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Do professionals take over? Professionalisation and membership influence in civil society organisations

Journal Contribution - Journal Article

While many scholars have postulated the decline of membership influence as an important consequence of the professionalisation of civil society organisations (CSOs), other analysts have argued that traditional membership-driven CSOs are resilient and that hiring professionals does not necessarily diminish membership influence. This study sheds light on this issue by analysing membership influence in a representative sample of approximately 2000 CSOs from five European countries and the European level. As members generally have a strong influence on CSOs' policy positions, our analysis demonstrates that the pessimistic tone in much contemporary scholarly work is largely unwarranted. On the contrary, hiring professionals does not invariably decrease membership influence and can, when members are closely engaged in advocacy work, even facilitate it.
Journal: Voluntas : International Journal of Voluntary and Nonprofit Organizations
ISSN: 0957-8765
Volume: 99
Pages: 1 - 13
Publication year:2020