Why People Join Anything

Why do people join so many groups of seemingly endless kinds? Why do people join anything? This was a question I asked myself as a young man of about twenty-five not long after I was elected president of a local organization that was part of a regional organization that was part of a national organization that was part of an international organization. The question arose because I soon noticed what all veteran association leaders know: that only about three percent of members are eager to do more than show up for a meeting, eat a meal, and listen to a speaker. 

That was long before I developed Noetitek™, which supplies keys to gaining a better understanding of anything. In addressing the above enigma, the best key to begin with is the Triad. In Noetitek™ the concept underlying the reasons why people join anything is essentially triadic. The Triad’s natural function and purpose is interaction—the eternal triad is ever-interactive, and the first insight into this overall enigma is that there are twelve fundamental explanations for why people join together with others. Most experts point to four or five relatively obvious ones. I will share six of the twelve at this time: 

  1. Affinity/companionship
  2. Achievement of common vision and values
  3. Control/power over others and over issues within and/or outside the organization
  4. Ego gratification/stature that comes with affiliation
  5. Security/protection
  6. Opportunity to pursue a secret agenda or agendas (a less obvious motive than the other five above) 

Some reasons people join together can be identified by studying the nature of past and present interactions between the typical member and the group as a whole as well as interactions among individual members. However, some kinds of interaction are not discoverable in a given organization through ordinary observations because they are not occurring at all, or the occurrence is highly infrequent or hidden. Noetitek™’s meta-tools allowed me to perceive the missing ingredients of organizational interactions as well as solve a wide range of other organization-related mysteries. 

The perception of such missing ingredients became useful to me in investigating certain organizations that have been identified with various famous historical figures. Many researchers err tragically in their theories when, for example, they find solid evidence that a certain famous man was member of a Masonic Lodge. They quickly label him and make all sorts of assumptions based on that affiliation. But unless some verifiable journal of that man’s intentions, decision-making, and actions exists that reveals details about his affiliation, the conclusions that seem so certain are usually just speculations. 

To cite an example of the sixth reason listed above, I recall one member of an organization I headed as having a reason for joining that was clearly different from any other member’s. He would arrive at the meeting place, often a hotel, and immediately go the bar for a drink. He would then enter the dining room and sample the meal. In a few minutes he would excuse himself to make a telephone call to his wife. Then he never returned. After observing this pattern of behavior for almost two years, I learned that he was using the evenings our group met as a cover for trysts with numerous women. Although he was an accomplished executive with knowledge and leadership skills to share, he never contributed anything to the group beyond the annual membership fee.

Organizations would attract many more members—and a greater percentage of contributing members, and thereby have the opportunity to achieve far more—if they knew the full set of explanations for why people join anything and then worked with that knowledge by using the tools made available through use of the Noetitek™ system.


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