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Member Engagement Strategies & Education

Having been a union president many years ago, Bill Cole understands the dynamics between leaders and members. Over the years he has listened to union leaders from around the world talk about their concerns (or perceptions) of decreasing member engagement. Leaders worry that members' participation and commitment to their unions has faded over the last two decades, and is a particular challenge given generational changes in the workplace. 


Having considered this for some time, Bill formalized his curiosity about engagement and is presently a doctoral student focusing on leader-follower dynamics. Given the voluntary nature of labour unions, his research sets aside the pre-occupation with leadership traits and characteristics and considers this important relationship from the follower/member view. His research addresses several questions, including: 


  • - What motivates a union member to make a commitment to her union beyond the minimal obligations to pay dues?"

  • - What is the affective pathway from an organization's present state to a desired state (and what is a reasonable desired state)?"

  • - Are there generational issues that leaders must account for, and if so, how do we define and nurture commitment and participation across multiple workplace generations?"

  • - What are the roles for followers in the leader-follower relationship - what do we all have to know about achieving increased commitment and participation? ​


Bill works with clients on the evolutionary process of engagement. A frequent speaker to union audiences across North America, he argues that an awareness of follower-leader dynamics is a significant component of any consideration of renewal and engagement.


Check our articles section for more on member engagement and education. 


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