Paradoxes Within the Management of Volunteers

Anders la Cour*, Lesley Hustinx, Nina Eliasoph

*Corresponding author for this work

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While scholars of management have extensively discussed paradoxes, scholars of volunteer management have given them little systematic attention. This special issue brings together the field of paradox studies with the research field of volunteer management. While many studies highlight paradoxes between different “missions” and mandates within volunteer-involving organizations, this introduction suggests using a “dramaturgical” approach that highlights the interplay between different actors, audiences, instruments for communication and action, and the broader moral, institutional frameworks in which the organizations operate. We review the field of paradox studies in management, then connect it to volunteer management, and then suggest ways that the dramaturgical approaches might help systematize some of the paradoxes that scholars have found in organizations that use volunteers. Next, the introduction summarizes this issue’s articles. Finally, we suggest that paradoxes take a more prominent role in studies of volunteer management.
Original languageEnglish
JournalVOLUNTAS: International Journal of Voluntary and Nonprofit Organizations
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)442-451
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2023

Bibliographical note

Published online: 08 June 2023.


  • Paradox
  • Management
  • Volunteers and voluntary organizations

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