Title: Practical implications of understanding the influence of motivations on commitment to voluntary urban conservation stewardship
Author: Asah, Stanley T.; Blahna, Dale J.;
Source: Conservation Biology
Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
Description: Although the word commitment is prevalent in conservation biology literature and despite the importance of people’s commitment to the success of conservation initiatives, commitment as a psychological phenomenon and its operation in specific conservation behaviors remains unexplored. Despite increasing calls for conservation psychology to play a greater role in meeting conservation goals, applications of the psychological sciences to specific conservation behaviors, illustrating their utility to conservation practice, are rare. We examined conservation volunteers’ motivations and commitment to urban conservation volunteering. We interviewed key informant volunteers and used interview findings to develop psychometric scales that we used to assess motivations and commitment to volunteer.We surveyed 322 urban conservation volunteers and used factor analysis to reveal how volunteers structure their motivations and commitment to volunteer for urban conservation activities. Six categories of motivations and 2 categories of commitment emerged from factor analysis. Volunteers were motivated by desires to help the environment, defend and enhance the ego, career and learning opportunities, escape and exercise, social interactions, and community building. Two forms of commitment, affective and normative commitment, psychologically bind people to urban conservation volunteerism. We used linear-regression models to examine how these categories of motivations influence volunteers’ commitment to conservation volunteerism. Volunteers’ tendency to continue to volunteer for urban conservation, even in the face of fluctuating counter urges, was motivated by personal, social, and community functions more than environmental motivations. The environment, otherwise marginally important, was a significantmotivator of volunteers’ commitment only when volunteeringmet volunteers’ personal, social, and community-building goals. Attention to these personal, social, and community-building motivations may help enhance volunteers’ commitment to conservation stewardship and address the pressing challenge of retaining urban conservation volunteers.
Keywords: conservation psychology, homophilia, stewardship motivations, volunteer retention
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Asah, Stanley T.; Blahna, Dale J. 2013. Practical implications of understanding the influence of motivations on commitment to voluntary urban conservation stewardship. Conservation Biology. 27(4): 866-875.
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