Human values and volunteering: A study on elderly people

Antonio Ariza-Montes, Pilar Tirado-Valencia, Vicente Fernández-Rodríguez


Purpose: This research goes in depth in the human values profile that influences elderly to volunteer. In exploring possible relationships between values and volunteering, we adopt the analysis perspective of the Theory of Basic Human Values framework developed by Schwartz (1992).

Design/methodology/approach: Based on an initial exploratory analysis, the study presents a logistic regression model that shows the extent to which an individual’s personal values explain his/her volunteer behaviour on elderly people.

Findings: The results confirm that a retiree’s engagement or lack of engagement in volunteer activities may be satisfactorily explained by the set of human values. The results show that retired volunteers experience a stronger sense of self-transcendence and predisposition towards change, and higher aversion to self-enhancement and conservation.

Practical implications: To increase the commitment and motivation of retired elder volunteers and to thus firmly confront challenges that threaten the non-profit sector, human resource professionals of non-profit organizations must ensure consistency between individual values and the nature of activities that volunteers perform, increasing such way those people’s commitment.

Originality/value: Despite the abundant studies that have related volunteering by elders to physical and socio-emotional wellbeing and to seniors’ motivations while performing volunteer work, fewer studies have focused on personal values that prompt such individuals to participate in altruistic efforts.


volunteering, human values, elderly, non-profit sector

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Licencia de Creative Commons 

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

Intangible Capital, 2004-2024

Online ISSN: 1697-9818; Print ISSN: 2014-3214; DL: B-33375-2004

Publisher: OmniaScience