September 15, 2008

Join ASQ, Earn More Money?

Like many of you, I get a lot of QA-related email.

An email I received recently from the American Society for Quality (ASQ) titled "Want the potential to earn more money?" says:
"Research shows people who joined associations have experienced increased job satisfaction, earn more money, and are generally happier*. An ASQ membership can help by giving you the tools you need to become successful in your industry and differentiate you from the competition. So why wouldn’t you want to be a part of ASQ?

Have the opportunity to meet, communicate, and collaborate with your peers within the quality community through conferences, local section meetings, ASQ forums or divisions, ASQ Communities of Quality discussion boards, and more.
Take this opportunity to be an integral part of the recognized leader in quality and be happy as an ASQ member. Visit and use priority code XXXXXXX to join today.

*2008, The William E. Smith Institute for Association Research"
The clear implication from the title and the text is - join ASQ and you will earn more money.

But when I searched for this "research", I found that the press release from The William E. Smith Institute for Association Research itself makes it clear that this is not a cause-effect relationship:
"The report reveals that, on average, association members earn higher salaries, like their jobs more and are happier people than those who do not join  associations. Rather than suggesting that association membership itself leads to success, the report concludes that success in one's profession increases the likelihood of joining an association."

Now I'm sure this is just a bit of sales puffery, right?

After all, a group that bills itself as "the world's leading membership organization devoted to quality" and which requires its members to be "honest and impartial in serving the public, their employers, customers, and clients" wouldn't intentionally mislead people, would they?

I'm sure there are good reasons to join ASQ.  But I'm not sure that this research provides any compelling reason to do so.

(If I read research which indicates that owners of Rolls Royces earn 50% more than the average, should I go out and buy one in hopes of increasing my salary?  Or, perhaps I should just hang around and collaborate with people who already own one?)