Posted Jul 18, 2022, 11:57 AM
Medef, CPME and U2P… These organizations are the main voices of companies in the public debate. According to the latest study on the subject of the Ministry of Labor, which dates from 2015, 20% of private companies are affiliated with at least one of them, the proportion rising to 30% by integrating the UDES for the social economy. and solidarity and the FNSEA for agriculture. However, this is only part of the nebula of employers. 14% of business leaders say they participate in clubs, associations or think tanks.
“The supply of employer membership appears to be particularly dense, as there are so many employers’ collectives, with varied membership costs and heterogeneous objectives”, underlines sociologist Sophie Louey in a study just published by the Center d’études de Employment and Labor (CEET). But beyond the concrete, legal or other services that can be rendered by an organization, the researcher wonders what can motivate these bosses to “devote money, time and energy” to one or more groups, institutional or not.
She drew from her ethnographic survey the observation of the existence of five motivations that run through the entire business world. There is of course the commitment on behalf of his peers via employer mandates. It only comes after four to five years of membership on average and is more often “proposed” than “won” by the leader, “according to the accounts of respondents”. The symbolic value of these representative functions is important for many leaders.
“Doing business, networking” is another reason often identified for joining an employers’ movement. “Getting involved in a local employer’s space allows a business leader to enter into contact with potential customers, partners or even suppliers”, sums up Sophie Louey. The objective is displayed by certain clubs but other collectives “do not have this primary objective, but are nevertheless invested by bosses in this direction”, specifies the sociologist. “During the observations, on numerous occasions, the study points out, leaders use the following formula to describe the membership/contribution ratio: you have to know how to lose to win”. Clearly, it takes several years before the money from the contributions becomes profitable.
“Only those who leave survive”
Another reason responds to the concern to improve the results of one’s business: that of “learning and training to be a leader”. “Employers’ organisations, through the employees who lead them and with the help of members, then work to expand the offers to promote employer membership and meet the needs of those who are already members,” explains Sophie Louey.
Added to all this are two more psychological dimensions that should not be overlooked. The first is to “get out of the employer’s solitude” which prevents sharing the difficulties encountered, including in their personal life, by the leaders. “Discovering and joining employers’ groups then sometimes appears like an air bubble”, underlines Sophie Louey, who quotes a boss explaining that “only those who leave make it out”. Finally, the last reason mentioned is absolutely not related to the professional framework since it is a question of “having fun” and “meeting people”. “The years of investigation have made it possible to see friendships and couples being made and undone”, notes the sociologist who underlines the extension of these sociabilities to the entourages of the leaders.