Researchers found that volunteering had negative and positive implications for volunteers’ reputations among colleagues, depending on why people volunteered. The researchers used “credits” to reflect positive impressions of volunteering and “stigmas” to reflect negative impressions.

“If someone volunteered solely to manage their reputation and to make a good impression at work, that person did not receive credits and were instead stigmatized,” said Jessica B. Rodell of the University of Georgia. “But if they volunteered because they are passionate about a cause and intrinsically motivated to help others, they received credits from their coworkers and bosses.”

Rodell, who coauthored the article with John W. Lynch of the University of Illinois at Chicago, said the more credits an employee had for volunteering, the greater the chance the employee would be promoted and receive a pay increase.

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