Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Liberal Studies (MALS)


Liberal Studies

First Advisor

David Howson

Second Advisor

Eunice Ferreira


Understanding the motivations behind volunteerism is a crucial part of building an arts organization. Engaging volunteers requires a particular management style in order to ensure the enlistment of the appropriate people to engage in activities best suited to their skill set. This approach is called the matching hypothesis, and it is defined as matching volunteers' responsibilities to their interests and motivations. Identifying the appropriate volunteers and matching them to their interests can help maintain engagement in the work required to build an organization. Using this approach, it is hypothesized that volunteers will be more likely to fulfill the tasks and responsibilities assigned to them. This paper will explore the matching hypothesis and its application within two theater companies: the Group Theater and the Steppenwolf Theatre Company. Additionally, this paper will explore the impact volunteers had on the professional success, financial growth, and overall longevity of the contrasting performing arts companies.