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Looking through the kaleidoscope: perspectives on the lived experiences of sport event volunteering.

Gellweiler, S. M. S., 2011. Looking through the kaleidoscope: perspectives on the lived experiences of sport event volunteering. Doctoral Thesis (Doctoral). Bournemouth University.

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The staging of many sport events ranging from small to mega-events, increasingly rely on the availability of a workforce of unpaid helpers. Whilst much research has been carried out in the past regarding the reason why people decide to volunteer at sport events, little is known about how this type of volunteering is experienced by the individual. Adopting an experiential focus, this study contributes to the existing body of knowledge and enhances the understanding of this particular form of volunteering by exploring the question ―What it is like to be a sport event volunteer?‖ Using different strands of the concept and theory of role to serve as parameters for this study, the lived experiences of volunteers who assisted at the World Firefighters Games 2008 are analysed and discussed. The research approach that was adopted for this study draws from the work of Hans-Georg Gadamer in form of hermeneutic phenomenology which is an interpretative approach towards collecting and analysing data about a specific phenomenon. Incorporating the hermeneutic circle that advocates the idea that understanding of a phenomenon is co-created by both the researcher and the research participants, hermeneutic phenomenology is concerned with exploring rather than merely describing contextual aspects and structures of lived experiences. A total of eighteen semi-structured interviews involving volunteers who helped with the World Firefighters Games 2008 in Liverpool, were conducted. The interviews were audio-recorded and transcribed verbatim. Using the approach of Van Manen towards analysing the collected data, a number of themes and subthemes emerged which are presented in the thesis in manner that reflects the nature of the hermeneutic circle. Besides providing a working definition of the term ―sport event volunteering‖, the findings of the study critically evaluate the meaning that the volunteers attach to the role and how they make sense of their role as helpers involved in staging large sporting events. The interpretation of the collected data suggests that the enactment of the volunteer role is informed by individuals expectations and needs, e.g. with regards to role allocation, trust, recognition and reciprocity, and the experience of anti-climax and loss after their volunteer engagement has come to an end. Furthermore, the critical synthesis of how the individual manages his/her volunteer role suggests that sport event volunteers can be understood as ―bricoleurs‖ who craft rather than merely take and perform this particular role. Beside contributing to existing research on sport event volunteering with these findings and by identifying further research avenues relating to sport event volunteering that can be explored in future, the findings of these studies might inform the work of practitioners in the respective research fields.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Additional Information:If you feel that this work infringes your copyright please contact the BURO Manager.
Group:Bournemouth University Business School
ID Code:18838
Deposited On:10 Nov 2011 13:53
Last Modified:09 Aug 2022 16:03


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