Is Frequent Service-Learning a Too-Much-of-a-Good-Thing Effect?


In this study, we investigate the impact of frequent service learning on the emotional, personal development, and leadership characteristics of business students at a Catholic university in the United States. We examine the aforementioned impact of frequent service learning through a novel panel data set provided by the University’s Institute for Leadership and Service, ranging from the years 2008 through 2015. Specifically, we conduct an empirical analysis across the emotional, personal development, and leadership dimensions, and examine the too-much-of-a-good-thing effect of Pierce and Aguinis in relation to service learning. Our results suggest that business students experience statistically significant increases in several emotional, personal development, and leadership dimensions as the number of service learning experiences increases. We provide mixed evidence of the TMGT effect when aggregating the emotion and personal development dimensions against the number of service-learning experiences via examination of cross-dimensional averages. Our study yields implications for the optimal number of service learning projects for business schools.

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