Is Prosocial Motivation Enough? Mission Drift of Employees in Chinese Nonprofits

Zeling WU, Yukun FENG, Iris D. ZHANG, Na NI

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review


Mission drift is a common phenomenon in non-profits. However, related studies on employees remain scant. In this study, we combine mission drift and employees' turnover intention literature, and investigate mission drift at employee level based on interviews in the context of six nonprofits in China. The results show that: (1) employees who choose to work in nonprofits have a strong sense of prosocial mission; (2) employees believe that organizations have some defects, which are inconsistent with their own image of prosocial mission; (3) employees’mission drift exists in nonprofits, which may lead to their high turnover intention. Taken together, we believe mission drift deserves our future research attention.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)167-174
Number of pages8
JournalAdvances in Education, Humanities and Social Science Research
Issue number1
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 9 May 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • employees
  • mission drift
  • nonprofits
  • content analysis
  • China


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