Omid Sabbaghi , Gerald F. Cavanagh, S.J. , J. Timothy Hipskind, S.J.
IS EXCESSIVE SERVICE-LEARNING A TOO-MUCH-OF-A-GOOD-THING EFFECT?
Abstract: In this study, we investigate the impact of frequent service learning on the emotional, personal development, and leadership characteristics of business students enrolled at a Catholic university rooted in the Jesuit and Mercy traditions. We examine the aforementioned impact of frequent service learning through a unique 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 determine whether inflection points exist as the incidence of realized service learning experiences increases. In addition, we reconcile our empirical findings with the too-much-of-a-good-thing (TMGT) effect proposed in Pierce and Aguinis (2013). 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. However, we also find evidence of curvilinearity when aggregating the emotion and personal development dimensions against the number of service-learning experiences via close examination of cross-dimensional averages. Our study yields implications for the optimal number of service learning projects for business schools.