The Logic of Membership of Sectoral Business Associations

By Bennett, Robert J. | Review of Social Economy, March 2000 | Go to article overview

The Logic of Membership of Sectoral Business Associations


Bennett, Robert J., Review of Social Economy


Abstract This paper assesses the logic of membership of sectoral business associations in Britain using evidence from a proportionate stratified random sample of associations. The British system gives no statuatory status to business associations. As a result the size and fragmentation of associations is similar to the US, membership of associations is interpreted in terms of the logic of specific business service demand and the logic of collective activities. Expectations from models of collective action, associability and involvement are used to interpret association membership. The paper argues that the normal distinction between associations as trade, professional or "peak" bodies is too simplistic in not properly differentiating the types of member. The paper employs instead a set of six categories dependent on the type of members: companies, owner-managers, the self-employed, and individuals, as well as bodies with mixed membership, and federations (which are associations of associations). Survey eviden ce demonstrates that member motives for joining, lapsing and constraining service development differ significantly between association types and tend most strongly to emphasise the logic of individual services as complements to the logic collective activity. Analysis of the rates of joining and lapsing membership show evidence of reluctance to join and high rates of lapsing.

Keywords: Collective services, business services, business representation, competitiveness, business associations

INTRODUCTION

Although sectoral business associations have been the subject of a considerable literature, interpretations of associability reflected in business motives to join, remain or lapse as members and the influence this has on an association have not been very fully addressed. In many ways this is surprising since, especially in a voluntary system, business member's motivation and their interpretation of associability underpins their logic of membership, which must be a key determinant of association success or failure. On that success and failure depend the ability of associations to contribute important self-regulating mechanisms that can improve the standards, competitiveness and dynamics of individual business sectors. This paper seeks to fill the gap in knowledge of member motivation by pooling information from a structured survey of associations. The paper first assesses the literature that has addressed the question of membership of associations, focusing attention on the two key aspects of the logic of serv ices and the logic of collective influence. This discussion focuses on motives for collective activities that relate to association development and the forces of exit, voice, loyalty, involvement and associability that can influence members. The discussion leads to a series of hypotheses which are assessed in the main body of the paper. The paper is written in the context of voluntary associations such as those in the US or Britain.

THE LOGIC OF MEMBERSHIP

Membership of voluntary business associations is a choice by firms or individuals. This is the key strength of business associations in a country like the US or Britain: associations exist because businesses want them to exist and are willing to support them financially and in other ways. In analysing the choices of membership a distinction can be drawn between the logic of services and the logic collective activity, such as representational influence (see e.g. Streeck and Schmitter 1985; Aldrich et al. 1990). The logic of services means that associations have to respond to member's individual and specific needs and demands. Such demand is individualised so that a greater proportion of income can be raised from specific fees for services. In many ways this can lead an association to resemble a business service company.

In contrast the logic of collective activity focuses the role of an association to act on behalf of all, or at least the majority, or its members' interests. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

The Logic of Membership of Sectoral Business Associations
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.