A Study of Motivational Aspects Initiating Volunteerism in Disaster Management in Germany

A Study of Motivational Aspects Initiating Volunteerism in Disaster Management in Germany

P. Holwitt S. Strohschneider R. Zinke S. Kaiser I. Kranert A. Linke M. Mähler 

Department of Intercultural Studies and Business Communications, Friedrich-Schiller University, Jena, Germany

30 September 2017
| Citation



Volunteer work is an important aspect that influences a society´s ability to cope with different kinds of security threats and disasters. However, the motivational and social sources that drive civil engagement in the field of disaster management are not understood very well. If societies want to preserve or increase their resilience and thus reduce their vulnerability to disasters, volunteerism is an important topic to look into. In order to foster voluntary engagement in disaster management, it is essential to both understand the motivational sources that drive volunteers and establish appropriate conditions for future voluntary engagement. In this article, motivations of volunteers in three regions of Germany are analysed using a theoretical model that builds on the works by psychologists Dörner and Bischof. The model considers volunteerism as a way of catering to three basic needs of human beings: the need for affiliation, the need for certainty and the need for control. This model is applied to data gathered from unstructured and semi-structured interviews with volunteers and professionals working in the field of disaster management in Germany.


disaster management, Germany, motives, training, volunteerism


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