Volunteerism and value in hospitality organizations

Projekttitel Volunteerism and value in hospitality organizations
Projekttype Anvendt forskning og udvikling
Frascati Ja
Tema Turisme
Teaser This project seeks to uncover the connection between volunteers and the value that they create (in tourism).
Status Igangværende
- Akademi Erhvervsakademi Dania
- Kontaktperson Henrik Sølvbjerg Pahus
Nat./Int. Nationalt
Projektperiode 01. juli 2020 - 30. juni 2023
- Projektresumé


Before embarking on the project, a literature review was conducted. It disclosed that the amount of prevailing literature on the specific research topic is very scarce. Overall, we found that the bulk of research within the field of value and volunteerism concerned the economic value that volunteers contributed with.


Our focus however, is to examine the overall value that volunteers bring to

1) The local DMO’s and tourism operators,

2) the tourists that visit the destination, and

3) the volunteers themselves.


In close collaboration with one of the leading DMO’s in Denmark, Visit Aarhus, we will be interviewing respondents from the above-mentioned target groups. This will include both qualitative interviews and quantitative surveys in a mixed methods approach.

- Baggrund og formål

Based on the research previously conducted on volunteerism by Henrik Pahus (a three year research project with the Danish NGO “Muskelsvindfonden” ending Summer 2020), a number of exploratory meetings with Visit Aarhus was conducted in the Fall of 2019. Visit Aarhus is renowned for their work on creating “legacy” since being the host of the Cultural capital in 2017, and especially their work with volunteers has drawn attention from several European DMO’s. In that regard, they were the obvious partner to continue the research on volunteers previously conducted by the researcher.

Initially, several potential issues were discussed, however, based on the previously mentioned literature review, together with a strong desire from Visit Aarhus to explore this field further, the overall aim/purpose of the project was set in mutual agreement:


Clarify the value created by volunteers within hospitality organizations.


- Aktiviteter og handling

Fall 2020

  • Qualitative and quantitative interviews with the Rethinkers from Visit Aarhus
  • Analyzing interviews and survey

Spring 2021

  • Continue to analyze interviews and surveys from volunteers
  • Paper/poster for CHME
  • Article for journal
  • Presenting at other conference (TBA)

Summer/Fall 2021

  • Qualitative and quantitative interviews with cruise guests arriving in Aarhus and their perception of volunteers.
  • Analyzing interviews and survey

Spring 2022

  • Continue to analyze interviews and surveys from tourist
  • Paper/poster for CHME
  • Article for journal
  • Presenting at other conference (TBA)


Summer/Fall 2022

  • Qualitative interviews with companies in Aarhus that you the Rethinker Volunteers
  • Paper/poster for conference (TBA)

Spring 2023

  • Overall analysis of the findings
  • Paper/poster for CHME + other conference (TBA)
- Projektets Metode

The project is set to take course over a three-year period from the spring of 2020 to the spring of 2023. At different intervals, data will be gathered in a mixed methods approach from the three primary stakeholder groups: The volunteers themselves (the Re-thinkers), the organisations (Visit Aarhus and their partner companies) and the immediate receivers (cruise guests arriving in the port of Aarhus). After each of the intervals, the data will be analysed and presented to Visit Aarhus.


The purpose of the project is to measure the value of volunteerism – which essentially invites a quantitative approach with a focus on the monetary value that volunteerism creates such as proposed by Sajardo, Salamon and Orlowski – the assumption is that the experienced value of both the volunteers, the organisations and the cruise guests will be of a qualitative nature. Recent research suggests that what creates value for volunteers are more intrinsic factors such as the wish of belonging to a community, having a sense of purpose and the need to escape the humdrum of everyday life.[1] At the same time, quantitative data will be gathered to provide valuable insights into the measurable aspects of the work of the volunteers (e.g. about the frequency and duration of their volunteering).

[1] This refers to the ongoing research done by Henrik Pahus for “The Danish Fund of Muscular Dystrophy”. The Fund arranges major festivals in Denmark and thus employs several thousand volunteers. A paper on this research is set to be published in autumn 2020 in the peer reviewed Journal of Research in Hospitality Management.

- Projektets Forventede Resultater

It is our assumption that the research will show that volunteerism does in fact create value for both the organisations, the receivers of volunteerism and the volunteers themselves. However, we expect that the three groups may differ in the areas in which they experience value. It seems likely that the monetary element – which in the nature of things is of less significance to the volunteers themselves – is a considerable motivation for the organisations to use volunteers. At the same time, being able to make a difference and being part of a community seem to bring value to the volunteers; But do the guests or receivers of the acts of volunteerism experience this in a similar way?       

The outcomes of this project will be produced concurrent with conducting the research. We will publish papers and posters for conferences, articles for journals and reports for the company involved.

- Projektets Forventede Effekt

New knowledge on the value of volunteerism within the hospitality sector

- Studerende Erhvervsakademi Dania
  • - Bachelor in International Hospitality Management, Randers (2)
- Medarbejdere Erhvervsakademi Dania
Anne Bager
- Virksomhedsrepræsentanter
- Andre
Partnere Visit Aarhus
- Intern 100%
- Ekstern
- Resultatets formidling
- Resultaternes værdi
- Målgruppen
- Vidensprodukter Anden artikel