Towards global citizens: harnessing the expectations of volunteer tourists

Ong, Faith (2016) Towards global citizens: harnessing the expectations of volunteer tourists. PhD thesis, Victoria University.


In the growing field of volunteer tourism research, the motivations, benefits and criticisms of this activity have been widely explored. An area that has received less attention has been the post-experience domain and particularly its impact on volunteer tourist contributions to their own communities. In the spirit of exploring effective altruism through the maximisation of social good, this study explores the impact of the volunteer tourism experience on the propensity of volunteer tourists to undertake other volunteering variants post-trip, indicative of a potential conduit for volunteer recruitment. To achieve this, the study is underpinned by the Expectation-Disconfirmation Paradigm (‘EDP’). The researcher measured the expectations, disconfirmation and satisfaction of volunteer tourists over the course of their trip. By doing so, she was able to examine the effects of these constructs on behavioural intentions relating to repeat purchase, overseas travel, domestic travel volunteering and local volunteering. Initial interviews were conducted with past volunteer tourists and with volunteer sending organisations to determine volunteer tourist expectations. The ensuing list of items was supplemented by the literature on tourism and volunteering. The expectations that were identified formed the basis of a two-round questionnaire that was designed to measure expectations, disconfirmation, satisfaction and behavioural intentions prior to volunteer tourists’ departure and upon their return. The results revealed that disconfirmation had more influence on behavioural intentions than the other variables measured. The disconfirmation of expectations was related primarily to personal growth and learning. These factors yielded statistically significant relationships in relation to volunteering behavioural intentions. This study found tentative associations between the transformative experience of volunteer tourism and decisions to start or continue volunteering in the future, but did not find strong evidence that could confirm the role of volunteer tourism as a conduit for volunteer recruitment. While contributing to the research on volunteer tourism using the lens of EDP, recommendations for future research include the implementation of alternative data analyses, and the utilisation of multiple theories to develop more holistic frameworks of comparison.

Item type Thesis (PhD thesis)
Subjects Historical > FOR Classification > 1506 Tourism
Historical > Faculty/School/Research Centre/Department > College of Business
Keywords volunteers, volunteering, voluntary work, volunteerism, behavioural intentions, behaviour, post-volunteer tourism experiences
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