Typologies of Associations and Volunteering

  • David H. Smith
  • Robert A. Stebbins
  • Jurgen Grotz
  • Pradeep Kumar
  • Janice L. H. Nga
  • Stijn Van Puyvelde


This chapter reviews prior research and theory on both purposive-activity and analytical-theoretical typologies of associations and volunteering, with some attention to related typologies of nonprofit agencies and of nonprofit organizations (NPOs) generally. After sketching the history of such typologies, Smith presents several improved purposive-activity and analytical-theoretical typologies, including a Tenfold Purposive Typology of associations, a Membership Typology of associations, an Analytical Typology of associations, and a Territorial Scope Typology of associations. Also presented is a new, Smith Analytical Typology of Volunteering and a Typology of Volunteer Activities, from Rochester et al. (2010). Some examples of special typologies used in other nations are given. Usable knowledge, future trends, and needed research are also discussed. An extensive set of references is provided.

Typologies (sets of types) are an important part of theorizing in all the sciences, and in scholarship more generally (Rich 1992), although “existing typologies of organizations are typically limited.”


Civil Society American Sociological Review Voluntary Organization Nongovernmental Organization Voluntary Association 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • David H. Smith
    • 1
  • Robert A. Stebbins
    • 2
  • Jurgen Grotz
    • 3
  • Pradeep Kumar
    • 4
  • Janice L. H. Nga
    • 5
  • Stijn Van Puyvelde
    • 6
  1. 1.USA
  2. 2.USA
  3. 3.Germany
  4. 4.India
  5. 5.Malaysia
  6. 6.Belgium

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