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Type: Thesis
Title: An analysis of the interaction between professed values and humanitarian behaviour
Author: Lanfranchi, Franco
Issue Date: 2020
School/Discipline: School of Psychology
Abstract: Giving behaviour in its various forms has been widely investigated, mostly from the point of view of finding what motivates certain people to donate to certain organisations. However, in Australia, there have been few studies that have examined how the underlying personal values of an individual affect charitable behaviour. The overarching aim of this thesis was to explore this relationship, which required also achieving the preliminary aim of identifying, selecting and testing the applicability in the Australian environment of a strong theoretical framework for the classification and measurement of personal values. This thesis commences with a review of the two most prominent of these frameworks and a justification of the choice for the Schwartz Theory of Basic Values, which is well established worldwide but has not been as widely applied in Australia as in other countries, especially in Europe. To provide a context for the empirical work, the effectiveness of this framework in the Australian environment is investigated. The thesis then summarises the findings of two studies that analysed the data obtained by means of questionnaires that included instruments developed by Schwartz for the measurement of personal value preferences. These studies were aimed at investigating: a) how a progressive or conservative tendency, a philanthropic or charitable attitude, and religious belief affect the propensity to donate; b) whether donating to animal welfare causes is an expression of the same values that drive humanitarian donations. The first survey aimed at obtaining a sample (N = 1865) that could approximate a representative random sample of the Australian population or at least of the population of the State of South Australia. The method chosen was address based sampling and over 30,000 questionnaires were posted to randomly selected address clusters throughout the State. Within identified and addressed limitations, some generalisation of findings was possible. Findings indicated that progressive or conservative orientation has no significant effect, whereas the mode of contribution and religious belief were found to be significantly related to the choice of recipients selected for the donations. Personal values were found to be weaker predictors of charitable behaviour than self-reported income, education and religiosity. The second survey was an online survey conducted by means of a subscription software for collecting and analysing data. The analysis of the convenience sample of 780 South Australian residents obtained in this way confirmed and refined the findings of the first study and provided previously unavailable empirical evidence that the concern for animal welfare, the only non-humanitarian charitable purpose allowed by Australian law, is not compatible with the values expressed by donations to humanitarian causes. As a subsidiary finding it also provided evidence that, contrarily to previous literature, in Australia religiousness is significantly correlated with conservatism. Besides providing new information contributing to the understanding of specific aspects of the relationship between personal values and behaviour and indicating areas of interest for further studies, particularly as regards gender differences and the evolution of the attitude towards animal welfare, this thesis presents an opportunity to advance the discussion of the morality of the legislation that defines charitable purposes in Australia by assessing the degree of its alignment to the universal personal values expected to drive charitable behaviour.
Advisor: Delfabbro, Paul
King, Daniel
Dissertation Note: Thesis (Ph.D.) -- University of Adelaide, School of Psychology, 2020
Keywords: Charity
Personal values
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