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By Roger Sullivan


Since its founding in 1963 (with the merger of AIEE and IRE) to 2002, the IEEE has grown from 154,509 members to 382,483 members, an increase of almost 150%. Should we be ecstatic? No, we should not. We are losing our market share. A few years prior to the merger the market share of electrical engineers, who belonged to the either AIEE or IRE was 62%. Shortly after the merger the market share fell to 51%. Subsequently, the market share has decreased to 37 % by 1997. In 2002 IEEE estimated that its market share of the prospective membership had dropped to about 15%. Thus, while our membership grew by about two and a half times 150 % in the last 40 years, our market potential expanded almost eight and a half times Of course, the prospective membership population has also increased in the past twenty years with the growth of the information technology sector. So while our membership is growing, we are falling far behind our potential for growth. Why? Sociologist David Putnam in his book, Bowling Alone (Simon & Schuster, 2000), has noted that membership rates in professional associations doubled between 1945 and 1965, but then the membership boom slowed. He offers several reasons for this decline, and assigns a weighing factor for these reasons

Year: 2011
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