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Building a purposeful identity in the older adult volunteer space: A case study of community radio station 6RPH (Radio Print-Handicapped)

Order, S. and O’Mahony, L. (2017) Building a purposeful identity in the older adult volunteer space: A case study of community radio station 6RPH (Radio Print-Handicapped). Communication Research and Practice, 3 (1). pp. 31-44.

Link to Published Version: https://doi.org/10.1080/22041451.2017.1271971
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Abstract

Social scientists have long been fascinated about why people volunteer. Volunteers give their time to certain organisations without expectation of reward or compensation for their labour (Snyder & Omoto, 2008). The 2011 ‘National Survey of Volunteering Issues’ suggests that the primary motivations for volunteers are a ‘sense of purpose’ and the ‘difference they make to the community’ (Volunteering Australia, 2011, p. 4). While these two primary motivations may span volunteering generally, older adult volunteer motivation in the community radio sector anecdotally reveals a more complex picture. There are strong resonances between existing theoretical literature on motivations in volunteering (Clary et al., 1998) and community radio (Order, 2014b). Clary et al.’s (1998) work focuses on the initial motivation to volunteer and what drives continued participation. Order’s (2014b) study found that the main value for participation in community radio was personal development and empowerment at a personal or group level. The purpose of this article is to explore these broad themes in more detail. Interview data from volunteers at an exemplar community radio station is considered in conjunction with Clary et al.’s (1998) six motivational functions of volunteering. Clary et al.’s six functions provide the language and a framework to unpack personal development and empowerment at a personal and group level in the community radio sector using interview data about the participation of primarily older volunteers at Perth community radio station 6RPH (Radio Print-Handicapped). The analysis reveals a more nuanced picture of volunteer motivation for individuals. This article argues that the development of a purposeful identity through volunteering in a community radio context is a primary motivation and consequence for older adult volunteers.

Publication Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Arts
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/38483
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