Discovering the motivations for joining and sustaining membership in a professional organization

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School of Business | Master's thesis
Degree programme
International Design Business Management
The union density in Western Countries has been declining for the past 20 years. While the factors that affect one’s likelihood of joining a union have been studied, the historical, societal, and cultural differences between industries and countries make comparison of global studies on the matter impossible. This thesis, commissioned by Myynnin ja markkinoinnin ammattilaiset MMA, a professional organization for sales and marketing professionals in Finland, explores the motivations for joining and sustaining membership in professional organizations. Midst the declining global union density rate, little research has been conducted in Finland, especially regarding the motivations and factors that drive engagement and retention in professional organizations. This study addresses this research gap and explores what motivates professionals to join and sustain membership in professional organizations today. Additionally, it examines how the varying motivations impact member experience, satisfaction, and membership retention. Overall, this thesis seeks to contribute to community design and management practices that can foster members’ varying motives and support the diverse needs of members. The study employs a qualitative research methodology through semi-structured interviews with young adult members of MMA. The findings of this study show that members are motivated by one or multiple of the distinctive motivation categories: instrumental, integrative, and ideological motivation. Instrumental motivations were the most dominant motivation category, reflecting the pursuit of risk mitigation and tangible benefits through the membership. Integrative motivations emphasizing alignment with career identity and networking were also common. They yielded the most prominent relation to positive outcomes, e.g., active relationships, positive perception, and a sense of belonging. Lastly, a novel but less common category, ideological motivation, emerged, shedding light on individuals seeking to contribute to union advocacy.
Thesis advisor
Koveshnikov, Alexei
motivation, implications of motivation, professional organization, union
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