Facets or Fragments: The Modularization of How We Associate Professionally
We are in the midst of a reformation of the professional association. There is no longer one sole authority on our profession and smaller groups are proliferating everywhere. This trend has benefits and challenges. Feel free to give your input to this timely article.


The traditional role of professional associations has been changing from the ground up and each of us can find both good and bad in this ongoing revolution. While membership numbers in STC are comparable with the decline in many major professional associations, the number of professionals that are freely associating, seems to be going up. There seems to be a number of groups that meet to provide the type of support and feedback that traditional professional associations did in a previous generation of knowledge workers, and these groups are proliferating. Today, thanks to the Web, and to growing time fragmentation and flexibility, and to specializations along with workplace transformations, professionals are finding new ways to meet and network. And each new group that forms is more local and more focused than previous traditional associations. It is almost as the groups we join are becoming more modular — more object(ive) oriented. What we are seeing is a modularization of the professional association activity.

While traditional prof. assoc. can't keep up with such rapid formation of new groups or the changing and fragmenting of disciplines, these new groups are not the complete answer. These new groups face uphill challenges including adminstrative overhead, which the prof. assoc. do well because they are already established and large enough. While part of the answer is that the new groups are using the Web more intelligently to communicate and to perform some administrative automation, the complete answer is allowing the prof. assoc. to be the vehicle (or umbrella) for federation of diverse smaller groups (like SIGs). Allowing membership across these groups, where expense or commitment is involved, would be a great incentive to joining a federation.

Using the Web to Find New Communities

We are using the Web to find virtual communities - fellow professionals who are producing Webinars or who correspond in online forums.

Time Fragmentation and Flexibility

Our work time is fragmenting - with multiple projects with different or overlapping deadlines. We work when we have to, but that also means that time-off can be more flexible. We might work forty or fifty or even sixty hours a week, but we can take off a few hours in the afternoon to see something related to our family.

Specializations and Workplace Transformations

Often we are doing more than traditional specialized (silo-ed) jobs — we must perform several persons' tasks.

New Ways to Meet and Network.

Beyond the Web, we are finding new ways to meet real people outside of the traditional meetings of the professional association.


© 2006 by Bill Albing
Copyright holder is licensing this under the Creative Commons License, Attribution 2.5.

Bill can be reached at bill.albing@keycontent.org. End of article.


Contributors to this page: Bill Albing and Chief Editor .
Page last modified on Sunday, October 07, 2007 04:26:05 pm EDT by Bill Albing.

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