Doing syringe exchange: Organizational transformation and volunteer commitment

Margaret S. Kelley, Howard Lune, Sheigla Murphy

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The authors examine the organizational transformation of Prevention Point, the San Francisco-based syringe exchange program. Their purposes are to explore the processes of organizational change, focus on the impact of formalization on members and organizational goals, and contextualize these in light of belonging to an underground organization. They highlight the volunteers' motivation and commitment, and their responses to the organizational changes. Drawing on qualitative interviews with 56 service providers, conducted from 1993 to 1995, the authors document the changes in the organization and the members' perceptions of it as it movedfrom an illegal, deviant group to a socially sanctioned service organization. This transition is shown to have ultimately undermined much of the basis for volunteer commitment, reinforcing the shift in responsibility from the membership to a new management structure. These findings have implications for the larger problem of maintaining volunteer engagement in volunteer work.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)362-386
Number of pages25
JournalNonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Harm reduction
  • Illicit drug use
  • Quantitative and qualitative
  • Volunteerism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


Dive into the research topics of 'Doing syringe exchange: Organizational transformation and volunteer commitment'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this