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The Influence of Culture on Employee Volunteering: A comparison of employee volunteering at IBM in Sweden and the U.S.
KTH, School of Industrial Engineering and Management (ITM), Production Engineering.
2012 (English)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [sv]

Volontärarbete bland anställda är en del av många företags arbete med samhällsansvar. Volontärarbete innebär ofta att anställda använder sina kunskaper och erfarenheter för att hjälpa ideella organisationer och skolor med ledning och utveckling. En ökning av detta fenomen har observerats i världen överlag. Denna studie är ett bidrag till förståelsen för hur kultur påverkar omfattningen av volontärarbete och den belyser speciellt hur inställningen till volontärskap skiljer sig mellan Sverige och USA. Studien har utförts med IT- och konsultföretaget IBM som utgångspunkt. Den främsta insikten från denna studie är att USA:s utpräglade kultur av volontärskap avspeglar sig på amerikanska företag och bidrar till fördelar både för dem och för det amerikanska samhället. Det svenska engagemanget i volontärarbete är mycket mindre än det amerikanska. En slutsats är att kulturskillnader mellan Sverige och USA bidrar till en större omfattning av volontärarbete i USA än i Sverige och att Sverige kan vinna på att använda USA som en modell inom detta område.

Abstract [en]

Volunteering has emerged as part of many corporations’ fundamental activities and is no longer considered only an altruistic action but also important for business. The kind of volunteering that is most important is skill-based volunteering, which involves that the volunteers use their skills to help less competent organizations. This study aims at discovering if national culture affects the view of employee volunteering. In order to perform this study, the large and globally integrated company IBM has been chosen, and employee volunteering activity has been compared between the American parent organization and the Swedish subsidiary. Employees at IBM records their volunteering hours in an online resource called On Demand Community. Numbers from these records have been compared to find differences in quantity of volunteering between Sweden and the USA. The major finding is that employee volunteering is a much bigger phenomenon in the USA than it is in Sweden. Volunteering is on average 260 percent more common at IBM in the USA than it is in Sweden. Interviews with corporate managers in each location also confirm this relationship. The USA has a stronger tradition of volunteering than Sweden has. Possible explanations are that the governmental incorporation of voluntary organizations is bigger in Sweden, while volunteering culture to a greater extent is imposed by tradition and religion in the USA. The findings of this study indicate that culture plays a big part in the view of volunteering and that the effort to implement volunteering therefore must vary between countries. According to other research, employee volunteering is good for business and this implies that Sweden should use the USA as a model for volunteering management.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. , 20 p.
Series
Examensarbete inom teknik och management, grundnivå, 162
National Category
Engineering and Technology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-101775OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-101775DiVA: diva2:549275
Uppsok
Technology
Examiners
Available from: 2012-09-26 Created: 2012-09-04 Last updated: 2012-09-26Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
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