The multidimensional benefits of university student volunteering: Psychological contract, expectations, and outcomes
Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly
School of Business and Law
Australian Government Office for Learning and Teaching.
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.