Setting expectations during volunteer recruitment and the first day experience: A preregistered experimental test of the met expectations hypothesis

Patrick D. Dunlop*, Djurre Holtrop, Darja Kragt, Marylène Gagné, Hawa Muhammad Farid, Aleksandra Luksyte

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
126 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

In a preregistered experimental study that draws from the met expectations hypothesis, we examined how volunteer recruitment messaging can shape expectations of new volunteers prior to their first day, and whether meeting or failing to meet expectations on the first day would affect satisfaction. By experimentally manipulating a recruitment poster, we set either a transactional (i.e., by volunteering, one can learn new skills) or a relational expectation (i.e., one can work in a team). Participants then viewed an experimentally determined vignette that depicted their first day as a volunteer as either being rich in, or bereft of, experiences of teamwork and learning new skills (crossed). We found that recruitment messaging strongly impacted the participants’ expectations of the volunteering experience prior to their first day. Neither meeting expectations regarding teamwork nor learning new skills played a statistically significant causal role in determining satisfaction. By contrast, richer experiences notwithstanding expectations, and especially those pertaining to learning new skills, were more important determinants of satisfaction. Polynomial regression analyses supported the experimental results, namely that experiences far more strongly determined satisfaction than did expectations. We conclude that providing richer experiences to volunteers is more important than expectation management for volunteer satisfaction.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)842-853
JournalEuropean Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology
Volume31
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Keywords

  • ATTITUDES
  • ATTRACTIVENESS
  • BEHAVIORS
  • MOTIVATIONS
  • Met expectations
  • PSYCHOLOGICAL CONTRACTS
  • REALISTIC JOB PREVIEWS
  • RESPECT
  • TURNOVER
  • VIOLATIONS
  • WORK
  • experiment
  • preregistered
  • recruitment
  • volunteering

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