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Factors affecting the value of professional association affiliation

Walston, Stephen L.; Khaliq, Amir A.

doi: 10.1097/HMR.0b013e31822aa40c

Background: The resource-based view of the firm suggests that organizations must obtain valuable resources from external sources to obtain lasting benefits. Professional associations today exist in every industry and offer resources to assist their affiliates’ organizations and individual members. Today, there are more than 23,000 national and 64,000 state, local, and regional professional associations that claim to significantly benefit their affiliates. The value of these benefits and what organizational and individual factors that may affect their value have not been explored.

Purpose: This article explores the influence of organizational and individual factors on the value of resources offered by a prominent health care professional association.

Methodology/Approach: Data from a national survey of hospital CEOs were combined with American Hospital Association data for descriptive statistics and regression analyses to examine the organizational and individual characteristics influencing the value of professional association affiliation.

Findings: Our research suggests that most hospital CEOs perceived value in the resources provided by their primary professional organization. In addition, both organizational and individual factors contributed to the perceived value of professional association affiliation. Significant organizational influences included hospital ownership and system membership, which were related to less importance and value from affiliation. Positive and significant individual characteristics included certification as an association fellow and CEOs who have a high value for coaching. Interestingly, men perceived less organizational value from affiliation and older CEOs saw less individual value.

Practical Implications: Executives considering affiliating with a professional association can better understand how existing affiliates perceive and value the associations’ benefits. In addition, executives and professional associations can be more informed how professional association affiliation is significantly influenced by organizational and individual characteristics. Individuals, organizations, and professional associations should be aware of the perceptions and differences among those who do and could avail themselves of professional association resources.

Stephen L. Walston, PhD, is Professor, Department of Health Administration and Policy, and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, College of Public Health, The University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Oklahoma City, OK. E-mail:

Amir A. Khaliq, PhD, is Associate Professor, Department of Health Administration and Policy, College of Public Health, The University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Oklahoma City, OK.

This research was supported by a contract from the Foundation of the American College of Healthcare Executives. The American College of Healthcare Executives is an international professional society of more than 30,000 health care executives who lead our nation’s hospitals, health care systems, and other health care organizations.

The views expressed here are solely those of the authors.

The authors have disclosed that they have no significant relationship with, or financial interest in, any commercial companies pertaining to this article.

© 2012 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.