Document Type


Publication details

Usadọlọ QE, 'The impact of social exchange on volunteer's workplace outcomes in non-profit organisations', PhD thesis, Southern Cross University, Lismore, NSW.

Copyright QE Usadọlọ 2016


Decreases in government funding for welfare and social services in Australia have accelerated the emergence of non-profit organisations (NPOs), particularly community NPOs. Community NPOs are integral components of Australian society, particularly in Queensland. They provide essential services with the help of volunteers. Hence, this study was undertaken to understand how workplace relationships affect volunteers’ attitudes and behaviours such as job satisfaction, affective commitment and intention to stay in community NPOs. This understanding will help managers in the community NPOs to plan their volunteer retention strategies, reduce high dropout rates, and attract new volunteers.

Using social exchange theory as an analytical lens, this study examined the impact of its constructs (perceived organisational support (POS) and leader member exchange (LMX)) on volunteers’ job satisfaction, affective commitment and intention to stay. Social exchange theory provides a better understanding of the impact of management on workplace outcomes. A model was developed that shows the relationships between the independent variables and dependent variables, with motive fulfilment represented in the model as a mediator.

Using a quantitative approach, a cross-sectional survey technique was applied to collect data from five community service NPOs in Queensland, Australia. The data collected from 218 participants were analysed with SPSS 22.0. Simple linear regression and multiple regression analysis were used to examine the hypotheses. The results show that the independent variables (perceived organisational support and leader-member exchange) had a significant impact on the dependent variables (volunteer job satisfaction, affective commitment and intention to stay) in the community NPOs investigated. In addition, the fulfilment of most of the motives partially mediated the influence of the independent variables on the dependent variables. These results confirm previous findings and contribute new knowledge about the impact of workplace relationships on volunteers’ attitudes and behaviours, especially as they relate to the influence of motive fulfilment in the relationship between POS and LMX and the identified workplace outcomes in this study.