Member characteristics and volunteerism at soccer clubs
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‘Member characteristics and volunteerism at soccer clubs’ The thesis tried to explain the influence of the social composition of members on the amount of volunteers at soccer clubs by answering the following research question: “How can the social composition at Dutch soccer clubs explain the amount of volunteers?” The hypothesis was based on various social capital theories. Theory suggested that people will become a volunteer for a diverse number of reasons. This thesis looked to what extent the characteristics of the members at a soccer club are important in becoming a volunteer. According to the theory, people would become more active when they share the same characteristics as the group they are a part of. They would feel more at home in this group and, consequently, would be willing to become more active. Robert Putnam argued that people tend to ‘hunker down’ when they are in a group with people who are unlike themselves. They exclude themselves from active participation in society. This theory would suggest that the homogeneity of the members at a soccer club positively correlates with the amount of volunteers at a club. This homogeneity can be divided into two categories: status homophily and value homophily. The independent variables to determine the homogeneity at a soccer club were homogeneity in income, level of education and ethnic background. The dependent variable was amount of volunteers at a club. Data from three different sources (Central Bureau of Statistics, Royal Netherlands Football Association and the Sports supplier monitor) resulted in a population of 341 Dutch soccer clubs. The correlation between the individual characteristics and the amount of volunteers was tested by calculating a simple linear regression and a chi square test. Only a correlation was found between ethnic background and the amount of volunteers. There was a significant regression equation found with (F(1,339) =21.346, p<0.000 with a R² of .056. The homogeneity in ethnic background of the members explains 5.6% of the amount of volunteers at the club. No interaction effect was found between the three different variables, so it can be concluded that only ethnic background helps to explain the amount of volunteers. Following from these findings it was concluded that value homophily is more important than the status homophily in explaining volunteering and that people become more active when they are a member of a group with people of the same ethnic background, just as the ‘hunkering down’ theory suggests.