The matching of motivations to affordances among Maltese elected local government volunteers: implications for sustaining civil society

Frank Bezzina, Vincent Cassar, Joseph G. Azzorpardi, Peter McKiernan

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    Purpose – The purpose of this study is to both understand the motives for volunteering in local government (a strong/structured context) and determine how such motivation and other demographics interact with organisational contexts to influence volunteering outcomes.
    Design/methodology/approach – The study adopts a functional approach to volunteerism. The Volunteer Functions Inventory is modified to better assess the motivations of elected local government volunteers. The responses of 152 Maltese local councillors were used to answer four research questions empirically.
    Findings – Exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses supported the introduction of a seventh VFI dimension, namely the political function. The study provides evidence that local councillors who received greater amounts of functionally relevant benefits reported more satisfaction and a stronger intention to continue volunteering in local government. The aggregated effect of multiple motives as well as other person-based determinants (marital status and education) produced a significant impact on volunteering outcomes in this strong/structured situational context of this public sector environment.
    Originality/value – This study contributes to a better understanding and assessment of the motivations of elected local government volunteers. It addresses practical recommendations for sustaining civil society, while acknowledging the potential and contribution of volunteers with various demographic characteristics.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)178-194
    Number of pages17
    JournalJournal of Global Responsibility
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 18 Aug 2015


    • volunteers
    • volunteering
    • Malta
    • sustainability
    • local government
    • motivation
    • civil society
    • satisfaction

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