Organisational engagement: an examination of members’ engagement in the Irish Dental Association


Differences in perceptions of the IDA are evident due to gender, practice type, loyalty and satisfaction. Members identified factors inhibiting and facilitating engagement in the Association.


Statement of the problem
Many members in the IDA are not actively involved in the Association. Therefore, despite representation being a key function of the IDA, members are not equally represented in the Association.

Purpose of the study
This study aimed to examine IDA members’ views, with a view to identifying changes that might enhance the members’ active engagement.

Materials and methods
A self-report questionnaire was developed following an analysis of interviews and a focus group with IDA members. The IDA distributed the questionnaire to its members by email.

Survey participants (N=240) consisted of 128 male IDA members, 79 female IDA members, and 33 participants who did not report their gender. Analysis yielded differences in terms of perceptions of the IDA due to gender, practice type, loyalty and satisfaction. Key inhibitors of engagement identified include: communication barriers; family commitments; feeling as though time spent involved is unproductive; and, the perception of an old boys’ club. Key facilitators of engagement identified include: representation; continuing professional development (CPD); social interaction; and, support.

While differences in terms of perceptions of the IDA were observed in the analysis of gender and practice type, the most profound differences were observed between loyal and less loyal participants, and between satisfied and dissatisfied participants. Loyal and satisfied participants were generally more positive about all aspects of the IDA than less loyal and dissatisfied participants.The IDA should target inhibitors of engagement as identified by less loyal and dissatisfied members.It may be useful to firstly address communication barriers in the IDA in an attempt to increase membership engagement.

Journal of the Irish Dental Association 2012/2013; 58 (6): 308-315

Hannah Gallivan
School of Psychology
University College Dublin

Joan Tiernan
School of Psychology,
Newman Building,
Dublin 4

T: 01-716 8587