Title page for ETD etd-04232012-113036

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Marks, Kristin Nicole
Author's Email Address knmarks11@gmail.com
URN etd-04232012-113036
Title Volunteer based organizations: Bridging the gap between political efficacy and civic engagement
Degree Master of Mass Communication (M.M.C.)
Department Mass Communication
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Reynolds, Amy Committee Chair
Lundy, Lisa Committee Member
Sanders, Meghan Committee Member
  • communication methods
  • social media
  • organizational theory
  • political efficacy
  • civic engagement
  • volunteer-based organization
  • non-profit
Date of Defense 2012-04-17
Availability unrestricted
With the declining participation in civic engagement behaviors such as voting, people are turning to other means to demonstrate civic participation. This study examined the role of volunteering as a means to establish civic engagement. Because of this civic participation behavioral shift, the relationship between civic engagement and the communication tactics used by volunteer based organizations was investigated.

This study investigated the relationship between civic engagement and political efficacy. Additionally, this study examined the interplay between organizational characteristics (trust, control mutuality, exchange relationship, and commitment) and civic engagement. Lastly, perceptions of new and traditional methods of communications to encourage civic engagement and build trust of volunteer based organizations were explored.

To address these relationships, this study used on online survey with 245 adults and the data were analyzed using a linear regression analysis and SPSS Textual Analysis for Surveys. This study used convenience and snowball sampling. This survey used various civic engagement scales and James Grunig’s PR Measurement Scale for organizational factors. Findings show higher levels of participation of political interest and trust lead to higher levels of political efficacy. Additionally, stronger control mutuality beliefs of an organization lead to higher levels of civic engagement. Participants reported email and direct mail to be the methods of communication they are most familiar with from their volunteer based organizations that encourage engagement. Furthermore, ease and access to information are crucial for volunteers regarding engagement and trust.

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