Retention of festival volunteers: Management practices and volunteer motivation

Published in: Research in Hospitality Management
Volume 8, issue 2, 2018 , pages: 107–114
DOI: 10.1080/22243534.2018.1553374
Author(s): Diane ZievingerStenden Hotel Management School, The Netherlands, Frans SwintStenden Hotel Management School, The Netherlands


Many volunteers in different festival organisations within the hospitality industry begin with great excitement, but slowly lose interest. This might be due to poor volunteer management practices that result in decreased motivation among volunteers, and with the consequences of them leaving the organisations all together. Therefore, this research aimed to study how volunteers’ perceived management impacted their motivation and in turn affected their intention to stay for longer periods within festival organisations. Expanding upon previous literature that investigated volunteer retention in different contexts as well as in only one festival organisation, a conceptual model was developed using existing theories focused on volunteer management practices, volunteer motivation, and volunteer retention. Using a self-administered online survey technique, 103 valid surveys from individuals currently volunteering in festival organisations were obtained. Although several limitations were present, the results still showed its suitability to volunteers in festival organisations. As such, based on the correlation and regression analyses conducted in this study, the results showed that training management practice has a strong influence on social and protective volunteer motivations; while the recognition management practice has the most influence on the volunteer motivations of social, value, understanding, and esteem. While the majority of these results contradicted previous studies, it still provided a better understanding of the volunteers’ perceptions in different festival organisations, and thus contributes to the body of knowledge for future studies in the same area. With this new knowledge, future scholars can consider the application of volunteer motivation comparisons among different festival organisations, similar studies in the management perspective, and the adaptation of the volunteer retention survey statements to episodic volunteers in the festival context. As a result, the implementation of these recommendations might enable a more effective human resource management strategy to ultimately increase volunteer retention within festival organisations.

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