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Managing memberships: participation and inclusion in a political party setting.

Granik, Susan Diana (2003) Managing memberships: participation and inclusion in a political party setting. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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This thesis explores whether the experience of political party membership can be enhanced for individual members whilst, at the same time, parties can increase membership productivity. This exploration is conducted via a central hypothesis: "Satisfaction with the experience of membership is a stronger predictor of commitment to a political party than partisanship." An interdisciplinary approach drawing on marketing, nonprofit studies, organizational behaviour and political science is used to identify appropriate analytical frameworks for testing this hypothesis. A questionnaire survey of 1,849 members of a political party, Plaid Cymru The Party of Wales, indicated that, in terms of behavioural commitment, one partisanship variable - values motivations - predicted whether members took part in any one activity. But two satisfaction variables - socialization and job satisfaction - predicted the numbers and types of activities in which members participated. Job satisfaction was also found to predict the making of donations. In respect of attitudinal commitment, more relationships were observed with partisanship variables than with satisfaction variables. The experience of membership was found to differ between demographic groups of members. Linguistic and membership density groups showed differing levels of overall satisfaction, gender groups showed differing levels of participation. The less affluent and less well-educated members of Plaid Cymru benefited disproportionately more from their membership than other groups; whilst middle-aged, affluent members contributed more to the party than they appeared to receive. The appropriateness of using communications tools for membership management is discussed. Specific communications strategies to aid recruitment, socialize members, raise political efficacy levels, and generate increased revenues are described. It is argued that these communications strategies will simultaneously deliver the benefits that members want and increase their propensity to participate. The actions that political parties can take towards improving the experience of membership and the potential management implications of these actions are described.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Political Science, General
Sets: Collections > ProQuest Etheses

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