Healthy Industry Associations and Leadership Succession.

This 2014 research was funded by the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation. 

Project Title: Final Report - 2011-410-DLD - Healthy Industry Association and Succession


Project Number:2011/410

Published Date:Dec 2013Year: 2013



The inability to attract, train, engage and retain leaders in fishing industry bodies is critical to organisational failure, together with falling numbers of industry participants and the aging of the industry's workforce. How to invigorate organisations to embrace an innovative culture, build leaders and provide them with capacity to apply those skills is critical to the future of the seafood industry. While the question of leadership is an obvious issue for the seafood industry, less obvious is the fact that leaders are much more likely to emerge from industry associations that (i) are themselves healthy enough to attract and retain members, and (ii) have the capacity to grow responsibility and confidence among the broad membership. This project set out to examine those characteristics that lead to healthy industry associations, that can attract and retain members, which share responsibilities broadly so that leadership can emerge naturally, and which have a conscious policy of leadership succession. In pursuit of these goals, the project, in addition to examining Australian seafood industry associations, chose to look outside the Australian industries (aquaculture, wild-catch, and recreational) and examine several overseas industry associations as well as a number of land-based Australian primary industry associations. Twenty two case studies were conducted, and a series of resources were developed.

Principal Investigator: Dr Ian Plowman

Key Words: Industry associations, leadership, leadership succession, member engagement, responsibility sharing, action research, continuous improvement.

Summary: The project outputs have contributed to or will lead to the following outcomes:

  • Media and web-based materials announcing the project.
  • Reports, each peak industry sector specific, on the level of engagement, innovation, participation, leadership and succession in each Sector. [Note: With the approval of the FRDC, a single report, relevant to all sectors, has been produced.]
  • Legal advice on the constitutional format most likely to foster leadership renewal and succession. This will enable any association to amend their constitution accordingly.
  • A resource kit and DVD/CD containing (a) case studies on more innovative and resilient associations that are proactive in their succession-planning, (b) legal advice on amendments to constitution to foster leadership renewal and succession [Legal advice waived.] (c) tools and techniques (‘Meetings without Discussion’) for improved conversation and hence engagement of newer, quieter and less confident fishers [in the appendices]; (d) a model of action-research/continuous improvement/innovation [in the appendices] , and (e) a model for monitoring and evaluation.[ in the appendices]
  • A set of guidelines to facilitate the extension of this resource kit to subsidiary industry associations.
  • A minimum of seven workshops nationally.
  • A series of media articles giving both tools and examples of successful behaviour change, adaptation, innovation, and succession.
  • Presentation of summary project outputs at ‘Seafood Directions Conference 2013'.

The following resources were produced for industry associations to use.

Case Studies    Media Articles   Conflict resolution   

Decentralisation of decision-making   Your association: who's in and who's out?

A means of organisation   Age of the association   Boundary clarity

Capacity to absorb and lose members   Code of conduct   Membership

New blood   Openness to new ideas   Performance capacity

Lobbying, marketing, public relations   Goods, services and other benefits

Internal communications   Financial considerations   Spare capacity

Performance measurements   Purpose   Shared responsibility

Skills and technology