The Multidimensional benefits of university student volunteering

psychological contract, expectations, and outcomes

Debbie Haski-Leventhal*, Megan Paull, Susan Young, Judith MacCallum, Kirsten Holmes, Maryam Omari, Rowena Scott, Irit Alony

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Student volunteering has many benefits for students, universities, and nonprofit organizations (NPOs), but research on these from a multistakeholder perspective is scant. Using psychological contract theory, this article compares outcomes to expectations of students, universities, and NPOs, proposing a model of the benefits of volunteering to all three stakeholder groups. Based on a large-scale qualitative research with over 60 interviews in six Australian universities, the article offers an in-depth analysis of student volunteering benefits, surprises (benefits exceeding expectations), and disappointments (unmet expectations) for each stakeholder group. Some of these benefits align with existing literature, while others contribute new knowledge on the outcomes of student volunteering. The results show that training, preparation, and management of expectations have the potential to build positive benefits for all. It concludes with implications for universities and NPOs and directions for future research on student volunteering.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)113-133
Number of pages21
JournalNonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly
Issue number1
Early online date17 Jul 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2020


  • benefits
  • psychological contract
  • service-learning
  • student volunteering
  • university

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