This scoping paper intends to prompt a debate and does not profess to provide any firm conclusion. It discusses whether we are witnessing the commodification (Arai, 2004) of formal volunteering within 21st
century Britain. Given this, it questions if the shift compromises the normative parameters of how we define and understand formal volunteering. Namely, that it is freely undertaken, without pay and for the benefit of others (see for example Sheard, 1986; Smith, 1981; Cnaan et al., 1996; Handy et al., 2000; Snyder and Omoto, 2008). In addition it will explore whether ‘commandeering’ volunteering in this way might necessitate broadening the altruism/egoism spectrum of motivating factors to the point where altruism is allowed to
drop off the end. Thus calling for another ‘paradigm shift’ (Lyons et al., 1998; Rochester et al., 2010) in the way we perceive formal volunteering in 21st Century.
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