g., turnover, low motivation) is probable. Thus, we feel that the relationship between Fit and Empowerment is moderated by the level of Psy-chological Contract Fulfillment (met-expectations within the theory of planned behavior) that the individual possesses with the organization. For those with lower levels of Psychological Contract Fulfillment, the relationship between Fit and Empowerment will be larger. That is, Fit will have a greater influence on Empow-erment. For those with higher levels of Psychological Contract Fulfillment, the influence of Fit on Empowerment will be smaller. That is, Fit will have a smaller influence on Empowerment. Thus, we proposed a second hypothesis:
Hypothesis #2: The relationship between Person-Environment Fit (P-O and P-T Fit specifically) and Empowerment will be negatively moderated by Psy-chological Contract Fulfillment (Figure 2).
Data were collected from volunteers with the Special Olympics at a statewide organization in a Midwestern state in the U.S. Several thousand people volunteer for the organization; however, a random sample of 500 volunteers who worked for the State Summer Games of Special Olympics in 2007 received the invitation to participate in the current study. After the event, a staff member from the Special Olympics sent an e-mail to these volunteers to introduce the study and ask for participation in our web-based survey. A week after the initial invitation e-mail, another e-mail was sent to remind the volunteers to participate in the survey. Two weeks after the second e-mail, data collection was closed. Of the 227 people who completed the survey, 224 were usable for further analysis (females = 148; males = 76), an adjusted response rate of 44.8%.
The age of the sample was fairly evenly distributed across the age range from 18 years to 78 years with the mean age being 39.17 years. A little less than 50% of the respondents had a college degree; more than 85% of the respondents had full-time jobs; and approximately 55% were married. In addition, 58% of the respondents claimed it was their first volunteering experience at this event, 32% had volunteered for 2 to 4 years, and only about 10% had volunteered for 5 or
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more years for the event. Approximately 12% of them reported that their family members or friends competed in the event.
The questionnaire included five subscales and the demographic items. Each sub-scales items were measured on a 7-point Likert-type scale from 1 (strongly dis-agree) to 7 (strongly agree). Each of the subscales is discussed below.
Person-Environment Fit (Person-Task Fit and Person-Organization Fit). We used the three items which Lauver and Kristof-Brown (2001) used to measure Person-Task Fit. These items showed good internal consistency in Kim et al.s (2007) study ( = .91). In addition, following Lauver and Kristof-Browns approach, we used the three items from Cable and Judges (1996) measure of Person-Organization Fit that Kim et al. used as well ( = .80). A sample P-T Fit item is There is a good match between the requirements of my volunteer work and my skills and a sample P-O Fit item is I support the mission of the organization.
Empowerment. We used Spreitzers (1995) Psychological Empowerment Scale (PES) as modified by Kim et al. (2007), which incorporates 12 items that measure four dimensions of psychological empowerment: Meaning, Competence, Self-Determination, and Impact. A sample item of the dimension, Meaning, is The volunteer work I do is very important to me. The internal consistency estimates reported in Kim et al.s study were Meaning ( = .84), Competence ( = .78), Self-Determination ( = .79), and Impact ( = .87).
Intention to Continue Volunteering. We measured ICV with four items. We used the three items from Kim at al.s (2007) study and added one more item asking about the volunteers intention to continue if his/her family member and/or friend did not compete in the event. The four items were I will stop volunteering at the end of the season, I will volunteer for the organization next year, If I have the opportunity, I would be volunteering for the organization for a long time, and I will not volunteer if my family/friend does not compete in the event. The internal consistency of the three ICV items in Kim et al.s study was 0.80.
(Relational)Psychological Contract Fulfillment. Based on the previous volun-teer literature (e.g., Caldwell & Andereck, 1994; Clary et al., 1998; Kim, Won, & Harrolle, 2009; Knoke & Prensky, 1984), and as we noted above, there are three main areas with which volunteers might construct their psychological relational contracts: volunteer duties, social relationships (e.g., being with friends/family, making new friends, engaging with others), and career/networking/learning opportunities. Similar to earlier research on measuring psychological contract violation or fulfillment (e.g., Robinson & Morrison, 1995), we directly asked the degree to which the respondents relational contract was fulfilled in the three areas identified. The items included Volunteer duties I was asked to perform or was performing are similar to what I expected, The level of socialization at the event/organization (e.g., being with friends or family, making new friends, engaging with others) is similar to what I expected, and The career/networking/learning opportunities given by the volunteer work are similar to what I expected.
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Model Comparison Test (Test for Hypothesis 1). To test the measurement model, a confirmatory factor analysis was applied using the structure equation modeling (SEM) technique in AMOS 6. Nine different subscales were included in the confirmatory factor analysis: P-T Fit (3 items), P-O Fit (3 items), Psychologi-cal Contract Fulfillment (3 items), Meaning (3 items), Competence (3 items), Self-Determination (3 items), Impact (3 items), and Intention to Continue Volun-teering (4 items). The following fit indices were used to examine model fit: the chi-square per degree of freedom ratio (2/df), the Root Mean Square Error of Approximation (RMSEA, a), and the Comparative Fit Index (CFI). A chi-square per degree of freedom ratio in the range of 23 indicates acceptable fit (Carmines & McIver, 1981) and a ratio smaller than 2 is an adequate fit (Byrne, 1989). RMSEA values less than .06 indicate that a model has close fit (Hu & Bentler, 1999), values of .08 or less would indicate reasonable fit, and RMSEA values higher than .10 should not be considered (Browne & Cudeck, 1992). CFI values close to 1 are indicative of a very good fit (Bentler, 1990). Further, all Average Variance Extracted (AVE) values which meet or exceed .50 indicate that the items represent the construct well (Fornell & Larker, 1981; Hair, Anderson, Tatham, & Black, 1998).
To test the structural models (the fully mediated model and the partially medi-ated model), we once again used AMOS 6 to test the modified models including P-T Fit, P-O Fit, Empowerment with three dimensions, and ICV. As with the CFA we used the same fit indices: 2/df, RMSEA, and CFI. The fully mediated model was nested in the partially mediated model. To determine if mediation existed, we had to establish that there was a significant relationship between the IV and the DV, and between the IV and the mediator. Furthermore, we had to show that the path from the IV to the DV either was nonsignificant (fully mediated) or decreased (partially mediated) when the mediator was added to the model. The fully medi-ated and partially mediated models can be compared by determining whether the confidence intervals for the RMSEA (a) and the ECVI for each model overlap, and by using the chi-square difference test. Due to potentially inflated chi-square values because of the sample size, we set the significance level at .01. Only when the confidence intervals for the fit indices for the two models do not overlap, or if the chi-square difference test is significant, can we conclude that one model is better than the other.
Test of Moderating Effect (Test for Hypothesis 2). The second hypothesis of the study is to explore the influence of Psychological Contract Fulfillment on the modified volunteer retention model. Specifically, we tested if Psychological Con-tract Fulfillment would moderate the relationship between Fit and Empowerment. We followed Jreskogs (2000) latent score technique to test the interaction effect in a structural equation model. Using Mplus v. 4.21, we computed latent factor scores for two variables, Overall Fit and Psychological Contract Fulfillment. Then, we created an interaction variable by multiplying the latent variable scores of the Fit and Psychological Contract constructs, Lastly, we performed structural regression (SR) with two independent variables (Fit and Psychological Contract), one product variable, and one dependent variable (Empowerment). Interaction
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effects are inferred if a path coefficient for the direct effect of the product variable on the dependent variable is statistically significant.
Test of Volunteer Retention Model
Measurement Model Testing and Model Modification. The CFA results revealed that the chi-square per degree of freedom ratio (2/df = 466.418/247 = 1.888), the Root Mean Square Error of Approximation (RMSEA, a = .061), and Comparative Fit Index (CFI = .920) indicated adequate fit. Further, all Average Variance Extracted (AVE) values exceeded .50 except for one (ICV), which indi-cated that the items represented the constructs well (Fornell & Larker, 1981; Hair et al., 1998). For the ICV subscale, two of the items (I will stop volunteering at the end of the season and I will not volunteer if my family/friend does not com-pete in the event), had very low factor loading values (.362 and .257 respec-tively). Actually, these two items were the only negatively worded statements requiring reverse coding in the questionnaire, which might explain the lower factor loadings. Indeed, respondent errors on negatively-worded items are com-monly found in different studies (e.g., Barnette, 2000; Parasuraman, Berry, & Zeithaml, 1991; Pillote & Gable, 1990). Thus, these two items were deleted from further analyses. In addition, the CFA showed that some of the correlations among the Empowerment subdimensions were problematic. Unlike the expected high correlations among the three dimensions (Meaning, Competence, and Self-Deter-mination), the correlations between the Impact dimension and the other three dimensions were either insignificant or much lower than others (i.e., r = .200 with Competence, r = .573 with Self-Determination, r = .245 with Meaning). Based on the CFA results, we concluded that the Impact dimension would not represent Empowerment well in the model as a first order latent variable, thus it was removed from the model. In addition, the correlation between P-O Fit and P-T Fit was extremely high (r = .918), which indicated no discriminant validity between the two constructs. This correlation was much higher than the correlation between P-T Fit and P-O Fit (r = .45) in Kim et al.s study (2007). However, according to the meta-analysis of Kristof-Brown et al. (2005), the high correlation between P-T Fit and P-O Fit has been prevalent in previous studies although both P-T Fit and P-O Fit are conceptually different. Due to the high correlation between those two variables, we ran an exploratory factor analysis (EFA) on the combined set of 3 P-O Fit items and 3 P-T Fit items. EFA results revealed that only one component was extracted and the factor loading values of all 6 items were above .790. Thus, we combined the two constructs (P-O Fit and P-T Fit) into one construct and named the new dimension Fit.
Based on the above necessary adjustments, we ran a second CFA. The fit indices indicated good model fit. The chi-square per degree of freedom ratio (289.917/155 = 1.870), RMSEA (a = .062), and CFI (.957) were good. The inter-nal consistency values ranged from .790 to .925 and the AVE values ranged from .608 to .773 (Table 1). The means, standard deviations, and correlations among the constructs are listed in Table 2.
562 Kim et al.
Structural Model Testing and Model Comparison. After the revised CFA test, we tested the modified volunteer retention model incorporating Fit (represented by 6 items), Empowerment (represented by 3 dimensions and 9 items), and ICV (represented by 2 items). The path coefficient between Fit (IV) and ICV (DV) was significant ( = .293), as was the path between Fit (IV) and Empowerment (medi-ator; = .850). Thus we were able to test both the fully mediated and partially mediated models. The fit indices for both structural models (the fully mediated model and the partially mediated model) revealed reasonable fit. For the fully mediated model, the chi-square per degree of freedom ratio (244.881/114 = 2.148), RMSEA (a = .072), and CFI (.952) were all acceptable. All path coeffi-cients in the fully mediated model were significant. Specifically, the path from Fit to Empowerment was .863 and the path from Empowerment to ICV was .704. For the partially mediated model, the chi-square per degree of freedom ratio (240.999/113 = 2.1333), RMSEA (a = .071), and CFI (.953) were also all accept-able. The path coefficient between Fit and Empowerment was .850, the path coef-ficient between Fit and ICV was .293, and the path coefficient between Empower-ment and ICV was .428. All path coefficients were significant.
The confidence interval of the RMSEA for the fully mediated model (a = .072, CI = .059.084) exactly overlapped the confidence interval for the partially mediated model (a = .071, CI = .059.084). The confidence interval of the ECVI for fully mediated model (c* = 1.448; CI = 1.2631.668) also overlapped the confidence interval for the partially mediated model (c* = 1.439; CI = 1.2561.657). In addition, the chi-square difference test showed no significant difference between the fully mediated model and the partially mediated model (D2 = 244.881240.999 = 3.882; Table 3). All of three model comparison tests showed that the fully mediated model and the partially mediated model fit the data equally well. However, we chose the fully mediated model because it was a more parsi-monious model and it explained more variance in the dependent variable (49.5 and 45%, respectively).
Test of Moderating EffectThe moderated model, in which Psychological Contract Fulfillment moderated the relationship between Fit and Empowerment, also fit well (a = .057; CFI = .952; 2/df = 309.60/180 = 1.72). The path coefficient from the interaction term (Psychological Contract Fulfillment and Fit) to Empowerment was significant. ( = -0.112, p < .01). That is, Psychological Contract Fulfillment negatively moder-ated the relationship between Fit and Empowerment. The path coefficient between Fit and Empowerment was .693, and the path between Empowerment and ICV was .707.
DiscussionThe objective of this study was to use the theory of planned behavior as a general framework to explain ICV and to weave the theory of work development and psychological contract theory together within the theory of planned behavior. Fur-thermore, we incorporated two frameworks (person-environment fit and empow-
, I w
t I e
Role of Psychological Contract in Volunteering 565
erment) and previous empirical results (e.g., Kim et al.s model among others) to propose, test, and compare models in an attempt to explain Intentions to Continue Volunteering. Specifically, we wanted to find out whether the relationship between Person-Environment Fit and Intention to Continue Volunteering was partially or fully mediated by Empowerment (Hypothesis #1) and also to test whether the relationship between Person-Environment Fit and Empowerment was moderated by Psychological Contract Fulfillment (Hypothesis #2).
After modifying the measurement model, we found that the fully mediated model and the partially mediated model both represented the data adequately based on the fit indices. However, we chose the fully mediated model because it was more parsimonious. In addition, in the fully mediated model, Fit explained 74.5% of the variance in Empowerment and Empowerment explained 49.5% of the variance in Intention to Continue Volunteering. Thus, Hypothesis #1 was supported.
This result supported the theory of planned behavior in that control beliefs (reflected by perceptions of person-task Fit and person-organization Fit) of the individual were related to behavioral intentions (intentions to continue volunteer-ing). Furthermore, this result supported the theory of work adjustment (Dawis & Lofquist, 1984) to some extent and showed that it could be applied to volunteers as employees. As Dawis and Lofquist noted, the fit between the employee and the organization empowers the employees, and eventually leads to retention and an extended tenure by employees, or in our case, an intention to continue volunteering. Our results also support the findings of Brkich et al. (2002) that
Table 2 Means (M), Standard Deviations (SD), and Correlations
M SD FIT EM EC ES IN PC
FIT 6.411 .740 1EM 6.443 .818 .746 1EC 6.309 .727 .826 .829 1ES 5.580 1.239 .593 .600 .674 1IN 6.087 1.060 .676 .658 .592 .452 1PC 5.975 1.136 .564 .513 .570 .398 .555 1
Note. FIT = Fit, EM = Empowerment dimension-Meaning, EC = Empowerment dimension-Competence, ES = Empowerment dimension-Self-Determination, IN = Intention to Continue Volunteering, PC = Psychological Contract Fulfillment.
* All correlations were significant at the .01 level.
Table 3 Summary of Overall Fit Indices for the Proposed Models Tested
Model 2 df 2/df a a CI ECVI ECVI CI
Fully Mediated Model 244.881 114 2.148 .072 .059.084 1.448 1.2631.668Partially Mediated
Model240.999 113 2.133 .071 .059.084 1.439 1.2561.657
Note. 2 = Chi-square, df = Degree of freedom, a = Root mean square of approximation, CI = Confidence intervals, ECVI = Point estimate of the expected value of the cross-validation index.
566 Kim et al.
Person-Environment fit was related to Empowerment. Furthermore, although Chan (1996), Hollenbeck (1989), and Kristof-Brown et al. (2005) used Turnover Intention rather than Intentions to Continue, our results, which show that there is a positive (albeit small) relationship between Fit and Intention to Continue in the test for mediation, are similar to the negative relationships found in the above mentioned studies between Fit and turnover Intention.
More importantly though, our results, which indicate that Empowerment seems to fully mediate the relationship between Fit and Intention to Continue, extends the above research and the findings of Chen (2005) and Eby et al. (1999) who determined that empowerment was negatively related to turnover intention. In addition, it further corroborates Kim et al.s (2007) findings that Empowerment mediates the relationship between both Person-Task Fit and Person-Organization Fit and intentions to continue volunteering. This also supports the theory of planned behavior in that perceptions of empowerment, which are also control beliefs, influence behavioral intentions, specifically intentions to continue volun-teering. Furthermore, we explain a considerably larger amount of variance in both Empowerment and Intentions to Continue Volunteering than Kim et al. did in their model. This indicates that this model does a better job explaining why people are willing to continue volunteering.
The second hypothesis of the study was to test the moderating effects of Psy-chological Contract Fulfillment on the relationship between Fit and Empower-ment. We found that the relationship between Fit and Empowerment grew weaker as the Psychological Contract became well-fulfilled, supporting Hypothesis #2. That is, although the organizations mission/goals may not fit well with an indi-vidual volunteers values/goals, and the volunteers knowledge, skill, and abilities may not match the volunteers task, the volunteer can still be empowered if the actual duties and benefits of the volunteers work is similar to the volunteers expectations (i.e., a high level of Psychological Contract Fulfillment). On the other hand, as the level of Psychological Contact Fulfillment decreases, the influ-ence of Fit on Empowerment increases, thus putting a greater emphasis on Per-son-Environment Fit. That is, when the individual feels that the psychological contract is not fulfilled, it is absolutely critical that the volunteer feel that the fit is very good. If the fit is not good in this instance, then the volunteer will not feel empowered and is thus much less likely to continue to volunteer with that particu-lar organization.
These results partially support the theory of planned behavior. Ajzen (1991) suggested that as behavioral beliefs were fulfilled, intentions for behavior would vary. That is, as expectations about the behavior were either met or not, future intentions would increase or decrease respectively. He also indicated that behav-ioral beliefs were correlated with control beliefs. Our research indicates that the expectations of contract fulfillment moderates the relationship between two aspects of perceived control (Fit and Empowerment), which then influence inten-tions. Unfortunately, until now, no researcher has directly studied how the level of psychological contract fulfillment influences fit, empowerment, or the relation-ship between these two; however, previous studies have reported the positive outcomes of psychological contract fulfillment, which include job satisfaction, organizational commitment, and intention to continue (Bunderson, 2001; Coyle-Shapiro, 2000; Coyle-Shapiro & Kessler, 2003; Freese & Schalk, 2000; Rusbult
Role of Psychological Contract in Volunteering 567
et al., 1988; Turnley & Feldman, 1999; Withey & Cooper, 1989). Further, previ-ous research has indicated that the breach of a psychological contract negatively influences job satisfaction, affective commitment, and turnover intention (Sutton & Griffin, 2004). Thus, the results of the current study, which show the moderat-ing effect of Psychological Contract Fulfillment on the relationship between Fit and Empowerment, is in agreement with previous research results reporting posi-tive outcomes of psychological contract fulfillment. It also supports Morrison and Robinsons (1997) idea that violation of the psychological contact could be viewed as the organization potentially reneging or not fulfilling expectations, and thus could have a negative influence on Empowerment and Intention to Continue Volunteering.
The perceived reneging could be an even more important influence on volun-teers than on paid-employees because volunteers may focus on the relational aspects of the psychological contract, whereas paid-employees may focus both on the transactional and relational aspects. Although volunteers may possess a greater reliance on relational contract aspects than paid-employees do, the effect of psy-chological contract fulfillment found in the current study is similar to other studies on paid-employees. Thus, we believe the results of the present may be applicable not only to other volunteers in nonsport settings but also possibly to paid-employees.
Implications for Organizations
The results of the current study provide a few useful recommendations to practi-tioners. To retain quality volunteers, the organization should determine the best way to empower current volunteers. One effective way to empower volunteers is to recruit volunteers whose knowledge, skills, and abilities match the job require-ment and whose personal values and goals fit the organizational mission and goals. However, it is not realistic for many organizations and events, except some high-profile sporting events (e.g., Olympic Games) or organizations, to rigorously screen their volunteer applicants for good task and organization fit. First, many times for low-profile organizations, there are not enough people who are willing to volunteer for the positions that need to be filled. In addition, many organiza-tions and events using volunteer labor do not have enough resources to conduct the screening process.
The results of the current study gave an alternative answer to this issue of screening and hiring well-matched volunteers. When the relationship between fit and empowerment for a volunteer could potentially be weak, the organization should provide a clearer picture of the organizations situation and give detailed descriptions of volunteer duties when the organization advertises volunteer posi-tions, recruits volunteers, and provides orientation or initial training to the volun-teers. If the organization provides accurate information, the volunteer can create realistic expectations toward the organization and the required duties, and thus construct realistic psychological contracts. Accordingly, it is more likely that the psychological contract will be fulfilled. Some might argue that providing accurate and detailed information to potential volunteers could hinder recruiting larger numbers of volunteers. However, existing volunteers of the organization or return-ing volunteers of the event require smaller costs of recruitment, selection, and
568 Kim et al.
training but are typically more knowledgeable and skillful. Accordingly, retaining volunteers in nonprofit organizations or getting volunteers to return for the next event is more cost-effective and more managerially advantageous than recruiting new volunteers. Therefore, organizations should put more effort into providing realistic expectations and detailing explanations of tasks for their volunteer applicants.
Limitations and Suggestions for Future Study
There are several limitations to this study, some of which have been evident in previous research as well. One of the most critical seems to be the lack of dis-criminant validity between Person-Task Fit and Person-Organization Fit. Obvi-ously, they are theoretically distinct, but as noted by Kristof-Brown et al. (2005), too frequently they are not statistically different, as was the case in the present research. It would behoove future researchers to evaluate the content validity of both constructs to determine whether the items are actually measuring what they are supposed to measure. Second, the Impact dimension of Empowerment does not seem to represent Empowerment to the same extent as the other three dimen-sions. This was evident in Kim et al.s (2007) study to some extent as well. This could be due to several reasons. One potentiality could be a lack of content valid-ity, but we do not think that this is the case. It is more likely due to the fact that Meaning, Competence, and Self-Determination all are more highly correlated with each other than with Impact. This could mean that Impact is measuring a fairly distinct aspect of Empowerment. This is not a problem necessarily; how-ever, it does minimize the influence of Impact on other dimensions in the model. Thus, future researchers should be cautioned that if they are interested in the Impact dimension specifically, they may need to incorporate it as a separate dimension, distinct from Empowerment. Lastly, the two negatively worded items in the Intention to Continue Volunteering factor did not load well on the factor. This is probably due to method variance. Those items should probably be reworded to be positive items instead.
In addition to the suggestions that we have made above, we feel that future research should probably include satisfaction with volunteering in the model, similar to Farmer and Fedor (1997). Furthermore, researchers should investigate whether Intention to Continue Volunteering is actually the opposite end of the continuum to turnover intentions as we suspect it is. In addition, the measure of Psychological Contract Fulfillment may need to be examined and expanded to better represent the breadth of relational contracts better. Although our measure worked well and had good construct reliability and discriminant validity from other measures, it certainly could be examined for improvement. Future research needs to collect longitudinal data on the formation of psychological contracts, development of perceived fit with the task and organization, and how these aspects influence empowerment and ultimately retention of volunteers.
In sum, we provided support for Empowerment mediating the relationship between Fit and Intention to Continue Volunteering. Further, we found that Psy-chological Contract Fulfillment moderated the relationship between Fit and Empowerment. By doing so, we revealed another factor that may help retain more volunteers.
Role of Psychological Contract in Volunteering 569
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