A case study examining volunteers as viable stakeholders during nonprofit change through the lens of field theory and structuration theory

by McRoberts, Lisa D., Ph.D., CAPELLA UNIVERSITY, 2012, 202 pages; 3551094


As internal stakeholders, volunteers are a positive force in the success of a nonprofit organization. Without volunteers as participative workers, many organizations would fail to sustain in a competitive and dynamic environment with other nonprofits vying for the same volunteers. Understanding and examining volunteer involvement facilitates an understanding of the impact on organizational action toward volunteers. When nonprofits confront the need to change, often the volunteers are not included. This qualitative case study began as an attempt to understand the role of communication directed toward volunteers as an important catalyst to change while also improving perceptions and feelings toward organizational missions through their involvement. Instead, the research discovered volunteers were unintentionally left out of the change process entirely. In its first two years of a 4-year plan, the organization has failed to inform the volunteers of the new strategy goals that set out to improve and enhance the organizational objectives, exposure, and financial resources. The volunteers who participated in the study first heard about the strategic initiative that began in 2010 by being informed as part of their participation in this study. Furthermore, the vital stakeholders of formal volunteers, who invest their time and talents toward nonprofit missions, went uninformed of the planned changes. As a dual model approach to the study, Kurt Lewin's (1951) field theory and Anthony Giddens's (1984) structuration theory provide a framework from which the study explored and gained understanding of this unique organizational context and the potency of its internal and external stakeholders in influencing organizational change.

AdvisersStephen Callender; Linda J. Terry
Source TypeDissertation
SubjectsManagement; Communication; Organization theory
Publication Number3551094

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