Professional Associations as hubs

[caption id="attachment_57" align="alignnone" width="527" caption="Professional networks"][/caption] In the last few years mathematicians working on small world phenomena have developed network theory which looks set to revolutionise the way we think about our global systems of interconnectivity.The theory talks about naturally occurring hubs which form as communities of interest of one sort or another.They drive and make sense of the ways in which we are able to connect with known and not-yet-known individuals across the globe and are the basis for the success and rise of multiple social media formats.This blog is a perfect example of me reaching out to like-minded individuals who share my beliefs about the critical importance of professionalism.The theory is also the basis for the concept of six degrees of separation.For those of you who may not be familiar with this idea take a look at the Kevin Bacon Game or check out Google or Wikipaedia entries, which seek to explain how you are no more than six steps removed from anyone on the planet.


Professional associations are a perfect example of how network theory applies in the real world.Large numbers of like minded people or those with similar skills form extended networks reaching right around the globe but forming hubs where large numbers pass through or visit for one reason or another.However, these hubs vary in strength and size and permanence is not an automatic function of their formation.


One of the key future issues for professional associations and membership organisations will be to ensure that they maintain their positions as hubs of choice, offering what their community needs in terms of connections and support.This will probably not be that easy.The pressures exerted by the mass of opinion inside the hubs may be difficult to withstand.


The associations will need to ensure that they drive the argument for maintenance of standards not succumb to pressure from those who might seek to absolve them of that responsibility or, indeed, suggest that such standards are not necessary.In order to ensure that we encourage an understanding of the requirements of professionalism, such standards must evolve and be maintained and that task belongs to those who understand what competence means for their sector and what the implications would be were those standards to slip.Our Parliamentary friends have shown us what happens when group think and peer pressure allows unacceptable practice to become the norm and for standards to fall very far short of expectation.