Autonomous Motivation Stimulates Volunteers’ Work Effort: A Self-Determination Theory Approach to Volunteerism

Jemima Bidee, Tim Vantilborgh, Roland Pepermans, Gert Huybrechts, Jurgen Willems, Marc Jegers

Publication: Scientific journalJournal articlepeer-review


Although today’s nonprofit organizations make a strong appeal to volunteers, they often have difficulties with attracting and retaining these free labor forces. In this sense, studying the motivation of volunteers and its effects proves useful. In the present article, we investigate the relationship between volunteers’ motivation and their self-reported work effort, while relying on the Self-Determination Theory. The results indicate a positive link between volunteers’ autonomous motivation and work effort. Moreover, this relationship holds for each person in our sample, irrespective of the organization in which she/he is volunteering. Implications for future research, as well as the practical impact of these findings, are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)32 - 47
JournalVoluntas: International Journal of Voluntary and Nonprofit Organizations
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2013

Austrian Classification of Fields of Science and Technology (ÖFOS)

  • 502023 NPO research


  • Motivation
  • Nonprofit
  • SDT
  • Self-determination
  • Volunteering
  • Work effort
  • survey

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