Turning a Profit through Professional Membership

Denise A Breckon, Abidemi Fauziyyah Adebo-Adelaja, Foyeke Abimbola Daramola, Joeletta Patrick
Muma Business Review  •  Volume 3  •  2019  •  pp. 029-039
Next Horizons is an entrepreneurial for-profit networking business group. The company operates similar to a professional organization with selective membership and membership fees. Next Horizons aims to expand its current business model by increasing its paying membership. The purpose of this case study is to systematically gather and review evidence on 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 is choosing to join the professional organization. Three types of membership benefits emerged: knowledge-based, intangible, and tangible benefits. The values most desired were an increase in knowledge, opportunities for collaboration, expanding a professional network, and availability of administrative space from which to collaborate. The study also noted the deterrents from joining membership; including time to participate, lack of value to career, and perception of relevance to their objectives. This case study supports the notion that the strongest benefit that members get from their respective professional organizations is the opportunity to network with their peers.
Professional association, professional organization, membership, social exchange theory, systematic review, rapid evidence assessment, rapid evidence assessment
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