How Does a Member’s Perception of Value Influence Their Decision to Join a Professional Organization?

A professional organization can increase their paying membership by providing items and activities of value to their members. The items and activities most desired from professional organizations include knowledge sharing, opportunities for collaboration, expanding professional networks, and the availability of collaboration spaces.

This research was conducted to address leadership concerns regarding managers’ effectiveness in leading a multicultural workforce. Essential leadership skills for frontline managers were explored via pilot study interviews and a follow-on survey. Six leadership skills were identified and prioritized that are currently informing the company’s new leadership development program initiative.

An entrepreneurial for-profit networking business group operates as a professional organization with selective membership and membership fees. These types of businesses expand their current business model by increasing their paying membership. The purpose of this study is to systematically gather and review evidence on prospective members’ perceived benefits of their membership in professional organizations and make recommendations to increase membership. An analysis was carried out using a systematic review to investigate how perceptions of rewards and benefits influenced the decision to join a professional organization.
The review was carried out through the lens of the social exchange theory, whereby the cost of membership in a professional organization is weighed against its benefit. When the benefit outweighs the cost, individuals will choose to engage in the social exchange, which in this case means choosing to join a professional organization. Three types of membership benefits emerged from the analysis: knowledge-based benefits, intangible benefits that are not knowledge-based, and tangible benefits. The benefits most desired were knowledge sharing, opportunities for collaboration, expanding professional networks, and the availability of collaboration spaces. The study also noted that there were factors that reduced the value of joining membership; including time spent participating in activities, lack of value to career, and perception of lack of relevance to their objectives. This study supports the notion that the strongest benefit that members get from their respective professional organizations is the opportunity to network with their peers.

Authors: Abidemi Fauziyyah Adebo-Adelaja, Foyeke Abimbola Daramola, Joeletta Patrick, Denise A Breckon


Cite as: Adebo-Adelaja, A.F., Daramola, F.A., Patrick, J. and Breckon, D.A. (2019). How does a member’s perception of value influence their decision to join a professional organization? Muma Business Review 3(3). 29-39.