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Membership in organisations is time-limited. Unlike in family or tribe, you are not a member from birth, but you enter an organisation (though not always voluntarily; school, church, guild etc.). With the entry into an organisation (contract, identity card etc.) you accept particular expectations (homework, working hours, work tools etc.) and, in return, you can have expectations (salary, regulated free time, holidays). This all sounds so trivial, but it is not.

Membership determines whose communication offers are seen as a part of the organisation. This makes it more comprehensible how challenging it is to recognise customers or network partners as relevant in network organisations, or to establish, when there is apparent self-employment, who belongs to the organisation or not, or whether, in family concerns, a wife of the owner, who does not work in the company, is to be included or not. We are not members as people, but as carriers of expectations. Membership is a role which requires role competence. This is a skill which people must learn. The termination of a membership gives people, as well as organisations, a flexibility which, in the authoritarian and ordered society of former times (guilds, nobility), was not possible. It is only through looser forms of coupling that organisations can react to changing conditions.

Therefore, ‘personnel’ is a guiding process of organisations, because the fit of position to employee has to be monitored continuously. On the part of the person, career becomes the central element of life management. Careers are recognisable through membership (title!) in organisations and they determine the level of influence which their own communications have (in organisations), and by means of membership, achieved through career, become a significant feature of social identity.