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The dilemma of judging unpaid workers

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Purpose ‐ This paper seeks to provide an insight into the recruitment and selection of volunteers in the heritage sector, drawing comparisons between paid and unpaid workers to assess the implications of the findings for volunteer management. Design/methodology/approach ‐ A multi-method research design was adopted involving qualitative interviews with managers and volunteers, in conjunction with a postal survey of volunteers across 12 study sites, which were all visitor attractions in the heritage sector. Findings ‐ The findings show that the effectiveness of the recruitment and selection process can be undermined by a lack of formality and supporting resources. This raises questions about the effectiveness of human resource management for volunteers, both specifically in the heritage sector and in the wider context of volunteer management. Research limitations/implications ‐ The research was of an exploratory nature and so further investigation is needed to consider the impact of these findings on the effectiveness of volunteer recruitment and selection across a range of sectors. Practical implications ‐ The research highlights the existing practices in place for volunteer management in the heritage sector so raising issues for managers regarding the challenge of achieving a balance between formality and informality of human resource management practices. Originality/value ‐ The research takes a micro-level approach to examining the recruitment and selection of volunteer workers. It provides a link in the literature between the management of volunteers and human resource management practices.

Keywords: Recruitment; Selection; United Kingdom

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/00483481011007878

Publication date: January 1, 2010

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