A cross-cultural examination of student volunteering

Is it all about résumé building?

Femida Handy*, Ram A. Cnaan, Lesley Hustinx, Chulhee Kang, Jeffrey L. Brudney, Debbie Haski-Leventhal, Kirsten Holmes, Lucas C P M Meijs, Anne Birgitta Pessi, Bhagyashree Ranade, Naoto Yamauchi, Sinisa Zrinscak

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

123 Citations (Scopus)


This research adopts the utilitarian view of volunteering as a starting point: we posit that for an undergraduate student population volunteering is motivated by career enhancing and job prospects. We hypothesize that in those countries where volunteering signals positive characteristics of students and helps advance their careers, their volunteer participation will be higher. Furthermore, regardless of the signaling value of volunteering, those students who volunteer for utilitarian reasons will be more likely to volunteer but will exhibit less time-intensive volunteering. Using survey data from 12 countries (n = 9,482), we examine our hypotheses related to motivations to volunteer, volunteer participation, and country differences. Findings suggest that students motivated to volunteer for building their résumés do not volunteer more than students with other motives. However, in countries with a positive signaling value of volunteering, volunteering rates are significantly higher. As expected, students motivated by résumé building motivations have a lower intensity of volunteering.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)498-523
Number of pages26
JournalNonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes


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