This article follows Knoke in exploring how public incentives offered by professional associations (such as lobbying on behalf of collective interests) compete with private incentives (such as member networking opportunity) in promoting monetary gifts, voluntary coproduction of organizational outcomes, and commitment to the association. Olson's contention that public goods do not motivate civic engagement has fostered several decades of research geared toward establishing the role of such goods in associational outcomes. Based on membership surveys of three engineering associations and two health care associations, the study concludes that private incentives are not universal motivators, while public incentives show some evidence of motivating engagement. Unexpected differences between the two fields of professional association are striking, prompting suggestions that current practitioners and future research give attention to field differences and resist overgeneralization regarding engagement motivations, outcomes, and commitment across professional fields.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Social Sciences (miscellaneous)