The Hidden Contributions of Local Staff When Hosting International Development Volunteers

SAGE Publications
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, pp. 089976402199524-089976402199524
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This exploratory study identifies what additional work-roles local staff take on when their organization hosts a long-term international development volunteer, and explains why they do this. Analyzing interview data from a sample of local employees in Vietnamese organizations, the study identifies five work-roles: two that buttressed “volunteer and organization readiness” (preparing and orienting) and three that facilitated “volunteer performance” (translating, advocating, and mediating). These roles, often outside the formal work-role and expertise of the local employees, added to their cognitive and emotional loads and to a large extent went unrecognized by their employers. They were motivated by a combination of personal benefit (notably, opportunities to learn) and reciprocity norms that appear influenced, in part, by respondents’ cultural conditioning. The implications of this for volunteer-involved organizations, volunteers, and locals are discussed.
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