Taking subjectivity and reflexivity seriously: Implications of social constructionism for researching volunteer motivation

2020-07-29T23:17:37Z (GMT) by E Weenink Todd Bridgman
© 2016, International Society for Third-Sector Research and The Johns Hopkins University. This paper explores the contributions a social constructionist paradigm can make for researching volunteer motivation, by reflecting on an active membership study of volunteer netball coaches at a New Zealand high school. Social constructionism is based on philosophical assumptions which differ from those of positivism and post-positivism, the dominant paradigms for understanding and representing volunteer motivation. It highlights the social processes through which people give meaning to their motives and view researchers as necessarily implicated in this meaning-making process. Through a critique of the extant literature on volunteer motivation and an illustration of the insights of social constructionism from our empirical study, we consider how volunteer motivation research could be different if subjectivity and reflexivity were taken more seriously.