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Rebecca Nesbit, Heather Rimes, Robert K. Christensen, and Jeffrey L. Brudney. (2016) Inadvertent Volunteer Managers Exploring Perceptions of Volunteer Managers’ and Volunteers’ Roles in the Public Workplace. Review of Public Personnel Administration. 1-24
Although a voluminous literature addresses organizational change, employee stress, and organizational behavior, we have little understanding of employees’ responses to being assigned the role and responsibilities of a volunteer manager. Because many public and nonprofit organizations seek to incorporate more volunteers—especially during times of fiscal stress—employees’ responses to an influx of volunteers and additional volunteer management responsibilities can affect organizational performance. We use data from a case study at a large public library system to illustrate how role theory helps advance our understanding of these responsibilities in a human resource context. Our findings suggest that role perceptions, expectations, and conflict all inform the effectiveness and dynamics of managing important unpaid human resources: volunteers. We discuss the organizational implications of inadvertent volunteer managers—employees assigned to the volunteer manager role without prior training and experience.
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