Attention or Appreciation? The Impact of Feedback on Online Volunteering

Date
2020-01-07
Authors
Tan, Jane
Jin, Fujie
Dennis, Alan
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We examine how different types of feedback influence online volunteer contributions in the context of online consultations for college entrance applications, which requires the volunteer counselor and the person receiving help (the counselee) to be online at the same time. We investigate the impact of two types of feedback on volunteers’ participation: 1) appreciation, as reflected in the number of positive ratings received by a counselor from counselees; and 2) attention, as reflected in the readership of a counselor’s profile page. We find that appreciation encourages the volunteer to engage in more helping behavior, likely because it can activate the volunteer’s altruistic motivation. In contrast, attention discourages volunteers to offer more help, possibly because they feel they have accomplished enough or because they feel passed over when they receive a lot of attention but few requests for consultations. The findings suggest that platform designers should encourage appreciation from those helped and provide more nuanced feedback about attention.
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Strategy, Information, Technology, Economics and Society (SITES), online volunteerism, reputation system, voluntary contribution
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10 pages
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Proceedings of the 53rd Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences
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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International
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