Cultural Imperatives of Prosocial Behaviour: A Redefinition of Volunteerism in Nigeria
Humanities and Social Sciences
Volume 3, Issue 5, September 2015, Pages: 230-233
Received: Aug. 19, 2015; Accepted: Oct. 30, 2015; Published: Nov. 17, 2015
Views 3668      Downloads 137
Chiedozie Okechukwu Okafor, Department of Psychology, Federal University, Ndufu-Alike, Ikwo, Ebonyi State, Nigeria
Article Tools
Follow on us
Volunteerism has been widely defined as a long-term, planned pro-social behavior that benefits strangers, and which occur within an organizational setting (e.g, Penner, 2002). This definition seems to divorce volunteering from by-stander intervention in an emergency situation, which does involve helping strangers. The present paper contends that this definition of volunteerism does not consider cultural imperatives. For example, the paper argues that the indigenous help practices attendant in a collectivist society such as Nigeria do not always locate strangers, and could fellow up help efforts from an emergency to a long-standing non-emergency end. The paper, therefore, posits that any meaningful research and discussion on volunteerism in Nigeria should give credence to cultural foundations of prosocial behaviour such as kinship and in-group empathy. This, hopefully, will improve the possibilities of crime control, terrorism reduction and poverty alleviation.
Volunteerism, Kinship, Empathy, Help, Prosocial Behaviour
To cite this article
Chiedozie Okechukwu Okafor, Cultural Imperatives of Prosocial Behaviour: A Redefinition of Volunteerism in Nigeria, Humanities and Social Sciences. Vol. 3, No. 5, 2015, pp. 230-233. doi: 10.11648/j.hss.20150305.20
Anheier, H. K., & Salamon, L. M. (2001). Volunteering in cross-national perspective: Initial comparisons. Civil Society working paper 10, London School of Economics and Political Science.
Anheier, H. K. (1987). Indigenous voluntary associations, non-profits and development in Africa. In W. Powell, The Non-profit Sector: A Research Handbook. New Haven: Yale University Press.
Chambré, S. M. (1984). Is volunteering a substitute for role loss in old age? An empirical test of activity theory. The Gerontologist, 24 (3), 292-298.
Chou, K. (1998). Effects of age, gender, and participation in volunteer activities on the altruistic behaviour of Chinese adolescents. The Journal of Genetic Psychology, 159, 195-201.
Eagly, A. H., & Crowley, M. (1986). Gender and helping behaviour: A meta-analytic view of the social psychological literature. Psychological Bulletin, 100, 283-308.
Home Office (2005), Together we can: a government action plan led by the Home Office, London: Home Office.
Home Office/Compact Working Group (2003). Volunteering Compact Code of Good Practice, London: Home Office.
Independent Sector (2002). Giving and volunteering in the United States. Washington DC: Author.
Latané, B., & Nida, S. (1981). Ten years of research on group size and helping. Psychological Bulletin, 89, 308-324.
Levine, R. V., Norenzayan, A., & Philbrick, K. (2001). Cross- cultural differences in helping strangers. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 32 (5), 543-560.
Lyons, M., Wijkstrom, P., & Clary, E. (1998), Comparative studies of volunteering: what is being studied. Voluntary Action, 1(1), 45-54.
Midlarsky, E. (1991). Helping as coping. Review of Personality and Social Psychology, 12, 238-264.
Okun, M. A., & Michel, J. (2006). Sense of community and being a volunteer among the young-old. Journal of Applied Gerontology, 25(2), 173-188
Olawoye, J. E., Omololu, F. O., Aderinto, Y., Adeyefa,I., Adeyemo, D., & Osotimehin, B. (2001). Social construction of manhood in Nigeria: Implication for male responsibility in reproductive health. Ibadan: Social Science Reproductive Health Research Network.
Omoto, A., & Snyder, M. (1995). Sustained helping without obligation: Motivation, longevity of service and perceived attitude change among AIDS volunteers. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 68, 671-687.
Omoto, A., & Snyder, M. (2002). Considerations of community: The context and process of volunteerism. American Behavioural Scientist, 45, 846-867.
Park, J. Z., & Smith, C. (2000). To whom much has been given: Religious capital and community voluntarism among churchgoing Protestants. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 39(3), 272-286.
Penner, L. A. (2002). The causes of sustained volunteerism: An interactionist perspective. Journal of Social Issues, 58 (3), 447-467.
Penner, L. A. (2004). Volunteerism and social problems: Making things better or worse? Journal of Social Issues, 60 (3), 645-666.
Penner, L. A., & Finkelstein, M. A. (1998). Dispositional and structural determinants of volunteerism. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 74, 525-537.
Penner, L. A., Midili, A. R., & Kegelmeyer, J. (1997). Beyond job attitudes: A personality and social psychology perspective on the causes of organizational citizenship behaviour. Human Performance, 10, 111-132.
Putnam, R. (2000). Bowling alone: The collapse and revival of American community. New York: Simon and Schuster.
Rochester, C. (2006). Making sense of volunteerism: A literature review. The Commission on the Future of Volunteerism. England: Volunteering England.
Sethi, S., Lepper, M., & Ross, L. (1999). Independence from whom? Interdependence with whom? Cultural perspectives on ingroups versus outgroups. In D. Miller and D. Prentice (Eds.), Cultural divides. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Triandis, H. (1995). Individualism and collectivism. Westview: Boulder, Co.
van Emmerick, H. (2005). Helping behaviours: Volunteerism and taking care of kin. Unpublised paper, Department of Sociology, Utrecht University, The Netherlands.
van Emmerick, H., Stone, T. H., & Jawahar, J. (2003). The relationship between altruism and helping behaviours: Some moderating effects of burnout. Proceedings of the 63rd Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management (Best Papers proceedings). Seattle.
van Til, J. (1985). Mixed motives: Residues of altruism in an age of narcissism. In Moore, L. F., (Ed.), Motivating volunteers: How the rewards of unpaid work can meet people’s needs. Vancouver, BC: Vancouver Volunteer Centre, pp. 243-261.
Wilson, J., & Musick, M. A. (1997b). Who Cares? Towards an Integrated Theory of Volunteer Work. American Sociological Review, 62(5), 694-713.
Wilson, J. (2000). Volunteering. Annual Review of Sociology, 26, 215-40.
Wilson, J., & Janoski, T. (1995). The contribution of religion to volunteer work. Sociology of Religion, 56(2), 137-153.
Wilson, J., & Musick, M. A. (1997a). Work and volunteering: The long arm of the job. Social Forces, 76, 251-272.
Science Publishing Group
1 Rockefeller Plaza,
10th and 11th Floors,
New York, NY 10020
Tel: (001)347-983-5186