Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Business Administration

Major Professor

Moez Limayem, Ph.D.

Co-Major Professor

Steven Oscher, D.B.A.

Committee Member

Sunil Mithas, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Joann Quinn, Ph.D.


Advocacy, Competition, Convening, Leadership, Self-Promotion


This paper researched what the United States chamber of commerce paid Executives and the volunteer Chairpersons identified as the factors influencing their chamber for effectiveness. There has been little research on chambers of commerce in the U.S. This study adds to the small amount of research available, working to establish baseline information for research to continue this ubiquitous industry. We conducted 24 interviews, 12 paid Executives, and 12 volunteer Chairpersons at chambers of commerce in 11 states. They were asked to identify factors that make their chamber more effective or inhibit their chamber from being effective. The interviews were coded, resulting in 36 identified factors consolidated to in 17 identified factors. The five most identified factors influencing chamber of commerce effectiveness by these leaders were: Leadership, Advocacy, Convening, Competition, and Self-promotion. The factors were the same for the two groups of leaders; however, they were in different priority order. One unexpected finding was the lack of discussion about the mission of the chamber or the strategic plan. Without a plan for an organization, it is difficult to know if they are effective or only busy. Before coding the interviews, the mission and strategic plan were anticipated to be elements identified in the interviews.

The study of these factors provides direction for the chamber of commerce leaders to structure their organization for greater effectiveness.