Volunteer Organizations Ability to Function Essay

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Volunteer Organizations Ability to Function

DeVry University

Volunteer Organizations Ability to Function
Ever wonder how volunteer organizations succeed or fail? Many times Organizations succeed or fail due to many different reasons. This report will show various reasons for who, what, when, where, and the why. Originally the research was designed to evaluate a specific Volunteer Group, but due to failure in participation this paper was shifted to explain the reasons. First there will a history and explanation of voluntary associations. Secondly, it shifts to major reasoning as to why these organizations either succeed or fail.
The study of voluntary associations in the U.S. has a long history, dating back to de Tocqueville observation that America is a country of “joiners.” Much of this literature has focused on who is likely to participate (Auslander & Litwin 1988; Booth 1972; Curtis, Grabb & Baer 1992; McPherson & Smith-Lovin 1986; Scott 1957). Less research has examined the consequences of this participation, although sociologists have long recognized the importance of social networks in determining individual behaviors. For instance, Durkheim (1951 [1897]) examined the influence of social networks in his exploration of suicide — hypothesizing that individuals who were integrated into networks would be less likely to commit suicide. More recently, social networks have been proposed as important factors in a range of behaviors, including collective action, coping with job loss, career advancement, and preventive health behaviors (Fischer 1982; Granovetter 1973; Marwell, Seeman, Seeman & Sayles 1985; Uehara 1990). Ivan Light (1972) has suggested that one of the reasons Chinese and Japanese immigrants to the U.S. have been successful in establishing businesses and avoiding reliance on welfare programs is because of the suprafamilial social structures in their country of origin, namely rotating credit associations. Thus, participating in voluntary associations is likely to affect many domains of life, particularly as intragroup social interactions lead to the development of social networks with other association members.
The research reported here contributes to the literature on social networks, and voluntary associations. The provision of advice and information is an aspect of social support that has been emphasized in the sociological literature. For instance, employment research has found benefit in having work ties that provide information on job options (Granovetter 1973). Research suggests that empowerment is also a likely consequence of the increased levels of social support provided by voluntary associations. In the health literature, social support is thought to lead to a sense of mastery over the environment. That is, when individuals believe that they can control their behavior, they are more likely to make an attempt (Seeman, Seeman & Sayles 1985). In addition to providing social support, which is hypothesized to allow individuals to better implement their own goals and preferences, groups may also influence individuals’ goals and preferences. Both indirect and direct avenues of attitudinal change have been suggested.
Social action, whereby individuals work to change the social structure in which they reside and thus change the constraints on their behavior, is a fourth behavior change mechanism associated with group participation. The sociological literature has long connected collective action with social networks. Gerald Marwell, Pamela Oliver, and their colleagues have extensively described how social ties increase the likelihood of collective action (e.g. Oliver, Marwell & Teixeira 1985). However, research on this connection has been largely absent from the demographic literature. Some voluntary associations in poor countries, such as credit groups, are targeted at individuals with the fewest resources to implement their preferences. Thus, aspects of voluntary