Volunteering for a job : converting social capital into paid employment : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Philosophy in Sociology at Massey University
The study explores the extent to which the environment of voluntary associations promotes the development of social capital. Moreover, it asks about the extent to which an individual can convert the social capital they have developed in this environment into economic capital, via the labour market. Social capital is primarily concerned with the resources embedded in social relationships, and how individuals can access and use them. Qualitative and quantitative research methods were used to enquire into the experiences of volunteers affiliated to voluntary associations based in West Auckland. The findings indicate there is no simple causal relationship between an individual's voluntary activities, and the level and value of social capital they can accrue from them. Nevertheless, the findings do suggest that the social capital that is developed through voluntary activity can influence an individual's labour market outcomes. The research reported here indicates that labour market information is not equitably distributed through society. The study suggests that social policy can help bring this information to excluded groups. Targeted government support of the voluntary sector, aimed at providing opportunities for marginalised or minority groups to develop social capital, is one important option available to government to achieve this goal.