Small business top decision makers' involvement in business associations: A tale of two theories
Individuals join associations with the intention of making the best use of all the groups can offer. In business associations, members are usually top managers or owners of businesses. Business associations, formal arrangements between businesses, are widely accepted as important to business success; however little research has been conducted on how to improve members' involvement in such associations. The purpose of this study is to examine factors related to members' involvement in business associations. As two distinct approaches of social capital, the rational choice and embeddedness perspectives provide different explanations.
This study describes both theories, discusses their similarities and differences, and applies them to the topic of involvement in business associations. Using data from a sample of 1,122 members of 29 industry and community business associations, I found that members' involvement is associated with relationships, perceived benefits, and years of membership. Of particular interest may be the role of relationships which appears the most powerful motivations for involvement in business associations. In terms of years of membership, this study supports the embeddedness perspective that the longer a business top decision maker has been a member of the association, the greater his or her involvement will be.