Cristina Gibson Research on Corporate-Community Co-Development Featured in Forbes
Meaning and purpose are at the top of workers’ minds as the pandemic becomes endemic. According to a recent article in Forbes, corporate-sponsored volunteering programs aren’t helping with workers’ sense of purpose. There is little evidence available that volunteering programs create lasting change inside the communities being served and the true impact on the individual employee is in question too. These programs often don’t amount to more than a PR opportunity for the company.
However, there is a different type of volunteering that can have an impact. Forbes cites newly published research by Pepperdine Graziadio professor Cristina Gibson in the Academy of Management journal that details a new kind of volunteering initiative called corporate-community co-development. Gibson’s research studied corporate-community co-development programs that involved secondments (second assignments, which dispatch an employee from their regular organization) where employees lived and worked in at-risk communities for 6 weeks to 3 months. The research, which took place over three years, showed that corporate-community co-development had a bigger impact than traditional volunteering both for the employees and the communities they supported. Volunteers reported life-changing experiences, a transformation of their thinking and perspective, and increased employee loyalty, performance, and customer engagement.