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Strengthening the Voice and Farm Bureau Foundations: Explaining Local Board Performance as Related to a Professional Dev...

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1 STRENGTHENING THE VOICE AND FARM BUREAU FOUNDATIONS: EXPLAINING LOCAL BOARD PERFORMANCE AS RELATE D TO A PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM FOR A NONPROFIT ME MBERSHIP ORGANIZATION By ERIC K. KAUFMAN A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLOR IDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2007

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2 2007 Eric K. Kaufman

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3 To my wife, Shevon; and to a bright future for my son, Ethan.

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4 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS I would like to thank my supervisory comm ittee: Dr. Glenn Israel, Dr. Rick Rudd, Dr. Nick Place, Dr. Ed Osborne, and Dr. Elizabeth Bolton. I appreciat e all of your insights and your contribution to the quality of my educational experi ence at the Univer sity of Florida. In addition, I thank Dr. Hannah Carter for providing some of the early inspiration for the research and leadership development programming with Florid a Farm Bureau. You have been a valuable mentor throughout my graduate educational expe rience. I thank the Florida Farm Bureau Federation for their sponsorship and support of my re search efforts. I particularly appreciate the leadership and guidance of Pat Cockrell and Ray Crawford, but I am also indebted to many of the staff members and volunteer leaders for their a ssistance in completing a wide variety of tasks associated with my research. Finally, I would like to thank my fellow graduate students (past and present) in the Department of Agricultural Education and Communication at the University of Florida. You have made the experience b earable, and often times even enjoyable. Thank you!

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5 TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS...............................................................................................................4 LIST OF TABLES................................................................................................................. ..........9 LIST OF FIGURES................................................................................................................ .......11 ABSTRACT....................................................................................................................... ............12 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION TO THE STUDY.....................................................................................14 Background of the Study........................................................................................................ 14 Goal Setting Theory........................................................................................................15 Nonprofit Organizational Effectiveness..........................................................................16 Farm Bureau’s Leadership Needs...................................................................................17 “Strengthening the Voice” Program................................................................................19 Overview..................................................................................................................19 “Farm Bureau Foundations” program component...................................................22 Problem Statement.............................................................................................................. ....24 Purpose Statement.............................................................................................................. ....25 Research Objectives............................................................................................................ ....25 Significance of the Study...................................................................................................... ..25 Limitations.................................................................................................................... ..........26 Definitions.................................................................................................................... ..........27 Summary........................................................................................................................ .........28 2 REVIEW OF LITERATURE.................................................................................................34 Theoretical Frame.............................................................................................................. .....34 Goal Setting Theory Defined...........................................................................................34 Goal setting and planned behavior...........................................................................35 Mechanisms..............................................................................................................36 Content.....................................................................................................................36 Intensity....................................................................................................................37 Other moderators......................................................................................................38 Demographic variables.............................................................................................39 Adult Education................................................................................................................ ......41 Andragogy and Adult Learning.......................................................................................41 Motivation to Learn.........................................................................................................42 Program Planning and Evaluation..........................................................................................44 Andragogy in Practice Model..........................................................................................44 Conceptual Programming Model....................................................................................46 Program Evaluation.........................................................................................................47

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6 Overview..................................................................................................................47 Return on investment...............................................................................................49 Leadership Development in Context......................................................................................50 Rural Leadership Development.......................................................................................50 Agricultural Leader ship Development............................................................................52 Grassroots Leadership Development...............................................................................54 Nonprofit Organizations........................................................................................................ .56 Overview....................................................................................................................... ..56 Leadership..................................................................................................................... ..58 Florida Farm Bureau Federation.............................................................................................60 History........................................................................................................................ .....61 Mission, Vision, and Goals.............................................................................................62 Local Farm Bureau Units................................................................................................63 Local Boards of Directors...............................................................................................63 Field Staff.................................................................................................................... ....64 Summary........................................................................................................................ .........65 3 METHODS...................................................................................................................... .......69 Research Design................................................................................................................ .....69 Populations.................................................................................................................... .........71 Participant Selection: FF BF Local Board Members.......................................................71 Participant Selection: FFBF Field Staff..........................................................................74 Instrumentation................................................................................................................ .......74 Local Board Practices Survey.........................................................................................76 Best Practices Goal Survey.............................................................................................76 Field Staff Perceptions Survey........................................................................................77 Data Collection Procedures....................................................................................................7 8 Institutional Review Board Approval..............................................................................78 Collection Procedures with FFBF Local Board Members..............................................78 Re-group and additional mailing..............................................................................82 Unit response rate.....................................................................................................83 Additional data from FFBF......................................................................................84 FFBF Field Staff..............................................................................................................8 5 Data Analysis Procedures....................................................................................................... 86 Unit Non-Response.........................................................................................................86 Item Non-Response.........................................................................................................89 Dependent Variable Indexes............................................................................................90 Individual-level dependent variable.........................................................................90 Board-level dependent variable................................................................................91 Independent Variable Indexes.........................................................................................94 Goal attributes..........................................................................................................94 Farm Bureau Foundations program participation...................................................95 Weighted goal theory constructs..............................................................................96 Board demographics.................................................................................................97 Analysis for Objectives One Through Three...................................................................98 Analysis for Objectives Four and Five............................................................................98

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7 Goal-related hypotheses...........................................................................................98 Correlational analysis...............................................................................................98 Regression analysis..................................................................................................99 Path analysis...........................................................................................................102 Summary........................................................................................................................ .......103 4 RESULTS...................................................................................................................... .......109 Objective 1: Describe Demographics...................................................................................109 Objective 2: Measure Engagement Level.............................................................................110 Objective 3: Measure Goal Attributes..................................................................................113 Objective 4: Explain Individual Performance on Best Practices..........................................114 Objective 5: Explain Local Board Performance on Best Practices......................................118 Summary........................................................................................................................ .......123 5 SUMMARY AND DISCUSSION.......................................................................................140 Summary of the Study..........................................................................................................1 40 Statement of the Problem..............................................................................................140 Purpose and Objectives.................................................................................................141 Methodology..................................................................................................................14 1 Findings....................................................................................................................... ..142 Objective 1: Describe demographics......................................................................142 Objective 2: Measure engagement level................................................................143 Objective 3: Measure goal attributes......................................................................143 Objective 4: Explain individual performance on best practices.............................144 Objective 5: Explain local board performance on best practices...........................144 Conclusions and Discussion.................................................................................................145 Objective 1: Describe Demographics............................................................................145 Objective 2: Measure Engagement Level......................................................................147 Objective 3: Measure Goal Attributes...........................................................................149 Objective 4: Explain Individual Performance on Best Practices...................................151 Objective 5: Explain Local Board Performance on Best Practices...............................154 Implications................................................................................................................... .......158 Goal Setting Theory......................................................................................................158 “Strengthening the Voice” Program Theory.................................................................158 Recommendations................................................................................................................ .159 Suggestions for Additional Research....................................................................................161 APPENDIX A BEST PRACTICES GOAL SHEET....................................................................................163 B WORKSHOP FOLLOW-UP LETTER................................................................................164 C WORKSHOP FOLLOW-UP NEWSLETTERS..................................................................165 D LOCAL BOARD PRACTICES SURVEY..........................................................................170

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8 E BEST PRACTICES GOAL SURVEY.................................................................................178 F FIELD STAFF PERCEPTIONS SURVEY..........................................................................186 G COGNITIVE INTERVIEW PROTOCOL...........................................................................191 H PRE-NOTICE LETTER TO STUDY PARTICIPANTS.....................................................192 I INITIAL QUESTIONNAIRE MAIL-OUT LETTER..........................................................193 First Questionnaire Mail-out Le tter for Program Participants..............................................194 First Questionnaire Mail-out Lette r for Program Non-Participants.....................................195 J THANK-YOU/REMINDER POSTCARD..........................................................................196 K REPLACEMENT QUESTIONNAIRE MAIL-OUT LETTER...........................................197 Replacement Questionnaire Mail-out Letter for Program Participants................................198 Replacement Questionnaire Mail-out Le tter for Program Non-Participants........................199 L TELPHONE INTERVIEW PROTOCOL FOR FOLLOW-UP WITH NONRESPONDENTS..................................................................................................................20 0 M E-MAIL TEMPLATE FOR PRENOTICE TO FIELD STAFF..........................................203 N INFORMED CONSENT LETTER FOR FIELD STAFF....................................................204 LIST OF REFERENCES............................................................................................................. 206 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH.......................................................................................................218

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9 LIST OF TABLES Table page 1-1 Farm Bureau Foundations workshop best practices by objective.....................................33 1-2 FFBF Farm Bureau Foundations workshop dates and participant numbers by district....33 3-1 FFBF Local Board Member Research Study Sub-Groups..............................................106 3-2 Item non-response by population group..........................................................................107 3-3 Usable survey response by population group..................................................................107 3-4 Goal specificity construct: Factor loadi ngs from the “Best Practices Goal Survey”.......107 3-5 Goal difficulty construct: Factor loadi ngs from the “Best Practices Goal Survey”........107 3-6 Goal commitment construct: Factor loadi ngs from the “Best Practices Goal Survey”...108 3-7 Goal self-efficacy construct: Factor loadi ngs from the “Best Practices Goal Survey”...108 3-8 Goal performance construct: Factor loadi ngs from the “Best Practices Goal Survey”...108 4-1 Demographics of FFBF Local Boar d Members and population sub-groups...................125 4-2 Ratings of individual and board prac tices among FFBF Local Board Members and population sub-groups......................................................................................................126 4-3 Perception of engagement level (board and individual) in Farm Bureau related practices in comparison with other six month periods.....................................................128 4-4 Farm Bureau Foundations’ participants’ ratings on que stions related to the goal setting process................................................................................................................ ..129 4-5 Farm Bureau Foundations’ participants’ ratings on cons tructs associated with goal setting........................................................................................................................ .......130 4-6 Board-level variables’ correlations with ratings of personal performance on local Farm Bureau practices.....................................................................................................131 4-7 Individual-level variables’ correlations with ratings of personal performance on local Farm Bureau practices.....................................................................................................131 4-8 Goal-theory constructs’ correlations with ratings of personal performance on local Farm Bureau practices.....................................................................................................131 4-9 Inter-correlations be tween selected independent variab les at the individual level of analysis....................................................................................................................... ......132

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10 4-10 Regression models for individual perf ormance: Explaining average rating for personal performance among best practices usin g variables associated with goal core, moderators, and mechanisms...........................................................................................133 4-11 Standardized regression models for i ndividual performance: Explaining average rating for personal performance among best pr actices using variables associated with goal core, moderators, and mechanisms..........................................................................134 4-12 Correlation between ratings of board performance on local Farm Bureau practices and other ratings of performance.....................................................................................135 4-13 Correlation between average board memb er rating of board performance on local Farm Bureau practices and board demographics.............................................................135 4-14 Correlation between average board memb er rating of board performance on local Farm Bureau practices and Farm Bureau Foundations workshop attendance................136 4-15 Correlation between goal-th eory constructs and ratings of board performance on local Farm Bureau practices.............................................................................................137 4-16 Regression models for board performa nce: Explaining aggregate board member rating for board performance among best practices using weighted goal theory constructs, program participat ion, and board demographics...........................................138 4-17 Standardized regression models for board performance: Explaining aggregate board member rating for board performance among best practices using weighted goal theory constructs, program partic ipation, and board demographics................................139

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11 LIST OF FIGURES Figure page 1-1 Essential elements of goal-setting theory and the high-performance cycle.......................30 1-2 Florida Farm Bureau Federation policy development and implementation process.........30 1-3 Process model for the Florida Farm Bu reau Federation “Stre ngthening the Voice” program........................................................................................................................ ......31 1-4 Florida Farm Bureau (FFB) “Strengt hening the Voice” program logic model.................32 2-1 Theory of planned behavior...............................................................................................67 2-2 Andragogy in Practice Model............................................................................................68 3-1 Research procedures timeline..........................................................................................105 3-2 Number of individual res pondents from each local board...............................................106 3-3 Hypothesized relationships between goal constructs and performance...........................106 4-1 Correlations between go al constructs and persona l performance graphically displayed in the hypothesized model...............................................................................124 4-2 Correlations between goal constructs and local boar d performance graphically displayed in the hypothesized model...............................................................................124

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12 Abstract of Dissertation Pres ented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy STRENGTHENING THE VOICE AND FARM BUREAU FOUNDATIONS: EXPLAINING LOCAL BOARD PERFORMANCE AS RELATE D TO A PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM FOR A NONPROFIT ME MBERSHIP ORGANIZATION By Eric K. Kaufman May 2007 Chair: Glenn D. Israel Major: Agricultural Edu cation and Communication Agricultural leadership development can se rve both the agricultural industry and the communities where agriculture is found. Goal sett ing theory, which is based on the premise that conscious goals affect action, is an underused framework for improving agricultural leadership. Aspects of goal setting theory were applied in a leadership program conducted by the Florida Farm Bureau Federation for its local board memb ers. That program provided a context for this study, and the program’s target audience was th e study population. The study’s purpose was to explain performance, as related to professi onal development for local boards of a nonprofit organization. The research was intended to identi fy factors that explain the engagement level of local board members in a multi-level, membership organization. Study participants tended to re port that they were “mostly” engaged in the local Farm Bureau practices promoted in the program. A lthough program participants’ overall use of best practices was not significantly diffe rent from non-participants, part icipants reported significantly higher engagement levels for specific practices : “Strengthen the ‘Voice of Agriculture’ by getting involved in statewide committees”; “P lan for policy implementation challenges before they arise”; and “Consult others, including adversaries, for input and feedback on policy ideas.”

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13 Overall, program participants believed the program helped them to become more effective Farm Bureau members and leaders. However, program participation alone did not explain differences in individual and board performance. Instead, gender, education level, meeting attendance and perceived differences in the go al setting process expl ained differences in performance. Regression models including these variables explain up to 21 % of the variance in individual performance and 24% of the variance in board performance. This study has implications for professional development programming and application of goal setting theory. The researcher recommends that the program continue, provided that implementation is standardized and emphasis on goa l setting is increased. Additional research is needed to further explore the application of goal se tting theory in programming for volunteer leaders. An important research focus is im proved measures of goal theory constructs and volunteer board performance. Research also is needed to better unde rstand the differential effects that gender, educati on level, and meeting attendan ce have on board performance.

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14 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION TO THE STUDY Agricultural leadership is needed today more than ever before. With the agricultural field becoming more specialized and in creasingly challenged, the future success of the industry is dependent upon local leaders to guide efforts for advocacy and change (Diem & Nikola, 2005; Horner, 1984; Howell, Weir, & Cook, 1982; W. K. Kellogg Foundation, 2001). Even beyond the industry, though, the fate of many agricultural co mmunities is also at stake. Agriculture has traditionally played an important role in most rural communities, and many of these communities are falling behind their urban counterparts in many areas of quality of life (W.K. Kellogg Foundation, 2004). Without capable leaders, these communities are “prone to inertia, decay, and manipulation” (Hustedde & Woodward, 1996, p. 1) Leadership, by definition, inspires vision and hope for the future (DeRuyver, 2001; Kou zes & Posner, 2002; Moss & Liang, 1990). Agricultural leadership development holds the op portunity to serve both the agricultural industry and the communities where agriculture is found. The phrase “agricultural leadership” lends its elf to a broad range of ideas, topics, and programs. Research on the topic reveals that related subject areas include leadership programs for rural youth, leadership edu cation programs in colleges of ag riculture, adult agricultural leadership programs, governmental agricultural agency positions, and general rural community development efforts. Among these topics, all require additional research to further the field and scholarship of agricultural leadership (E. Osborne, 2007; R udd, Stedman, & Kaufman, 2004). Background of the Study This study investigated the useful ness of goal setting as applied in the context of a specific leadership development program conducted by the Florida Farm Bureau Federation.

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15 Goal Setting Theory Among the many definitions of leadership, Locke (2003) defines leadership as “the process of inducing others to pursue a common goal” (p. 29). This definition has emerged from decades of research by Locke and others on goal setting theory. Locke s uggests that the value of goal setting extends to a wide variety of applications. However, pa st research on goal setting theory has focused primarily on motivation in work settings (Locke & Latham, 2002, p. 714). Although some agricultural leadership takes place in work settings, many of the contexts for agricultural leadership are in community and volunteer set tings. Research is needed to determine the appropriateness of goal setting in these contexts for agricultural leadership. The use of goal setting in these contexts is not entirely novel, but the formal app lication of goal setting theory is. Goal setting theory “is based on Ryan’s (1970) premise that conscious goals affect action” (Locke & Latham, 1990, 2002, p. 705). According to the theory, goals affect action in form of choice, intensity, and persistence (Latham, 2007, p. 176). In addition, goals motivate individuals to develop relevant strategies for goal attain ment (Locke, 2001). Goal setting theory emerged from empirical research over four decades, with more than 1,000 published articles and reviews (Mitchell, Thompson, & George-Falvy, 2000) that have shown positive results in about 90% of the studies (Locke, 2001). “The rese arch is uniform in its verdict th at difficult and specific goals result in higher levels of performance than do easy or vague, ‘do your best’ goals” (Mitchell & Daniels, 2003, p. 231). A model outlining the constr ucts associated with goal setting theory is provided in Figure 1-1. Locke and Latham (1990; 2002) have pr ovided thorough descriptions of the theory and its related research. The theory is further described in chapter 2 of this dissertation. Although the theory has been widely applied in for-profit organizations, it has been given little consideration in the context of nonprofit organizations and volunteer-run groups.

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16 Nonprofit Organizational Effectiveness An important resource for tackling social issues, including those associated with agricultural leadership, is nonpr ofit organizations. The missions of these organizations are diverse, but their impact can be powerful. A lthough nonprofits represent only 7 percent of the interest groups in Washington DC, fr om the 1960s through the 1990s nonprofit groups “accounted for anywhere from 24 to 32 percen t of the congressional testimony, generated between 29 and 40 percent of the press coverage of pending legislati on, and were nearly 80 percent as effective in passing legislation they fa vored as the business lobb ies against which they were often arrayed” (Salamon, 2002b, p. 43-44). Herman and Renz conducted a panel study of nonprofit organizations (NPOs) in 1994 and again in 2000. From the data collected, they have derived nine theses on organizational effectiveness: 1. Nonprofit organizational e ffectiveness is always a matter of comparison. 2. Nonprofit organizational effec tiveness is multidimensional. 3. Boards of directors make a difference in the effectiveness of nonprofit organizations, but how they do so is not clear. 4. Nonprofit organizational effectiven ess is a social construction. 5. The more effective NPOs are more likely to use correct management practices. 6. Claims about “best practices ” for nonprofit boards and for the management of NPOs warrant critical investigation. 7. A measure of NPO effectiveness that empha sizes responsiveness may offer a solution to the problem of differing judgments of ef fectiveness by different stakeholder groups. 8. It can be important to distinguish among di fferent “types” of nonpr ofit organizations in order to make progress in understanding the pr actices, tactics, and strategies that may lead to NPO effectiveness. 9. Nonprofit organizations increasi ngly operate as part of netw orks of service delivery. Therefore, network effectiveness is becomi ng as important to study as organizational effectiveness. (Herman & Renz, 2002)

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17 Although these theses offer improved unders tanding and implications for nonprofit organizations in general, more research is needed to understand th e characteristics of effectiveness for nonprofit organizations and associat ions that address the need for agricultural leadership. This is particular ly important, since “the more ge neral tendency of nonprofit scholars is to ignore membership organizations and asso ciations, especially gr ass-roots associations” (Smith & Shen, 1996, p. 285). These voluntary a ssociations are an important resource for recruiting and developing local leaders (Bolton, 1991), yet there is no consensus on the best approach for maximizing that lead ership development process. Farm Bureau’s Leadership Needs This study will address the field of agricultura l leadership in the context of a specific nonprofit agricultural leadership organization – the Florida Farm Bureau Federation (FFBF). The organization is unique in it s grassroots approach to solvin g problems in the agricultural industry and the communities that the organi zation serves. The grassroots approach is characterized by the organization’s policy develo pment and implementation process, which is driven by local members (Figure 1-2). FFBF is part of a larger, national organiza tion known as the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF). In part, the mission of th e AFBF is “to implement policies that are developed by members” (American Farm Bur eau Federation, 2006). Although the problem of maintaining “grassroots” efforts is a challenge for the entire nationa l organization, FFBF has been proactive with statewide efforts to improve the flow of ideas from individual members to the larger organization. This goa l is made clear in FFBF’s vision of being “the most effective, influential and respected Farm Bureau in the na tion” and to “be recognized as Florida’s ‘Voice of Agriculture’” (FFBF, 2005b). FFBF has identified the leadership role of local officers in county Farm Bureau groups as pivotal to orga nizational success (H. S. F. Carter, 2004).

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18 A needs assessment conducted in 2003 revealed that FFBF state leaders believe four local organizational aspects are important for an effec tive grassroots process: leadership, political process, effective boards, and knowledge of Farm Bureau. When evaluating these areas with local members, Carter (2004) applied a modifi ed Borich (1980) needs assessment and found significant differences between perceived importan ce and proficiency in the areas of leadership, political process, and knowledge of Farm Bureau. For example, in the area of leadership, the competency “use effective communication skills in media interviews” was rated on a seven-point scale with a mean importance of 5.6 and a mean proficiency of 4.8, leaving a “gap” of 0.8. The difference suggests a desire for improved proficienc y with that competency. Within the area of political process, participants rated “develop re lationships with elected officials on the national level” with a mean importance of 5.2 and a mean proficiency of 3.9, leaving a gap of 1.3 between importance and proficie ncy. Among the competencies related to knowledge of Farm Bureau, participants rated “demonstrate knowledg e of the American Farm Bureau Federation” with a mean importance of 5.2 and a mean prof iciency of 4.2, leaving a gap of 1.0. Carter concluded that the findings i ndicate areas for leadership training with local FFBF board members. In addition, Carter concluded, “this study could be the starting point for additional leadership research within the FFBF” (p. 167). In 2004, a qualitative study was conducted to further determine the leadership expectations, needs, and inte rests of local FFBF board members. Local board members throughout the state were interviewed, focusing on identification of common leadership-related challenges and perceived development needs of th e local Farm Bureau board. Four significant theme areas emerged: organizational apprecia tion, grassroots involvement, board member training, and board member succession. Many of the statements made by county board members

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19 matched up with the expectations for board e ffectiveness previously identified by FFBF state leaders (H. S. F. Carter, 2004). The theme areas described by Cart er (2004) (leadership, political process, effective boards, and knowledge of Farm Bureau) were we ll-represented in the interviews with local board members. In addi tion, the findings from the interviews with local board members seemed to further support the need for and interest in professional development programming for FFBF’s local leaders. Based on the findings, the researchers recommended that the FFBF invest in the development of an educational program focused on FFBF’s local leaders (Kaufman & Rudd, 2006). This recommendation for leadership developmen t is consistent with interventions for improved organizational effectiveness recomm ended for other non-profit and volunteer-based organizations. For example, based on a three-ye ar study of 24 diverse non-profit organizations, Holland and Jackson (1998) concluded that ongoing efforts to develop board skills can markedly improve their performance. Brudney and Murra y (1998) add that “although these efforts may not correct all problems (suc h as those caused by having the ‘wrong’ kinds of people on the board), they can improve the chances of identif ying, and then correcting, a number of others” (p. 346). Tierney (2006) argues that investment in le adership capacity is the “single most important determinant of organizational success” (p. 3). Even still, a common c onclusion among research on interventions with volunteers and non-profit boards is that more empirical evidence is needed to support and explain the conn ection between board-member and organizational effectiveness (Brudney & Murray, 1998; Herman & Renz, 1999; Holland & Jackson, 1998). “Strengthening the Voice” Program Overview In 2005, FFBF contracted with the University of Florida Department of Agricultural Education and Communication (UFAEC) to develop curricula for half-day workshops focused

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20 on developing local Farm Bureau leaders. The specific focus was with local board members. Later titled “Strengthening the Voice” (STV), th e program was to include workshops that cover the topics of effective meetings, political advocacy, member development, organization management, and Farm Bureau knowledge. The fi nished curriculum was presented in a trainthe-trainer format, preparing FFBF staff to deliv er the workshops locally throughout the state. STV program developers and FFB F advisors determined that all of the workshops being developed should use a “best practices” approa ch, thus highlighting proven techniques for success that participants could adopt to improve upon their current levels of success. Nonprofit scholars have cautioned against use of a “one be st way” approach to management and board practices for all organizations. Instead, “every organization must discover and continually seek to improve its practices, consistent with its values, mission, and stakeh olders’ expectations (Herman & Renz, 2004, p. 702). Accordingly, the best practices promoted in the STV program were based on previous research with FFBF’s state and local le aders (H. S. F. Carter, 2004; Kaufman & Rudd, 2006) and were further refine d with a project advisory committee that included FFBF staff and leaders. Beyond the formal workshop experience, the STV program emphasized the importance of application and follow-up. The general approach of the program was to (1) conduct a workshop, (2) have participants set goals for adopting specific best prac tices, and (3) provide follow-up reminders to participants regard ing their best practices goals a nd other important points from the program (Figure 1-3.) The incorporation of goalsetting is an adaptation of goal setting theory (see Locke & Latham, 2002) and makes use of a finding by Holland and Jackson (1998) that the most useful interventions with non-profit board s often link process w ith substance by asking board members to set goals for themselves.

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21 The STV program follows a logic model with expected short-, intermediate-, and longterm outcomes. In the short-term, program planners expect that local board members will be knowledgeable about best practices for board ope rations and involvement. Six to 12 months after program participation, the e xpected intermediate outcome is that local FFBF boards will have improved efficiency and productivity, which will in turn create increased grassroots involvement in the FFBF. The long-term program goals are that (1) FFBF will be a nationally recognized leader agricultural problem solving and policy formation and (2) FFBF members will have increased community involvement that improve s the social and economi c structures in their communities. These desired outcomes of the STV program aligned with the FFBF mission and vision, as is shown in Figure 1-4. As with any program, there are confounding f actors to consider when implementing and evaluating the success of the STV program. Specif ically, the program planners were concerned about factors that would limit local board member s level of engagement in the identified best practices. For some board members, unexpected or unusual changes and commitments in their personal lives or professional careers may limit th e time and energy they are able to devote to implementation of the best practi ces. In addition, some board memb ers may be hesitant to apply the practices because they believe they do not have enough experience or expertise with the recommended practices. This may be of par ticular concern considering that the program workshops are designed to last only four hours, allowing for only a limited opportunity to apply the practices in a trial setting. Another pot ential confounding factor re lates to local board members relationships with one another. Ma ny of the identified best practices require implementation at a group level in order for th e desired program outcomes to occur. If local

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22 board members do not trust one another and coop erate well together, they may have a difficult time collaborating on the recommended practices. “Farm Bureau Foundations” program component The first STV component implemented was en titled “Farm Bureau Foundations.” The objectives of the workshop were: 1. Explain the relationship between Florida Farm Bureau Federation and Insurance; 2. Establish a local strategy for active pursu it of the Florida Farm Bureau Federation Vision; 3. Describe the influence and limitation of the Farm Bureau on political issues; and 4. Prepare a plan for grassroots Farm Bur eau policy development and implementation. The best practices promoted through the Farm Bureau Foundations workshop were developed from the needs assessment findings (H S. F. Carter, 2004; Kaufman & Rudd, 2006) and from discussion among the STV advisory committee members. The advisory committee consisted of FFBF staff and UF-AEC represen tatives. The FFBF staff brought extensive knowledge of the organization a nd experience with th e local FFBF board members. The UFAEC representatives were familiar with Farm Bur eau, but the primary value of their involvement was with their expertise in writing objectives a nd establishing goals for l eadership programming. This approach to identification of best prac tices coincides with an approach promoted by Herman and Renz (2004). They argue that “ev ery organization must di scover and continually seek to improve its practices, consistent with its values, mission, and stak eholders’ expectations” (p. 702). The best prac tices identified for the Farm Bureau Foundations program piece are outlined in Table 1-1. FFBF staff implemented the Farm Bureau Foundations program component with twelve different four-hour workshops throughout the st ate of Florida during April and May of 2006.

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23 The program focused on local board members in FFBF geographic districts across Florida and drew 156 participants from 45 different Florid a counties. Although the FFBF staff members promoted participation in the program by all members, the goal was to keep individual presentations to a manageable size of about 15 to 20 participants, with about 25 to 30 representatives from each district. The dates of the workshops and number of participants in each are outlined in Table 1-2. The Farm Bureau Foundations workshops concluded with participants setting personal goals for best practices they planned to implem ent in the coming months. This “Best Practices Goal Sheet” is displayed in Appendix A. Th ese goal sheets were co llected by the workshop presenters and kept for a follow-up mailing. Howeve r, the number of goal sheets collected was noticeably less than the number of identified wo rkshop attendees, which suggests some degree of program implementation failure. Unfortunately, this variation in program implementation has the potential to present inconsis tencies in program effects. After workshop evaluation sheet s indicate that over 98 percent of participants were “satisfied” or “very satisfied” with the workshop. When asked to what ex tent they could use the ideas and skills learned in the workshop, 59 percen t answered “to a great extent” and 37 percent answered “to a moderate extent.” One participan t wrote, “I’ve been wanting/needing this info for years.” In June of 2006, the FFBF field staff returned each “Best Practices Goal Sheet” to the participant who originally completed it. The cove r letter of the mailings thanked the participants for their service to FFBF, reminded them of the best practices commitments that they made, and offered to provide assistance in accomplishing th e best practices goals. A template for these cover letters is displayed in Appendix B. In July of 2006, FFBF mailed program participants a

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24 two-page newsletter that tha nked the members for their part icipation in the program and reminded them of the key points covere d in objectives one and two of the Farm Bureau Foundations workshop. In August of 2006, FFBF mailed a second newsletter that highlighted the key points covered in object ives three and four of the Farm Bureau Foundations workshop. These newsletters are displayed in Appendix C. Although the intent was that all program participants would receive thes e mailings, inconsistent records of attendance prevented some participants from receiving the follow-up mailings. Problem Statement The primary impetus for the STV program was a desire to improve the effectiveness of local FFBF boards of directors. An important qu estion then is whether or not aspects of the program are influencing board effectiveness. Di d any attitude and behavi oral changes occur? To a broader degree, though, can changes in board performance be attributed to constructs associated with goal setting theory? FFBF invested substantial time, money, a nd effort in the implementation of the Farm Bureau Foundations component of the STV program. Was it worth the investment? Are the participants more proficient in Farm Bureau Foundations related tasks? FFBF has plans to quadruple this investment through implementa tion of four more components of the STV program. Are there ways to better focus th ese efforts? What participant and program characteristics are most associated with achieve ment of the best prac tices goals? Does the answer lie in a more direct appl ication of goal se tting theory? With an ex post facto study, it is not possible to directly measure change and answer all of these questions. However, these inquiries lead to an important research question: What factors, variables, or interventions explai n the quality of engagement (in terms of best practices) of local

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25 board members in a multi-level, membership orga nization? This question was used to guide the exploratory study with the STV program. Purpose Statement The purpose of the study was to explain lo cal board performance, as related to a professional development program for local boards of a nonprofit organization. Research Objectives The objectives of this study were as follows: 1. Describe select demographics of local Florida Farm Bureau board members and program participants; 2. Measure the engagement level of local Florida Farm Bureau board members in Farm Bureau Foundations Best Practices ; 3. Measure the goal attributes experience d by program particip ants with their Farm Bureau Foundations Best Practices goal; 4. Explain individual-level performance with best practices identified in the Farm Bureau Foundations program; and 5. Explain board-level perf ormance with best practices identified in the Farm Bureau Foundations program. Significance of the Study This study adds to the body of knowledge on goal setting theor y, rural leadership development, volunteer management, and effectiv e board member practices. Practitioners in these areas will use this study to guide future professional development programming efforts and to guide further research. Past research involving goal setting theory has focused primarily on its application in work settings. If goal setting theory is shown to have application in volunteer settings, the theory can be used to guide the training and management of volunteers and leaders of volunteers. Latham and Kinne (1974) have shown that training employ ees to set specific, high goals results in

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26 improved performance, but little has been done has been done to extend this research to volunteer situations. The findings of this study may further that effort. Regardless of the findings specific to goal setting theory, FFBF will make direct use of this study’s findings to make revisions to the STV pr ogram components in order to increase their effectiveness. The improvement of the STV program will aid FFBF in accomplishing its mission and vision, which in turn contributes to im proved social and economic structure in the communities served by FFBF. In addition, plans are being made to adapt in dividual components of the STV program for use in other states and organizations. The findi ngs of this study will aid in the adaptation and promotion of those program components for use by other groups. As other membership organizations look for guidance in the selection and involvement of board members, they may look to the findings of this study. Such organizations may be sim ilar to Farm Bureau in their structure, focus, or clientele. For exampl e, local nonprofit organiza tions or agricultural commodity associations or rura l development groups may look to this study’s discussion of board member engagement when seeking to im prove the involvement of their local board members. Limitations As with any scholarly study, there are limitations to the generalizability of this study. The first limitation that must be considered is relate d to the nature of the or ganization being studied. Farm Bureau is a unique organization in terms of its structure and function. As a result, the conclusions of this study have limited generalizability to othe r organizations. However, the conclusions from this study may provide helpfu l information for practitioners interested in conducting similar studies and program s with similar organizations.

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27 Second, this study is limited to the study part icipants. The study design investigates relationships among variables and does not indicate a cause-effect relationship. As a result, the study’s findings cannot be generalized to future pr ogram participants. Study participants were self-selected into the program a nd may differ in important characte ristics from non-participants. Future evaluations must be conducted to ensure that similar relationships exist among future participants. The third limitation of the study deals with th e limited number of variables included in the study. Other demographic variables and program char acteristics that were not included in this study may influence goal achievement, and thus provide a different set of findings. The variables included in this study were base d on prominent social science theories. The final limitation of the study is related to th e validity and reliability of the self-reported data examined in this study. A certain degree of error is associat ed with all survey studies, and that error places limitations on the accuracy of the findings. These limitations are further explained in the methodology and re sults sections of this study. Definitions The following terms and definitions apply to this study: Agricultural Leadership – The process of providing vision and advocacy for the business activities associated with the production and marketing of plant and animal products. Andragogy – A set of “core principles of adult le arning that in turn enable those designing and conducting adult learning to build more effective learning pr ocesses for adults” (Knowles, Holton, & Swanson, 2005, p. 2) Farm Bureau Foundations Best Practices – The Farm Bureau member practices promoted through the Florida Farm Bureau Federa tion’s “Farm Bureau Foundations” workshop. Farm Bureau Foundations program component – The workshop and follow-up activities associated with the first segment of Florid a Farm Bureau Federation’s “Strengthening the Voice” program.

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28 Farm Bureau Foundations workshop – A Farm Bureau knowledge-focused workshop conducted by Florida Farm Bureau Fede ration staff during April or May of 2006. Florida Farm Bureau Federation (FFBF) – Florida’s largest gene ral farm organization, consisting of more than 140,000 grassroots memb er-families who are also members of the American Farm Bureau Federation (FFBF, 2007b). Goal Commitment – An attribute of goal setting that is closely associated with goal intensity and represents the de gree to which an individual is determined to accomplish a task (Locke & Latham, 1994). Goal Content – A general attribute of goal setting th at includes goal specificity and goal difficulty (Locke & Latham, 1990). Goal Difficulty – A measure of goal “level” that repr esents an individu al’s perception of how challenging it is to accomplish a pa rticular goal (Locke & Latham, 1990). Goal Intensity – “The scope, clarity, and mental e ffort involved in mental processes” associated with goal setting and achievement, most often evaluated as goal commitment (Locke & Latham, 1994, p. 16). Goal Specificity – The degree to which goal content is vague (i.e. “work on this”) or concrete (i.e. “try for a score of 25 on this task within the next ten minutes”) (Locke & Latham, 1994, p. 15). Goal-Setting Theory – A theory of adult motivation ba sed on the premise that conscious goals affect action (Locke & Latham, 2002). Grassroots Organization – A nonprofit association or group that maintains a local membership of volunteers who perform most of the work/activity done in and by the nonprofit (Smith, 2000). Self-Efficacy – Task-specific self-confidence, wh ich is based on a relationship between perceived ability and task difficulty (Bandura, 1986). Strengthening the Voice (STV) program – A long-term professional development program conducted by the Florida Farm Bureau Fe deration for its local, county leaders. Summary This chapter provided the background and si gnificance of the problem as well as the purpose of the study. Agricultural leadership development was high lighted as an important tool for securing a positive future fo r the agricultura l industry and the commun ities where agriculture is found. In addition, goal setting theory was in troduced and recent resear ch with the Florida

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29 Farm Bureau Federation was highlighted. This led to a discussion of the FFBF Strengthening the Voice program and the Farm Bureau Foundations program component, which served as the context for the study. The study’s research question was defined as “W hat factors, variable s, or interventions explain the quality of engagement (in terms of best practices) of local board members in a multilevel, membership organization?” The purpos e of the study was to explain local board performance, as related to a professional de velopment program for local boards of a nonprofit organization. The objectives of this study were as follows: 1. Describe select demographics of local Florida Farm Bureau board members and program participants; 2. Measure the engagement level of local Florida Farm Bureau board members in Farm Bureau Foundations Best Practices ; 3. Measure the goal attributes experience d by program particip ants with their Farm Bureau Foundations Best Practices goal; 4. Explain individual-level performance with best practices identified in the Farm Bureau Foundations program; and 5. Explain board-level perf ormance with best practices identified in the Farm Bureau Foundations program. This chapter included the operational definiti ons of several terms related to the study. Limitations of the study were also discussed. Chapter 2 will presen t the theoretical and conceptual frameworks that guided this study.

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30 Figure 1-1. Essential elements of goal-setting theory and the hi gh-performance cycle. Note. From “Building a Practically Useful Theory of Goal Setting and Task Motivation: A 35-Year Odyssey,” by E. A. Locke and G. P. Latham, 2002, American Psychologist, 57 (9), p. 714. Copyright 2002 by the Ameri can Psychological Association, Inc. Reprinted with permission. Figure 1-2. Florida Farm Bureau Federation policy development and implementation process. Note. From Florida Farm Bureau Federa tion’s Agricultural Policy Division. Reprinted with permission. Goal Core: Specificity Difficulty(e.g., Performance and Learning Goals, Proximal Goals) Mechanisms: Choice/Direction Effort Persistence Strategies Moderators: Goal Commitment Goal Importance Self-Efficacy Feedback Task Complexity Performance(e.g., Productivity, Cost Improvement) Satisfaction With Performance and Rewards Willingness to Commit to New Challenges

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31 Figure 1-3. Process model for the Florida Farm Bu reau Federation “Strengthening the Voice” program. Administration: Allocate staff Allocate resources Monitor program Organizational Plan Design team support: Needs assessment Develop curriculum materials Outline program activities Train presenters Incorporate feedback into changes Assist in eva l uat i o n Program presentation teams consult with local boards and schedule locally delivered workshops Field staff recruit participants at local board meetings and other Farm Bureau activities Presentation teams deliver STV workshops: Best practices promoted Participatory activities Reflection & discussion Take-home manual Presenters provide guidance for goal setting related to the best practices State staff dist ribute follow-up mailings: Personal goal sheet N ewsletters Field staff provide informal feedback to local board members FFBF staff evaluate and fine-tune the program FFBF local leaders live in coverage area Local leaders receive promotional message Local leaders participate in workshop and receive materials Local leaders set a best practices adoption goal Local leaders receive follow-up mailings Local leaders receive informal feedback Local leaders exit the p ro g ra m Local leaders do not receive message Local leaders do not participate in workshop and receive materials Local leaders do not set goal for adoption Local leaders do not receive mailings Local leaders do not receive feedback Service Utilization Plan

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32 Figure 1-4. Florida Farm Bureau (FFB) “S trengthening the Voice” program logic model. Program Activities Short-Term Outcomes Intermediate Outcomes Long-Term Outcomes Farm Bureau Foundations Workshops and Follow-up Activities with Local FFBF Leaders Political Advocacy & Public Relations Member Recruitment & Involvement Effective Meetings Organization Management Specific Program Component Objectives Achieved FL Farm Bureau Mission: Joint and collective effort at the county, state, and national level to solution of problems of agriculturalists and rural communities FL Farm Bureau Vision: Voice & Leader of FL Ag Well informed, educated, and effective members Increased net income to members Improved Social & Economic Structure in Rural Communities Improved Efficiency & Productivity of FFBF Local Boards FFBF Local Leaders Knowledgeable of and Engaged in Best Practices for Local FB Operations & Involvement Increased Grassroots Involvement in FFBF Increased Community Involvement by FFBF Members FFBF is a Nationally Recognized Leader in Agricultural Problem Solving and Policy Formation

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33 Table 1-1. Farm Bureau Foundations workshop best practices by objective Objective # Best Practice 1 Use Farm Bureau facts and hi story in member recruitment. Share Farm Bureau facts and hist ory in public relations activities. Recognize and promote member benefits (like insurance). Limit board meeting discussion to federation business. Allow time on meeting agendas for an insurance report. Maintain a working relationship wi th the insurance agency manager. 2 Actively use Farm Bureau’s gras sroots approach to governance. Cite Farm Bureau's mission when pr omoting the organization to potential members. Hold Farm Bureau leadership accoun table to the organization mission, vision, and beliefs. Adopt a local mission and values to guide board actions. 3 Promote continued political involvem ent by citing Farm Bureau’s past successes. Maintain organizational accountability to the grassroots mission when new policies are proposed. Maximize the benefits of collaborati on when promoting political policy. 4 Implement grassroots policy by followi ng Farm Bureau’s development and implementation process. Strengthen the “Voice of Agriculture” by getting involved in statewide committees. Plan for policy implementation challenges before they arise. Consult others, including adversaries, for input an d feedback on policy ideas. Table 1-2. FFBF Farm Bureau Foundations workshop dates and participant numbers by district District Workshop Date # of Participants* 1 May 25, 2006 19 1 & 2 April 06, 2006 15 2 April 13, 2006 22 3 May 30, 2006 10 4 May 11, 2006 7 4 & 5 May 18, 2006 18 6 April 11, 2006 20 6 April 20, 2006 7 7 May 02, 2006 8 7 May 11, 2006 8 6 & 8 May 19, 2006 13 8 May 11, 2006 9 Total 12 workshops 156 Some participants were not local board member s, so the number of pa rticipants includes overcoverage (n=18).

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34 CHAPTER 2 REVIEW OF LITERATURE Theoretical Frame Books and research-based articles on profe ssional development include a wide range of theories and practices. Of these approaches, theo ries of motivation seem to be at the core. Furthermore, literature reviews reveal that th e principle of goal setting is the one overriding common theme recognized, either implicitly or explicitly, among virtually all psychological approaches to motivation (Austin & Vancouve r, 1996; Latham, 2007; Locke & Latham, 1984; Mitchell & Daniels, 2003). Prof essional development is essentially about helping individuals and organizations achieve their goals (J. E. Osborne, 2003). Not surprisingly, goal-setting theory has developed into one of the most practical and empirically sound theories of motivation (Latham, 2007; Locke & Latham, 20 02; Miner, 1984; Pinder, 1998). Goal Setting Theory Defined Goal setting theory was formulated based on em pirical research over f our decades. “It is based on Ryan’s (1970) premise that conscious goals affect action” (Locke & Latham, 2002, p. 705). Within the context of th e theory, “a goal is the object or aim of an action” (Locke & Latham, p. 705). According to Latham (2007), “goa ls are the immediate precursor of action” (p. 176). The theory applies specifically to performa nce and learning goals that involve degrees of success with particular tasks. Goals affect acti on in form of choice, in tensity, and persistence (Latham, p. 176). In addition, goals motivate indivi duals to develop relevant strategies for goal attainment. Locke and colleagues summarized th e early research on goal setting theory as follows: Goal setting is most likely to improve task performance when the goals are specific and sufficiently challenging, the subjects have su fficient ability (and ability differences are controlled), feedback is provide d to show progress in relation to the goal, rewards such as money are given for goal attainment, the expe rimenter or manager is supportive, and

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35 assigned goals are accepted by the individual. (Locke, Sh aw, Saari, & Latham, 1981, p. 125) These findings continued to be replicated thr oughout research over 35 ye ars (Locke & Latham, 2002). “Goal setting studies have been conducted with 88 different tasks including bargaining, driving, faculty research, health promoting behavi ors, logging, technical work, managerial work, management training, safety, and sports performance” (Locke & Latham, 1994, p. 16). Goals have been found to increase performance at individual, group, and organizational levels (Mitchell & Daniels, 2003). Goal setting and planned behavior Ajzen’s theory of planned behavior (Ajzen, 1985, 1991; Ajzen & Madden, 1986; Schifter & Ajzen, 1985) provides a helpful context for cons idering goal setting theo ry. According to the theory of planned behavior, “the more favorable the attitude and subjectiv e norm with respect to a behavior, and the greater the perceived beha vioral control, the stronger should be the individual’s intention to pe rform a behavior under consider ation” (Ajzen, 1988, p. 132-133). A structural model of the theory of pla nned behavior is shown in Figure 2-1. In the context of the theory of planned behavi or, the “intention” is a self-selected goal. When a goal is self-selected, goal setting theory ca n be used to more fully explain the connection between intention and behavior. In fact, goal setting theory is based on Ryan’s (1970) premise that behavior is regulated by intentions (Latha m, 2007). However, goal setting theory presents a more comprehensive approach and more detailed explanation of this re lationship than does the theory of planned behavior. Beyond self-set goal s, goal setting theory can be used to explain assigned goals that may be the pr ecursor to the components of th e theory of planned behavior.

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36 Mechanisms According to goal setting theory, goals affect performance through four mechanisms: (1) choice/direction, (2) effort (3) persistence, and (4) strategies (Locke & Latham, 2002). “Goals direct attention and effort toward goal-releva nt activities and away from goal-irrelevant activities.” In addition, “goals ha ve an energizing func tion. High goals lead to greater effort than low goals” (p. 706). Time on task is related to e ffort and persistence. “When participants are allowed to control the time they spend on a task hard goals prolong effo rt” (p. 707). “Goals affect action indirectly by l eading to the arousal, discovery, and/or use of task-relevant knowledge and strategies” (p. 707). Content One of the most extensively stud ied attributes of goals is goal content. Research studies involving goal setting theory have consistently found that specific, difficult goals consistently lead to high performance (Latham, 2007; Lo cke & Latham, 1990, 2002; Locke et al., 1981; Mitchell & Daniels, 2003). Locke and Latham pr ovide some clarification on these aspects of goal content: specificity and difficulty. With regard to specificity goal content can be vague (“work on this”) or specific (“try for a score of 25 on this task within the next ten minutes”). With regard to goal difficulty goals can be easy (“try to get 10 items completed in the next 20 minutes”), moderate (“try to get 20 . .”), difficult (“try to get 30 . .”), or impossible (“try to get 100 . .”). Difficulty pertains to a relationship betw een the person and the goal. The same goal can be easy for one person and hard for another depending on ab ility and experience. Generally, however, the higher the absolute level of the goal, the more difficult it is for people to attain it. (Locke & Latham, 1994, p. 15) Locke and Latham (1990; 1994; 2002) report a positive, linear relationship between goal difficulty and levels of performance. The explana tion for this finding is that “people adjust their effort to the difficulty of the task undertake n” (Locke & Latham, 1994, p. 15). “Goal theory

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37 predicts and finds a performance dr op at high difficulty levels only if there is a large decrease in goal commitment (or a poor task strategy was used)” (Locke & Latham, 1994, p. 15) Goal specificity, in itself, does not lead to high performance, because specific goals can still vary in difficulty. However, “goal spec ificity does reduce variation in performance by reducing the ambiguity about what is to be attained” (Locke & Latham, 2002, p. 706). Goal specificity and difficulty are the primary compon ents of goals highlight ed within goal setting theory. Research in field setti ngs supports the idea that people can be taught to set specific, high goals (Latham & Kinne, 1974). Goals have been further identified as learni ng or performance goals, yet the evidence to support one goal type over another tends to be situation dependent (Latham, 2007; Seijts & Latham, 2001; Seijts, Latham, Tasa, & Lath am, 2004). “Goal setting without adequate knowledge is useless” (Latham, 2007, p. 176). Therefore, in complex situations where individuals lack preexisting know ledge of appropriate task st rategies, setting a specific high learning goal leads to higher perf ormance than setting a specific high performance goal or a vague “do your best” go al (Seijts et al., 2004). Some research on goal setting theo ry has investigated the effect s of distal versus proximal goals. Bandura (1997) noted that distal goals can be too far removed to ef fectively guide present action. Studies have shown, however, that perfor mance improves when proximal goals are set in addition to a distal outcome goal (Bandura, 1986; Latham & Seijts, 1999; Seijts & Latham, 2001). Intensity Another extensively studied attribute of goal is goal intensity. “Intensity refers to the scope, clarity, and mental effort involved in mental processes” (Locke & Latham, 1994, p. 16). Goal intensity is most often characterized and studied as goal commitment, yet a related

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38 construct worth measuring is self-efficacy. According to Locke and Latham, “commitment refers to the degree to which an individual is at tracted to the goal, cons iders it important, is determined to attain it, and sticks with it in the face of obstacles” (p. 16). Commitment is enhanced when peopl e believe that achieving the goal is possible and that achieving the goal is important (Klein, 1991). The first class of factors raise what Bandura (1986) has labeled self-efficacy (task-specific self-confidence). These include ability, experience, training, information about appropr iate task strategies, past success, and internal attributions (Locke & Latham, 1990). Those in authority can affect the second class of factors by explaining why the goal is important, exerting r easonable pressure for performance, being knowledgeable about the ta sk and job, and serving as a role model for the behavior they desire in the subordinat e (Locke & Latham, 1990). (Locke & Latham, 1994, p. 17) Beyond these insights on goal intensity, Locke and Latham (2002) provide three suggestions for improving self-efficacy: “(a) by en suring adequate training that provides success experiences, (b) by role modeling or finding models with whom the person can identify, and (c) through persuasive communication that expresses c onfidence that the person can attain the goal” (Locke & Latham, 2002, p. 708). Consistent with social cognitive theory (Bandura, 1986) and the theory of planned behavior (Ajzen, 2005), perceived ab ility, rather than actual ability, is the crucial motivating factor (Latham, 2007). For a more thorough discussion of self-efficacy, see Bandura (1997). Other moderators Beyond the goal intensity attribute, expre ssed by goal commitment and self-efficacy, goal setting theory suggests that goal performance is moderated by other factors. These include feedback, task complexity, pers onal ability, and situa tional constraints (Locke & Latham, 1994). Of these, feedback and task complexity are the most commonly considered (Locke & Latham, 2002). “Summary feedback is a moderator of goals in that the combination of goals plus feedback is more effective than goals alone” (Locke & Latham, 2002, p. 708). When people do not know

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39 their level of progress towa rd a goal, “it is difficult or impossible for them to adjust the level or direction of their effort or to ad just their performance strategies to match what the goal requires” (p. 708). According to Bandura and Cervone (2000), “simply a dopting goals, whether easy or personally challenging ones, without knowing how one is doing seems to have no appreciable motivational effects” (p. 203). Ho wever, feedback need not be formal; it can be internal or external (Latham, 2007). Thus, self-evaluation can be an important moderating factor of goal performance (Bandura & Cervone, 2000). As the complexity of goal-related tasks in crease, goal performance becomes dependent on the ability to discover appropriate task strategies. “Because people va ry greatly in their ability to do this, the effect size for goal setting is smaller on complex tasks than on simple tasks” (Locke & Latham, 2002, p. 709). In situations where a variet y of task strategies are applied toward goal achievement, goal-strategy inte ractions are ofte n found, with goal performance closely associated with the use of effective strategies. Demographic variables Numerous goal-setting studies have examined the influen ce of demographic variables related to goal performance, but the findings have not provided the reliability necessary for inclusion in Locke and Latham’s (2002) model for goal setting theory. Renn and Fedor (2001) examined age, education, tenure, and gender but found that none of these variables were related to goal performance. However, Cullen and others (2004) studied goal-setting with ch ildren and found that gender, ethnicity, socio-economic status (SES), and mother’s education were influential variables. Male students were found to have mo re success with general goal setting than female students. Goal performance differences associat ed with ethnicity, SES, and education varied somewhat with the specific goal task, but thes e differences were also closely aligned with

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40 baseline preferences and activities. The re searchers did recognize the uniqueness of their findings and noted the need for further resear ch in this area (Cullen et al., 2004). Jeffries and Hunte (2004) suggest that generational differences act as an influence on work motivation, which in turn impacts goal-setting an d performance. For example, the “boomer” generation (born roughly between 1946 and 1964) tends to associate time spent on a task with successful performance, while generation “Xers” (born roughly between 1961 and 1981) tend to prefer autonomy and place more emphasis on re sults (O'Bannon, 2001). As a result of these differences, longer timelines with proximal goals may be appropriate for boomers, whereas Xers may perform better with opportunities for choi ce and shorter completion times (Jeffries & Hunte). This research supports the inclusion of age as a demographic variable in goal-setting studies. Doest, Maes, Gebhardt, and Koeleijn (2006) studied personal goals and found evidence that education level and age both impact goal outcomes. Specifically, more highly educated respondents tended to report more emotional exhaustion, which in tu rn was negatively related to attainment of personal goals. The same was true for younger respondents. However, the demographics were presented as dichotomous vari ables, and the researcher s recognized that as a limitation of the study. They suggest that “ future research would benefit from the use of longitudinal designs, more control variables, and objectively measured outcomes” (p. 214). Based on published findings and the recommen dations of other researchers, demographic variables appropriate for consideration in goal-se tting studies include: education, ethnicity, job tenure, age, and gender.

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41 Adult Education Andragogy and Adult Learning Adult learning dates back to ancient times, wh en teachers like Confucius, Socrates, and Cicero focused efforts on teaching adults. Howeve r, “for many years, the adult learner was a neglected species” (Knowles et al ., 2005, p. 35). In the early 1970s, “the concept that adults and children learn differently was first introduced in the United States by Malcom Knowles,” and along with that concept came the term “andragogy” (Knowles et al., p. 1). Andragogy has been interpreted in many ways, but Knowles and his colleagues posit that “andragogy presents core principles of adult learning that in turn enab le those designing and c onducting adult learning to build more effective learning processes for adults ” (p. 2). Andragogy is the “single most popular idea in the education and traini ng of adults” (Brookfield, 1986) “The six principles of andragogy are (1) the learner’s need to know, (2) se lf-concept of the learne r, (3) prior experience of the learner, (4) readiness to learn, (5) orientation to learni ng, and (6) motivation to learn” (Knowles et al., p. 3). These principles are not necessarily in contra st to pedagogy, literally defined as “the art and science of teaching children” (Knowles et al., p. 36), instead the principles of andragogy provide guidance in ways to capitalize on the experien ce and perspective that adults bring to the learning situation. As individuals mature, their need to be self-directing and use their experience in learning increases Andragogy accounts for this difference and provides an opportunity for this di fference to be an asset in the learning process, rather than a hindrance. Knowles and colleagues (2005) suggest that “an dragogy works best in practice when it is adapted to fit the unique ness of the learners and the learning s ituation” (p. 3). They divide the goals for adult learning into thr ee general categories: individual institutional, and societal growth. The traditional view of adult learning has been to focus on individual growth. For

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42 example, some adult learning programs have so ught to advance the employability skills of individual adults (Birkenholz, 1999). However, adult learning is helpful for achieving organizational and community goals as well (R ohs & Langone, 1993). The American Society for Training and Development (ASTD) is a pr ofessional organization that focuses on linking adult learning with organizational performance. In addition, many Extension programs use adult learning as a tool for achieving community goa ls. One example is the training of adult volunteers to serve youth i nvolve in 4-H programming. Motivation to Learn Motivation is a concept that explains why people think and behave as they do. “Seeing human motivation as purposeful al lows us to create a knowledge base about effective ways to help adults begin learning, make choices and give direction to their learning, sustain learning, and complete learning” (Wlodko wski, 1999, p. 2). When learners are motivated, the learning process goes more smoothly, anxiety decreases, and learning becomes more apparent (p. 5). Wlodkowski suggests that adult motiv ation to learn is the sum of f our factors: success, volition (i.e. choice), value, and enjoyment (p. 14). Wlodkowski’s factors for adult motivation are reflected in two of the principles of andragogy. The first pr inciple states that adults need to know why they need to learn something before learning it and the sixth principle is that the motivation for adult learners is internal rather than external (Knowles et al., 2005). “Adults are re sponsive to some external motivators (better jobs, promotions, higher sa laries, and the like), but the mo st potent motivators are internal pressures (the desire for increased job satisfacti on, self-esteem, quality of life, and the like)” (Knowles et al., 2005, p. 68). Expectancy theory suggests three aspects of i ndividual motivation that also support Wlodkowski’s assessment of key mo tivational factors. Described in learning terms, expectancy

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43 theory proposes that “adult learners will be most motivated when they believe they can learn new material (expectancy) and that the learning will help them with a problem or issue (instrumentality) that is important to thei r life (valence)” (Knowles et al., 2005, p. 201). In order to maximize learner motivation, Wl odkowski (1999) proposes five characteristics and skills to be demonstrated by adult educator s: expertise, empathy, enthusiasm, clarity, and cultural responsiveness (p. 26). He has conceptualized thes e skills in the Motivational Framework for Culturally Responsive Teaching: establishing inclusion, developing attitude, enhancing meaning, and engendering compet ence (p. 81). Wlodkowski proposes 60 motivational strategies that connect to the Motivational Framework for Culturally Responsive Teaching (see Table 8.1 in Wlodkowski, 1999, p. 294297). Using the strategies proposed by Wlodkowski (1999), conceptualizing a program plan that motivates learners becomes a rather structured process. Many of the concepts for improving adult motiv ation to learn are reflected in the FFBF Strengthening the Voice program. For example, the workshops for each program component begin by taking 10 to 15 minutes to develop (or rein force) a felt need to learn among the learners and to engender confidence in the program. This is accomplished indirectly through the previously established credibility of the presen ters (FFBF staff members) and more directly through group discussion of the learning objectives. In addition to personal examples that might vary from one presentation to another, consistent program examples are pr ovided in the form of video segments in which FFBF members and leader s discuss the practical value of the topics about to be addressed in the program. Throughout the program, learner motivation is reinforced by involving the learners in act ivities and discussion. One of the goals of the first program

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44 components, Farm Bureau Foundations was to provide a valuab le and enjoyable learning experience that would motivate participants to id entify future program components as a priority. Program Planning and Evaluation Critics of professional development programs ar gue that little thought is put into program outcomes (Hustedde & Woodward, 1996). For th is reason, many professional development models have been created for use with adult prog rams. Two specific models provide insight into program characteristics that were integral to the program being studied. The models are the Andragogy in Practice Model (Knowles et al., 2005) and the Conceptual Programming Model (Boone, Safrit, & Jones, 2002). While these m odels provide guidance for program planning, a key part of program improvement is evaluation (Umble, 2007). Andragogy in Practice Model The andragogical model has been identified as a prototypical model, because of its broad influence on the practice of adult learni ng (Cookson, Knowles, Nadl er, & Nadler, 1998). Foundational to the model is the id ea that adult educators should not be teachers, but instead facilitators of learning (Cookson et al., 1998; Knowles et al., 2 005). In this way, learning is not characterized by one-way communication. Instead, learners are involved throughout the entire process. According to Know les and colleagues, the proce ss of andragogy involves eight elements: (1) preparing learners, (2) climate, (3) planning, (4) dia gnosing of needs, (5) setting of objectives, (6) designing learning plans, (7) l earning activities, and (8 ) evaluation (p. 116). The Andragogy in Practice Model was develo ped in 1998 “as an enhanced conceptual framework to more systematically apply andragogy across multiple domains of adult learning practice” (Knowles et al., 2005, p. 148). There are th ree dimensions to the andragogy in practice model: (1) goals and purposes for learning, (2) individual and situation differences, and (3) andragogy: core adult learning pr inciples (Knowles et al., p. 148). Goals for adult learning are

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45 conceptualized as an outside ring on the model and are identified as goals for individual, institutional, or societ al growth. The next dimension of th e model is displayed as a middle ring, highlighting subject-matter differences, situ ational differences, and individual learner differences. The core of the model focuses on si x andragogical principles: (1) learners need to know, (2) self-concept of the learne r, (3) prior experien ce of the learner, (4) readiness to learn, (5) orientation to learning, (6) motiva tion to learn (Knowles et al., p. 149). The Andragogy in Practice Model has the benefit of application to a vast number of adult learning situations. Practitioners can begin with lear ning goals for the situation and follow the model inward, or they can begin with the andr agogical principles and move outward to the specific learning goals (Figure 2-2). Knowles himself has r ecognized that the andragogical model is merely a helpful starting point for a dult learning and does not constitute a complete theory (Knowles et al., 2005, p. 163). Even sti ll, andragogy does provide “an enduring model for understanding certain aspects of adult le arning” (Merriam & Caffarella, 1999, p. 278). As the curriculum materials for the FFBF’s Strengthening the Voice program were being developed, components of the andragogy in practi ce model were considered and applied. The outside dimension of the model, “goals and purpos es for learning,” was incorporated by ensuring that the program was based on the needs assess ments that were conducted prior to program development. Throughout the curriculum develo pment process, the goals and purposes for each program component were continually referenced by the curriculum writers and reaffirmed by the program advisory committee (consisting of FFB F leaders). The second dimension of the andragogy in practice model, “individual and situation differences,” was incorporated by designing the Strengthening the Voice program to be locally delivered and adaptable to local needs. The FFBF field staff members were most knowledgeable of the in dividual and situational

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46 differences of the target population, so the pr ogram was designed in a way that would allow them to deliver the program locally in a way that fit the local needs. Th e final dimension of the andragogy in practice model, “core adult learning principles,” was considered throughout the process. The first three principl es, (1) learners need to know, (2) self-concept of the learner, and (3) prior experience of the learner, were particul arly important in the planning process to ensure that the program would meet its target audience “where they were.” The three additional principles, (4) readiness to lear n, (5) orientation to learning, a nd (6) motivation to learn, were built into the program through activities that involved action and reflection. Although the andragogy in practice model was not always refere nced directly, its components shine through in the program materials and design. Conceptual Programming Model The Conceptual Programming Model, as deve loped by Boone and others (2002), has an accompanying book to provide explanation. “The model includes three interconnected and related subprocesses: (1) pl anning, (2) design and implemen tation, and (3) evaluation and accountability” (Boone et al., 2002, p. 42). Each subprocess is further divided into two dimensions. The planning dimens ions are: (1a) the organization and its renewal process and (1b) linking the organization to its publ ics. Dimensions of design and implementation include: (2a) designing the planned program and (2b) implemen ting the planned program. And the evaluation and accountability dimensions are: (3a) evaluati on and (3b) accountability. Within each of these dimensions, the model promotes specific tasks that are described in significant detail in the book: “Developing Programs in Adult Education: A C onceptual Programming M odel” (Boone et al., 2002). This professional development model is suc cessful in capturing many of the important elements of other program development mode ls. Although Boone’s early model has been

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47 criticized for having few direct tests of th e model (see Long, 1998, p. 81), Boone’s most recent book cites numerous publications, pilot demonstrat ions, and research studies that involved application of the Conceptual Programming Model (see Appendi x of Boone et al., 2002). Within the context of the Florida Farm Bureau’s Strengthening the Voice program, the Conceptual Programming Model (Bo one et al., 2002) was not stric tly applied, but the stages of planning fit none-the-less. Th e planning processes included a needs assessment that involved organizational leaders and local stakeholders. The planning s ub-process was then followed by design and implementation that was directed by professionals from the University of Florida and the Florida Farm Bureau Federation. The program is still in the process of being implemented, but initial efforts for evaluation are currently being conducted, with the idea that the evaluation findings will guide program improvement and offer some accountability to stakeholders. Program Evaluation Overview Professional development program s can provide benefits at i ndividual, organizational, and society levels. Evaluating their impacts falls und er the realm of social science, which recognizes the complexities that limit scientific certain ty about any question i nvolving human behavior (Ary, Jacobs, & Razavieh, 2002, p. 14). Even still, professional development programs can and should be assessed in such a way that suggests some degree of certainty about their true impact. “Contemporary concern over the allocation of scarce resources makes it more essential than ever to evaluate the effectiveness of social in terventions” (Rossi, Lipsey, & Freeman, 2004, p. 28). Fortunately, many research studies have docum ented benefits of professional development programs. Earnest (1996) used the Leadership Practices Inventor y as a preand post-test for participation in a community leadership program. His findings demonstrated that participants (a) were more willing to take risks; (b) broadened their perspective of leadership

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48 roles/responsibilities; (c) deve loped a greater appreciation for teamwork and collaboration; and (d) learned to adapt their leadership styles Sugrue and Rivera (2005) documented one organization that doubled customer satisfaction in less than a year as a result of implementing a training program in customer service. Anothe r organization increased retention of new sales people from 60 percent to over 90 percent afte r implementing a professional development program for new hires (Sugrue & Rivera, p. 18). Galloway (2005) has identified Kirkpatrick’s (1998) Four-Level Model as a dominant approach to evaluating professional developmen t programs. According to Kirkpatrick (1998), the sequence of evaluating training programs involve four levels, each impacting the next, and each being more difficult and time-consuming, yet mo re valuable (p. 19). The levels are: (1) reaction, or how well learners were satisfied with the program; (2) learning, includ ing participant changes in attitude, improved know ledge, or increased skill; (3) behavior, or the changes in behavior that resulted from th e program; and (4) results, including impacts such as increased production, improved quality, higher profits, decreased turnover, etc. Kirkpatrick’s model provides a valuable framework for program eval uation and has repeatedly been proven useful since its inception in 1959. In the realm of goal setting theory, evalua tion is a critical component. Level one evaluation, reactions, is important for understandi ng several goal moderato rs, specifically goal commitment, goal importance, and self-efficac y. Level two evaluation, learning, corresponds with measures of the remaining two goal moderato rs: feedback and task co mplexity. Level three evaluation, behavior, provides an assessment of all the goal mechanisms: choice/direction, effort, persistence, and strategies. Fi nally, level four evaluation, results highlights the purpose of goal setting, improved performance. Of course, all of these components of goal setting theory can

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49 occur without evaluation, but the only way to full y understand them is through an evaluation that covers Kirkpatrick’s four levels: reac tions, learning, behavior, and results. Return on investment Although the Kirkpatrick method has been viewed as a comprehensive model for evaluating impact, training professi onals have often been called upon to take evaluation a step further and calculate a return on investment (R OI) (Galloway, 2005; Philli ps & Phillips, 2007). In response to this need, Phillip s (2005) has added a fifth level to Kirkpatrick’s model which focuses on the assessment of the monetary value results yield, compared to the cost of training. Phillips (2005) suggests that there are hundreds of studies that demonstrate ROI for organizational investment in professional develo pment. One example of ROI level impact is a literary skills training progr am conducted by Magnavox. The program cost $38,233 to conduct, but the benefits were valued at $321,600, leaving a net benefit of $283,367 – a 741% ROI (Galloway, 2005). Research conducted by Bassi a nd McMurrer (cited in Phillips & Phillips, 2005) further supports ROI for professional deve lopment programming. They found that firms that made unusually large investments in employ ee education and training outperformed the S&P 500 by a factor of two (113 percent versus 55 percent) in the year s following investment (p. 15). Sugrue and Rivera (2005) docum ented an organization that imple menting a training program for its sales force and in turn experienced “a $375 m illion increase in revenues in a space where sales had been forecasted to be flat” (p. 18). Rohs (2004) evaluated the Southern Extension Leadership Development (SELD) a nd reported that every one-dollar spent in the SELD program returned $2.86 (286%) in net benefits (p. 27). Professional development programs can demonstr ate ROI; however, as a fifth level of evaluation, it is even more difficult and time cons uming than the four previous levels identified by Kirkpatrick (1998). Phillips (2005) estimates that the cost of eval uating a program all the

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50 way through ROI “may represent as much as 5 per cent to 10 percent of the entire project.” In conducting ROI level evaluation, Rohs (2004) provide s a practical example that may serve as a guide. ROI calculations are based on the model presented by Phillips (1992), and highlight six steps: (1) collect data, (2) isolat e the effects of traini ng, (3) convert data to monetary values, (4) identify intangible benefits, (5 ) tabulate program costs, and (6 ) calculate the ROI (Rohs, 2004). Leadership Development in Context Applications of leadership de velopment occur in different co ntexts and contextual factors sometimes influence program goals and design (H annum, Martineau, & Reinelt, 2007). Three inter-related program contexts incl ude rural, agricultural, and grassr oots leadership development. Each of these program areas might focus on a diffe rent target audience, but they also overlap considerably and all tie into the interests of a group like Farm Bureau. Even still, it may be helpful to consider the literature co ntributions of each area separately. Rural Leadership Development In order to ensure success facing the challe nges of adult education in rural leadership development, quality research must be perfor med and utilized, but that research has been lacking. A variety of publicati ons exists on the topi c of rural community development, and many of the publications use the phrase “leadership development.” However, little research has focused on programmatic efforts for the developmen t of rural leaders. In fact, an extensive review of literature in Cambridge Scientific Ab stracts yielded only 15 rele vant research articles over a decade (1994-2004) of publication (Kaufm an & Rudd, in press). Among the articles found, sub-topic areas identified in cluded Partnerships, Political Sh ifts, Safety & Health, Gender Equity, Public Discourse, Statew ide Program Impact, and Continuing Education. However, each area lacked adequate saturation of research. The effectiveness of leadership development in rural areas is severely threatened by this lack of published research. W ith increasingly limited

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51 resources, those pursuing rural l eadership development must addr ess significant deficiencies in the research and share findings for the better ment of all (Kaufman & Rudd, in press). For practitioners in rural leadership devel opment, a helpful guide has been published by Hustedde and Woodward (1996) through the Univ ersity of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service. According to the report, “many social scientists, busine ss leaders, and others recognize that the key to addressing rural problems is the ‘capacity building’ of local leaders and citizens” (p. 1). The model proposed for capacity building starts with the development of clear goals around which activities can be structured. In addition, Hustedde and W oodward suggest basing leadership programs on the concept of “commun ity trusteeship.” Community trustees are servant-leaders who make “an active and caring co mmitment to the community” (p. 2). Essential public skills to be taught in a rural leadersh ip development program might include: active listening, collaboration, conflict resolution, deliberation, evalua tion, facilitation, imagination, interviewing, negotiation, power analysis, strategic planning, team building, vigilance, visioning, and volunteer management. Hustedde and Woodwa rd caution against lecture formats in rural leadership development programs and instead advocate for activities that stimulate critical thinking. Dhanakumar, Rossing, and Campbell (1996) also advocate for activi ties that involve critical thinking, and have observed concrete benefits from these activ ities. In their evaluation of the Wisconsin Rural Leaders Program, they found th at “rural leaders lear n best by a process of action and reflection” (p. 6). Pr evious studies on civic particip ation and socio-economic status suggest that rural citizens, as a lower socio-economic class, might not engage in civic activities. However, the research by Dhanakumar, Rossing, and Campbell found that the Wisconsin Rural Leaders Program improved civic engagement among rural citizens. This finding provides

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52 confirmation for previous research by Martin and Wilkinson (1985) who concluded that leadership development mediates the relationship between public affairs participation and socioeconomic background. Accordingly, “leade rship development programs can have an important redistributive effect,” providing real economic bene fits to rural citizens and communities (Martin & Wilkinson, p. 106) Agricultural Leadership Development Agricultural leadership can encompass a broad reach of topics and programs. In reviewing research with keywords of “agri cultural” and “leadership,” we find that subject areas include leadership programs for rural youth, leadership education programs in colleges of agriculture, adult agricultural leadership programs, governme ntal agricultural agency positions, and general rural community development efforts. Among thes e topics, all require additional research to further the field and scholarship of agricultura l leadership (E. Osborne 2007; Rudd et al., 2004). Fortunately, the field has found a home and increased acceptance in the disc ipline of ag ricultural education. More and more, resear ch conferences and journals re lated to agricultural education are welcoming research in the area of agricultura l leadership. In additi on, collegiate departments of agricultural education ar e increasingly offering course s and programs in agricultural leadership (F. W. Brown & Fritz, 1994; S. Fr itz, Hoover, Weeks, Townsend, & Carter, 2003; S. Fritz, Townsend et al., 2003; S. M. Fritz & Brown, 1998). Although many agricultural leadership efforts are taking place throughout the world, the research findings related to these efforts ar e too often unpublished. Fo rtunately, individuals engaged in the field of agricultu ral leadership development are a collegial group and often share unpublished research findings. For example, th e Arkansas LeadAR program recently conducted a full review of their efforts, summarizing al l of their program mate rials and conducting focus group interviews with program graduates and st akeholders (Black, Day, Roberts, Roseleip, &

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53 Singletary, 2005). Although these re search findings have not been formally published, they were shared informally at the 2005 International A ssociation of Programs for Agricultural Leaders (IAPAL) conference. IAPAL members were inv ited to request additional details from the research, and the LeadAR program director ma iled full research findings to individuals who requested them. Another example of adult agricultural leadersh ip program research being shared informally is recent research evaluating the Ohio LEAD program. Black, the Ohio LEAD program director, informally shared some of her research desi gn at the 2005 IAPAL conference. She has since completed her evaluation and provided an executi ve summary of the findings to select IAPAL members (Black, 2006). Black observed that 86% of participants recogn ized personal changes as a result of program participation. Those ch anges were observed at three different levels: individual, organizational, and community. Re spondents reported being most affected by the program at the individual level. The most hi ghly reported change was in networking, with 63% of respondents reporting an increas e in their use of social netw orks. The benefits of this increased networking carried over into their business activities, thus providing change at the organizational level. In addition, respondent s indicated that the program improved their decision-making skills and their ability to facilit ate change. At the community level, 75% of respondents reported an increased appreciation fo r cultural diversity and 45% of respondents reported increased involvement in local projects and/or organizat ions. Black and Earnest (2006) presented some of the findings at the annual conference of the International Leadership Association. As of February 2007, the findings of the study had not been published in any research journals that might allow the in formation to be more widely used.

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54 One evaluation of the agricultural leadership program in Florida has been published, while other evaluation findings and efforts have been di stributed only to a limited degree. Based on interviews with program partic ipants, spouses, and associates, Carter and Rudd (2000) found that consistent program outcomes included: “network ing, a broader perspectiv e of the issues, an increased knowledge of people’s pe rsonalities, and a continued desi re to learn and keep learning throughout their life” (p. 203). A few years later, Carter and Ladewig (2004), completed an unpublished evaluation that provided some confirma tion of these findings. Program alumni were asked to identify “outstanding feat ures of this program that ma ke it attractive for someone in agriculture and natural re sources.” The top three findings in cluded: (1) increased contacts and networking opportunities, (2) exposure to different people, places, and ideas, and (3) leadership development. In addition, study participants reported the program improved their communication skills and caused them to be more involved in organizations (agriculture and others) on a community, state and national level. Carter and Ladewig also asked program alumni to identify areas for program improvement. Based on responses in questionnaires and small group discussions, four themes were identified where the program needs to incorporate changes and continue to monitor for progress. The four theme areas were: alumni involvement, program design, program persona, and life after the leader ship program experience. Recommendations for changes were specific to the program, and the importance of context in the recommendations may be why the Carter and Ladewig study was unpublished. Grassroots Leadership Development Scholars that study grassroots asso ciations argue that leadership in grassroots situations “tends to be very different from work organization manage ment, especially business and government organization management” (Smith, 2000, p. 150). Based on an exploration of 23

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55 organizations involved with grassroots l eaders, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation (2000) has identified five key characterist ics of grassroots leadership: 1. They have different motivations and needs than those of traditional “positional” leaders; 2. Investing in grassroots leadership devel opment encourages long-term problem-solving; 3. In developing grassroots lead ers, the best results are achie ved by using a triple focus on the individual leaders, the i nvolved organization, and the comm unity or issue of concern; 4. Programs work best when the investment in grassroots leadership is deliberate; and 5. Grassroots leaders encourag e further support of grassr oots leadership. (p. 6) Although formal training of grassroots leader s has been limited (Smith, 2000), such efforts have been increasing, especially since the late 1990s (Behrens & Benham, 2007). The W.K. Kellogg Foundation (1999) has identi fied key results or characters tics of effective grassroots leadership development programs. Those include: 1. Connect individuals and organizations to an overarching vision or goal for the community; 2. Assist leaders in moving from single issu e or isolated problem-solving to an understanding of the interrela tionship of issues, power a nd change strategies in a community; 3. Expand ability to work through differing posi tions and across divisive boundaries to achieve results for the community; 4. Foster networking within a nd outside the community; and 5. Offer follow-up to support leaders in usi ng new skills or strategies. (W.K. Kellogg Foundation, 1999, p. 8) The Center for Participatory Change has pr oposed eight core elements for achieving success in grassroots efforts: (1) relationships and fun, (2) mission and vision, (3) values, (4) community work, (5) building the organization, (6) resources, (7) ne tworks and partnerships, and (8) growth and learning (White, Castelloe, Butterworth, & Watson, 2003). These elements should be considered when planning grassr oots leadership development programs.

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56 Although leadership development efforts in rura l and agricultural se ttings are in some ways unique, they are not necessarily distinct from grassroots leadership development. Efforts to improve leadership development programs for agri cultural and rural const ituents would benefit from taking a grassroots approach and applyi ng the findings associat ed with grassroots leadership development (Burgraff, 1999; Fl uharty, 2004; W.K. Kellogg Foundation, 1999). One resource for guiding efforts to improve leadership development programming is The Handbook for Leadership Development Evaluation published by the Center for Creative Leadership and edited by Hannum, Martineau, and Reinelt (2007). Nonprofit Organizations Overview Many leadership development programs are conducted through nonprofit organizations. The nonprofit sector is thriving, and the opportun ities facing nonprofit orga nizations present a promising future for those that are able to adapt appropriately. The number of Americans employed in the nonprofit sector has doubled in the last 25 years (Independent Sector, 2004, p. 1). Based on 1997-2001 figures from the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, th e average annual growth rate fo r employment in nonprofits is 2.5 percent, which is well above that for bus iness (1.8%) and government (1.6%). Total employment in the nonprofit sector is 12.5 millio n, 9.5 percent of total all employment in the United States (Independent Sector, 2004). Based on a 2002 report published by Rollins College Florida’s nonprofit sector is a major contributor to the state economy. According to the report, Fl orida’s nonprofit organizations: Number more than 50,000; Directly employ approximately 430,000 people;

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57 Generate an additional 360,000 j obs as a result of spending by the organizations and their employees; Comprise the state’s sixth largest source of employment among all industry sectors; Hold assets exceeding $63 billion; Receive more than $43 billion in annual income; Generate more than $22 billion in total personal income; Generate more than $61 bill ion in total economic activity; Have grown faster than the state’s overall economy; and Attract 88 million hours of volunteer time, equal to the work of more than 42,000 full-time employees. (Public Sector Consultants, 2002, p. 7) With respect to jobs in Florida, the report indicates that “approximately 6 percent of all employment in Florida is based in the nonprofit se ctor” (Public Sector Co nsultants, 2002, p. 11). Florida’s nonprofit organizations employ more people than many other employment sectors, including the construction; whol esale trade; transportation, co mmunication, and utilities; and mining sectors. Employees in Florida’s nonprofit organizations are paid an average wage of $26,197. By applying a model developed by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, researchers determined that 30.4 jobs are created for every $1 million in nonprofit expenditures. In total, it is estimated that the nonprofit sector generate d an additional 360,415 j obs in Florida in 1999 (Public Sector Consultants, 2002, p. 23). One reason for the nonprofit sector’s strong growth in the United States is the success they have had in the political arena. Although nonprofits represent onl y 7 percent of the interest groups in Washington DC, from the 1960s through the 1990s nonprofit groups “accounted for anywhere from 24 to 32 percent of the congr essional testimony, generated between 29 and 40 percent of the press coverage of pending legislat ion, and were nearly 80 pe rcent as effective in

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58 passing legislation they favored as the business l obbies against which they were often arrayed” (Salamon, 2002b, p. 43-44). Crucial nonprofit opportunities are social and demographi c shifts, new philanthropic resources, greater visibility and policy salien ce, and growth of government social welfare spending (Salamon, 2002b). Demographic shif ts in the world’s population have allowed nonprofits to tap into the resour ces (both financial and human) of an aging population. Retirees are now an important source from which to dr aw volunteers. New philanthropic resources are another area of opportunity, incl uding intergenerational transfer of wealth, new wealth, and corporate partnerships/collabora tions (Salamon, 2002b). In rela tion to these prospects, the financial industry has create d new avenues for securing private donations, such as trusts, annuities, etc. Nonprofit organizations must capitalize on these new philanthropic resources. For many nonprofits, recent tragedies in the form of natural disasters and terrorist attacks have resulted in greater visibility and policy salience. How a nonprof it organization responds to such issues can have significant impacts on its futu re reputation and support. Many social welfare programs have capitalized on opportunity areas and have received larger government investments in recent years. The opportunities facing the nonprofit sector present a promising future for those organizations that are able to adapt appropriately. The nonprofit response has generally been “a story of resilience,” but it requ ires a balance “between the step s nonprofits must take to survive and those they must take to remain distinctive” (Salamon, 2002a, p. 5). Leadership One significant deficiency on the horizon fo r the nonprofit sector is leadership. In a nationwide study, Tierney (2006) found that nonprofit organizations will need 640,000 new senior-level managers in the next decade. Th is number is 2.4 times the number currently

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59 employed. By the year 2016, America’s nonprofit or ganizations are expected to need about 80,000 new senior managers per year. According to Tierney, “the leadership deficit looms as the greatest challenge facing nonprofits over the next ten years” (p. 4). Although leadership in the form of paid staff is critical for most nonprofit organizations, leadership from volunteer board me mbers is also a topic worthy of consideration. The nonprofit literature consistently identifies positive relatio nship between organizational effectiveness and overall board performance (Car ver, 1997; Drucker, 1990; Herman & Renz, 2002; Herman, Renz, & Heimovics, 1996). Furthermore, research sugg ests that nonprofit or ganizations can take intentional steps to improve board performa nce (Brudney & Murray, 1998; J. C. Green & Griesinger, 1996; Herman & Renz, 1998, 2004; Holland, Chait, & Taylor, 1989; Holland & Jackson, 1998). “The generally accepted view is th at boards that follow th e right practices or use more of the practices will be more effective than boards that do not, a nd that more effective boards will result in more effective organizatio ns” (Herman & Renz, 1999, p. 113). This is not to say that there is one best way to create effective boards, but it does suggest that “there are likely to be improvements in both board and organi zational effectiveness from efforts to improve how boards do their work” (Herman & Renz, 1997, p. 14) Holland and Jackson (1998) have identified six dimensions of board competency that they suggest capture the foundational elements of nonprofit governance: Contextual: the board understands and takes into account the cu lture, values, mission, and norms of the organization it governs. Educational: the board takes the necessary steps to ensure that members are well informed about the organization, the professions work ing there, and the board’s own roles, responsibilities, and performance. Interpersonal: the board nurtures the development of its members as a group, attends to the board’s collective welfare, and fosters a sense of cohesiveness and teamwork. Analytical: the board recognizes complexities and sub tleties in the issues it faces, and it draws upon multiple perspectives to dissect complex problems and to synthesize appropriate responses.

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60 Political: the board accepts that one of its primary responsibi lities is to develop and maintain healthy two-way communications and positive relationships with key constituencies. Strategic: the board helps envision and shape ins titutional direction and helps ensure a strategic approach to the or ganization’s future. (p. 122-123) These dimensions of board competence are a helpful starting point for understanding nonprofit board performance in genera l, but they should be considered in context. Most of the research on nonprofit board development and organi zational effectiveness highlights charitable organizations with paid staff members, leavi ng out membership organizations and volunteer managed organizations. Smith and Shen ( 1996) conducted a study of thirty-nine volunteermanaged organizations and found that “many hypotheses suggested by others for nonprofit organizations with paid staff do not seem to transfer to volunteer nonpr ofit groups” (p. 271). Smith and Shen did find that volunteer nonprofit organizational governance significantly effects reputational effectiveness. However, they ur ge additional research with volunteer nonprofit organizations, and they encourage the investig ation of other measures of effectiveness. More empirical evidence is needed to determine if th e overriding hypotheses on nonprofit organizational effectiveness are applicable in nonprofit membership organizations. Unfortunately, “the more general tendency of nonprofit scholars is to ignore membership organizations, especially grass-roots associa tions” (Smith & Shen, 1996, p. 285). The Florida Farm Bureau Federation (FFBF) is such an organization and provides the context for this research study. Florida Farm Bureau Federation The Florida Farm Bureau Federation (FFBF) is a nonprofit organiza tion that is closely associated with grassroots, agricultural, and ru ral leadership development. A program conducted by FFBF for its local leaders is the focus of this study.

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61 History In the 1800s, the earliest organizations of farmers began to develop, organizing under a variety of names and philosophies, including The Grange The Farmer's Alliance The Agricultural Wheel The Ancient Order of Gleaners and the Equity The Hatch Act of 1862 established the land grant unive rsity system and agricultural experiment stations. The Cooperative Extension Service soon provided agricult ural agents in each county (American Farm Bureau Federation, 2005). Continued challenges in the agricultural sect or encouraged the formation of county farm bureaus in the early 1900s. The first represen tation was in 1911 when John Barron was hired as a “farm bureau” representative within New York’s Broome County Cooperative Extension Service. Missouri formed the first statew ide Farm Bureau organization in 1915, and the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFB F) was organized in 1919 (AFBF, 2005). In 1941, Florida Citrus Growers (FCG) contact ed AFBF in Chicago and AFBF sent a representative to the next FCG directors mee ting. A general farmers meeting was called in Orlando, attended by "Cap'n Ed" O'Neal, president of AFBF, and it was d ecided that FCG would be laid to rest and resurrected as the heart of a new Farm Bureau organization affiliated with AFBF. The first FFBF convention was held on November 15, 1941. About 100 farmers attended and elected George L. Fullerton as FFB F's first president. The charter outlined the goals of the Federation: (1) give Florida farmer s a special identity; (2) study and promote better cultural and research practices product quality improvement, improved marketing methods and market stabilization; (3) represent farmers in the Legislature, (4) compile and disseminate agricultural and market data to farmers; and (5) organize county Farm Bureau units. On March 13, 1942 the first county Farm Bureau was formed in Dade County. By the time Florida Farm Bureau celebrated its first birthday, membersh ip had reached 1,180 and 17 county Farm Bureaus

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62 had been established. By the end of the 1950s, membership in FFBF had more than tripled. More than half of FFBF counties had their own offices, many staffed with full-time secretaries (FFBF, 2007a). Mission, Vision, and Goals The FFBF mission is “to increase the net income of farmers and ranchers, and to improve the quality of rural life” (personal communi cation, Rod Hemphill, November 9, 2005). The FFBF board of directors have adopted the followi ng vision: “Florida Farm Bureau will be the most effective, influential and respected Farm Bureau in the nation and will be recognized as Florida’s 'Voice of Agriculture’” (FFBF, 2006a). The mission of the American Farm Bureau Federation is “to implement policies that are developed by members and provide programs that will improve the financial well-being and quality of life for farmers and ranchers” (American Farm Bureau Federation, 2006). The FFBF Goals, as outlined by the elected leadership, include: 1. Continue to increase membership an d maintain a strong financial base; 2. Continue to build stronger relations hips with the county Farm Bureaus; 3. Have a strong PR program to promote Farm Bureau and the value of agriculture to the citizens of Florida; 4. Have our members, policy makers, agricultura l organizations and governmental agencies view Farm Bureau as a dependable source of factual, reliable and timely information on agricultural issues; 5. Continue to encourage Farm Bureau members to become involved in the political process and seek public office; 6. Strengthen our committee system – Wome n, Young Farmer & Rancher, Advisory Committees, Ag in the Classroom, etc. – a nd increase opportunities to involve more people in Farm Bureau; 7. Work closely with the other agricultural groups, IFAS and the regulatory agencies; 8. Keep up our lobbying efforts in Tallahassee a nd increase our efforts in Washington;

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63 9. Provide educational programs for member s, county leaders, staff & agents; and 10. Seek ways to provide added services and benefits to our members. (Loop, 2004) Local Farm Bureau Units According to the FFBF (2006b) County Presiden t’s Desk Book, “the county Farm Bureau is the most important unit of Farm Bureau” ( p. 68). These local groups are organized to: 1. Solve the problems of the farm, the farm home, and the rural community through the advantages of organized action. Why? So that those engaged in agriculture may have the opportunity for economic prosper ity in their chosen work. 2. Cultivate free enterprise and citizenship by instilling in Americans those ideals and principles which are the foundations of our agricultural heritage. 3. Help the Florida Farm Bureau Federation, th e Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, and the Ag ricultural Extension Service develop better methods and practices in farming and farm management, thus improving the conditions of rural life. 4. Unite the farmers of the county into an orga nization for the promotion and protection of their common interests w ithout regard to political or religious affiliation. 5. Foster and encourage the development of commodity marketing, and the purchase of farm supplies on a cooperative non-profit basis. 6. Cooperate in the achievement of common ai ms and purposes with other county Farm Bureaus, the Florida Farm Bureau Federation, and the American Farm Bureau Federation. (FFBF, 2006b, p. 68) These local tasks are intended to be carried out through two formal structures: the Farm Bureau committee system and the Board of Directors (FFBF, 2006b). Although county Farm Bureaus may involve these structures separately the local committee system is often embedded within the Board of Directors. As a result, efforts for change need to be channeled through the directors on the local board. Local Boards of Directors “The success of a county Farm Bureau depe nds largely upon the interest shown by its Board of Directors” (FFBF, 2006b, p. 51). In this capacity, FFBF has over 700 local board members, grouped into 61 local boards (FFBF, 2006c). These board members are elected by the

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64 local membership and assigned the task of providing leadership for local Farm Bureau initiatives and issues. Although the local boards vary c onsiderably in size and structure, some generalizations about board members can be drawn from Carter’s 2004 study of FFBF. “On average, Farm Bureau board members spend 8.4 hours per month on Farm Bureau activities, which includes participating in meetings, act ivities, events and c onventions and reading information in support of these activities” (Car ter, p. 86). FFBF local board members attend an average of one Farm Bureau event per month. In 2004, the average tenure of FFBF local board members was 11.5 years, with 14% having served more than 20 y ears. One-third of the board members had served as president of the local FFBF board. They were also active in other organizations, with 71% actively involved in ot her agricultural organizations and 64% actively involved in other civic organizatio ns. More than half of the FFBF board members were serving on boards of other organizations. The average length of Farm Bureau membership for local FFBF board members was more than 20 years. Nearly three-fourths of these board members were raised by parents who were also Farm Bur eau members. The majority were male (88%), married (86%), over 45 years old (54%), and had children (94%). Board member selection and rotation varies from one local board to another. Some local boards have specific guidelines and re strictions while other board members Field Staff FFBF field staff members are the paid employ ees of the state federation who serve as liaisons between the county Farm Bureau unit a nd the state organization (Carter, 2004; FFBF, 2006a). FFBF divides Florida into eight geographic districts, a nd one field staff member is assigned to each district. FFBF fi eld staff members serve in the o fficial capacity of “Assistant Director of Field Services.” Accordingly, field staff member s are “responsible for working closely with the County Farm Bureau unit to accomplish goals and object ives of the Florida

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65 Farm Bureau Federation” (FFBF, 2005a, p. 1). They generally meet on a monthly basis with each of the local FFBF boards within their district Field staff members provide support in the implementation of Farm Bureau programs and activities. Prior to the “Strengthening the Voice” progr am the FFBF field staff members’ role in leadership development lacked any formal structure. However, a traditiona l responsibility of the field staff has always been to surface grassroots leaders for the organization. The actual methods of recruiting and training these leaders varied from one field st aff member to another (personal communication, Ray Crawford, February 2, 2007). Delivery of the Farm Bureau Foundations program was shared by field staff and other FFBF staff. The preparation for this delivery in cluded a three-day train-the-trainer session. In addition to this preparation, FFBF field staff members are in the best position to provide objective observation of changes in local boa rd behavior, including implementation of the Farm Bureau Foundations Best Practices The primary advantage of the field staff members is their regular interaction with local FFBF boards and members. Summary Chapter 2 provided the theoretical and conceptu al framework for the study. Goal setting theory was highlighted, and it was connected with the belief that conscious goals affect action. Goal specificity and difficulty are important goal components that affect outcomes. According to goal setting theory, goals affect performan ce through four mechanisms: (1) choice/direction, (2) effort, (3) persistence, and (4) strategies. In addition, goal performa nce is explained by three moderators: (1) goal commitment, (2) feedback, and (3) task comp lexity. Findings on the effect of demographic variables on goal outcomes have not been consistent. However, some findings suggest the need to control for education le vel, ethnicity, job tenure, age, and gender.

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66 Adult education literature was discussed, including research on adult motivation to learn. Wlodkowski (1999) suggests that adult motivation to learn is the sum of four factors: success, volition, value, and enjoyment. Appropriate program planning models for adult education include: the Andragogy in Pract ice Model (Knowles et al., 2005) and the Conceptual Programming Model (Boone et al., 2002). Kirkpa trick’s (1998) Four Levels is helpful for evaluation, but opportunities to calculate return on investment should also be considered. Research findings related to rural leadersh ip development were discussed. Published research specific to rural leadership developm ent is limited. However, an evaluation of the Wisconsin Rural Leaders program suggests that “r ural leaders learn best by a process of action and reflection” (Dhanakumar et al., 1996, p. 6). A model for rural leadership development programming advocated for activiti es that stimulate critical th inking. Research on agricultural leadership development programs hold relevance for rural leadership development, but few published studies exists. Studies from the Ke llogg Foundation and the Cent er for Participatory Change provide guidance for grassroots leadersh ip development programs, and these findings have application in the area of rural leadership development. Many leadership development programs are conducted through nonprofit organizations. The nonprofit sector is thriving, and the opportun ities facing nonprofit orga nizations present a promising future for those that are able to ad apt appropriately. A Fl orida nonprofit organization that is closely associated with grassroots, agri cultural, and rural leadership development is the Florida Farm Bureau Federation (FFBF). FFBF is the focus organization of this research study. Delivery of the Farm Bureau Foundations traini ng program was shared by FFBF field staff and other FFBF staff. Recipients of the training were FFBF local board members. Job duties and demographics of these groups were discussed.

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67 Figure 2-1. Theory of planned behavior. Note From “TpB Model,” by I. Ajzen, 2006, Online at http://people.umass.edu/aizen/tpb.html Copyright 2006 by Icek Aizen. Reprinted with permission. Behavioral Beliefs Attitude Toward the Behavi o r Normative Beliefs Subjective Norm Control Beliefs Perceived Behavioral C o ntr o l Intention Behavior Actual Behavioral Control

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68 Figure 2-2. Andragogy in Practice M odel. Note. From “The Adult Learner,” by M. S. Knowles, E. F. Holton, and R. A. Swanson, 2005, p. 149. Copyright 2005 by Elsevier. Reprinted with permission. 1. Learners Need to Know why what how 2. Self-Concept of the Learner autonomous self-directing 3. Prior Experience of the Learner resource mental models 4. Readiness to Learn life related developmental task 5. Orientation to Learning problem centered contextual 6. Motivation to Learn intrinsic value personal payoff Andragogy: Core Adult Learning Principles Individual and Situational Differences Goals and Purposes for Learnin g Situational Differences Individual Growth Individual Learner Differences Societal Growth Subject Matter Differences Institutional Growth

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69 CHAPTER 3 METHODS Research Design Although the study involved collection of qualitativ e support data, the overall design of the study was primarily quantitative. Quantitative research starts with a more specific problem than qualitative research; it is gene rally considered deductive in natu re, used to test a preexisting theory. Quantitative research is characterized by its use of objective measurement and statistical analysis of numeric data (Ary et al., 2002). Quantitative research involves the use of standardized instruments. Although preexisting instruments can be quite useful, especially in providing compar ison data, often social science researchers develop quantitative in struments that are designed to measure more specifically the variables involved in a particular situation. At the tim e of this study, no standardized instruments had been developed for testing goal -setting theory in a uni versal setti ng (personal communication, Edwin Locke, May 4, 2006). The researcher and project administrators developed three different questionnai res to collect data for this study. Ary et al. (2002) describe a su rvey as a research technique in which data are gathered by asking questions of a group of individuals. Surv ey research asks quest ions about the nature, incidence, or distribu tion of variables and/or the relationships among those variables. No manipulation is attempted on the variables, only de scriptions of variables and their relationships as they naturally occur. Descriptive research was used to accomp lish research objectives one through three: 1. Describe select demographics of local Flor ida Farm Bureau board members and program participants; 2. Measure the engagement level of local Florida Farm Bureau board members in Farm Bureau Foundations Best Practices ; and

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70 3. Measure the goal attributes experience d by program particip ants with their Farm Bureau Foundations Best Practices goal. According to Ary and others (2002 ), descriptive resear ch is used to “summarize, organize, and describe observations” (p. 118). The descriptive statistics rele vant to objectives one through three will be summarized by arrang ing the measures into frequenc y distributions and presenting them in graphic form. A correlational and causal-comparative or ex post facto design was employed to accomplish objectives four and five: 4. Explain individual-level performance w ith best practices identified in the Farm Bureau Foundations program; and 5. Explain board-level perf ormance with best practices identified in the Farm Bureau Foundations program. In an ex post facto design, the researcher does not have direct control over the independent variable(s) and any variations in the independent variable(s) have already been determined prior to the research being co nducted (Ary et al., 2002). With respect to objectives four a nd five, the dependent variable was Farm Bureau Foundations Best Practices performance. Performance at th e individual level was self-reported, whereas performance at the board-level was evalua ted as the mean of ratings among local board members. In addition, board performance was ra ted by a FFBF staff member familiar with the local board. A more detailed de scription about how performance was measured and indexed is provided later in this chapter. Independent variables analyzed for objectiv es four and five we re demographic and program-related variables. The demographic va riables included: county of residence, age, gender, ethnicity, education level, and Farm Bureau tenure. Pr ogram-related variables included:

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71 program participation, perceptions of the goal-setting process, and perceptions of engagement in board practices. This study was conducted over the course of one year. Figure 3-1 outlines a complete timeline for the procedures involved in this study. Populations This study was a census of two separate groups: FFBF local board members and FFBF field staff. Although the local board members we re a complete population in and of themselves, they were further divided into subgroups based on participation in the Farm Bureau Foundations program. During this study, different survey instruments were administered to each population and/or sub-group. Data from this study were analyzed at two di fferent levels of unit analysis: individual and local board of directors. The following sect ions describe the selection of individuals for participation in the study. The response rates are described in the data collection procedures section of this chapter. Participant Selection: FF BF Local Board Members FFBF has over 700 local board members se rving 61 county-level membership groups (FFBF, 2006c). These local board memb ers were the target population for the Strengthening the Voice program. This research study includes all FFBF local board members because program participants and non-participants alike can provide valuable information on best practices adoption. In order to compare effects of program participatio n, the population of FFBF local board members was divided into three sub-groups. The first sub-group, labeled the “treatment group,” included local FFBF board members who participated in the Farm Bureau Foundations program. The second sub-group, labeled the “co ntrol group,” included board members in counties where no one participated in the Farm Bureau Foundations program. The third subgroup, labeled the “spillover treatment group,” in cluded board members who did not participate

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72 in the Farm Bureau Foundations program but were members of a local FFBF board in which another director participated in the program. (Note: Local boar ds are generally identified by county, with the exception that Palm Beach Count y has two local boards – Palm Beach and West Palm Beach.) For the treatment group, a list of Farm Bureau Foundations program participants was obtained from the FFBF Field Servic es office. The participant list included contact information and was used as the population frame. Some of the individuals on the lis t could not be matched to FFBF’s current list of local board members. However, the re searcher made the decision to include everyone on the particip ant list rather than exclude individuals who fit the true population yet were missing from the FFBF list of cu rrent local board members. The initial list of participants identif ied 121 program participants. Howe ver, additional investigation and communication with program presenters suggeste d that program particip ation totaled 156. Of those 156, though, not all were local FFBF board me mbers. FFBF staff members were able to provide contact information for 138 program partic ipants. An invitation to participate in the study was mailed to those individuals on the updated program partic ipation list (n=138). Initially, the control group and the spillover treatment group were combined based on their common attribute – their absen ce from participation in the Farm Bureau Foundations workshop. A database of local board members was obtai ned from FFBF and identified workshop participants were removed from the list. Th e remaining 611 local board members represented the most comprehensive list available to serv e as the population frame for local FFBF board members who did not participate in the Farm Bureau Foundations workshop. This aggregate of the control group and the spillover treatment group is referred to as the non-attendee group (n=611).

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73 Although the initial division of the population by workshop attendance was considered accurate, based on Farm Bureau’s records, survey evidence collected during the course of this study revealed some discrepancies. From the non-attendee group, 10 survey respondents revealed that they had in fact participated in the workshop. In addition, one survey respondent from the treatment group indicated absence from the workshop. Other information collected through letters and phone calls revealed that some individuals were duplicated or were not in the target population. Specifically, one duplicate wa s removed from the treatment group and three duplicates were removed from the non-attendee group. In addition, three individuals from the non-attendee group were identified as deceased. From the treatment group, one individual was dropped after contacts questioned the accuracy of the name on record, and another was dropped after no credible contact information was obtained. Responses from 22 individuals revealed that they either were no longer members of the local FFBF board or served in an ex-officio capacity and therefore did not meet the criteria for study participation. Among those non-board-members, six were from the treatment group and si xteen were from the non-attendee group. After the larger population of FFBF local board members was divided by workshop attendance, the distinction between the control group and the spillover treatment group was made using the board member database provided by FFBF. Once the database was sorted by county, board members in counties that had a participant in the Farm Bureau Foundations program were removed from the list. The remaining individu als in FFBF’s list of boa rd members represented the most comprehensive list available to serve as the population frame for the control group. For the spillover treatment group, board members in c ounties that had particip ants in the program were identified, and then actual participants we re removed from that list. The resulting

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74 population frame was the most comprehensive list available to represen t the population of the spillover treatment group. A final summary of the sub-groups is presented in Table 3-1. Participant Selection: FFBF Field Staff Because of their regular inter action with local FFBF boards, the FFBF assistant directors of field services (a.k.a. field staff) are in th e best position to observe changes in local board behavior, including implementation of the Farm Bureau Foundations Best Practices (personal communication, Ray Crawford, February 12, 2007). FFBF divides Florida into eight geographic districts, and one field st aff member is assigned to each district On average, field staff members work with eight different counties. The resear cher sought a census of FFBF field staff members in order to obtain a perspective of local FFB F board behavior relative to other local FFBF boards. The FFBF Field Services office supplied contact information for the FFBF field staff members, and all were invited to participate in the study. Instrumentation The study used three different self-administere d mail questionnaires to collect information relevant to the study objectives. The resear cher and project advisory committee worked collaboratively to design all three instruments. The “Local Board Practices Survey” (Appendix D) assesses local FFBF boards of director s’ current and recen t application of Farm Bureau Foundations Best Practices The “Best Practices Goal Survey” (Appendix E) assesses the Farm Bureau Foundations Best Practices adoption and goal achievement by Farm Bureau Foundations program participants. The “Field Staff Perceptions Survey” (Appendix F) collects information from FFBF field sta ff regarding their observations of Farm Bureau Foundations Best Practices being implemented by local FFBF boards of directors. The reliability and validity of the instrument s are important aspects to consider in all research studies utilizing survey instruments. Valid ity is a concept that re fers to whether or not

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75 an instrument measures what it is intended to meas ure (Ary et al., 2002). In an effort to improve validity of the researcher developed instruments, a panel of experts reviewed each instrument. This panel included individuals with research expertise at the Univer sity of Florida and individuals with organizational e xpertise in FFBF. The research er applied feedback from the panel of experts and made appropriate re visions to the survey instruments. The researcher pilot tested the survey inst ruments using cognitive interviews. Cognitive interviewing is not without its limitations. However, there is general agreement in the social sciences that cognitive interviewi ng is a valuable tool for testi ng and evaluating survey questions (Presser et al., 2004). For this study, five FFBF state board memb ers served as the subjects in the cognitive interviewing process. The protocol applied in the cognitive interviews can be found in Appendix G. The researcher used feedb ack from the cognitive interviews to further strengthen the validity and reliability of the in struments. The most significant concern that surfaced during the cognitive interviews related to survey length. As a result, the researcher eliminated a few questions that were deemed unn ecessary. In addition, a change was made in the numbering of the questions. Rather than usi ng consecutive numbers throughout, questions were identified by sections and numbering was rest arted at the beginning of each section. Although the change in numbering did not actually reduce the practical lengt h of the survey, it may have provided a reduction in the perceived length. Additiona l research is needed to validate the use of this practice. As an additional effort to strengthen and pr ovide support for the validity of the survey instruments, the researcher asked his PhD comm ittee to review the final instruments before mailing them to the study population. During this step, no additional changes to the instruments were suggested.

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76 Local Board Practices Survey The “Local Board Practices Survey” (Appendix D) is a researcher-developed instrument designed for use as a mailed questionnaire to lo cal-level FFBF board members. The instrument evaluates local FFBF boards of director s’ current and recent application of Farm Bureau Foundations Best Practices. The “Local Board Pr actices Survey” has four sections: A) “Board practices during the past six months…,” B) “Comparison with othe r six-month periods…,” C) “Limits to engagement in board memb er during the past six months…,” and D) “Please tell us about yourself…” Section A includes both individua l and board-level assessment of 17 local Farm Bureau board practices. These practices were taken directly from the Farm Bureau Foundations curriculum. Section B includes two questions th at ask participants to identify to what degree their individual engagement-level and the local board’s individual engagement-level has been more or less than usual. Section C includes four questions rela ted to confounding factors that may have limited individual engagement in board practices. Speci fically, the questions ask respondents to identify limits to engagement due to personal and prof essional factors. Section D includes nine demographic-related questions, in cluding county of residence, age, gender, ethnicity, educationlevel, length of membership in FFBF, FFBF boa rd tenure, recent meeting attendance, and Farm Bureau Foundations workshop attendance. The question abou t workshop attendance is included to check for discrepancies in population sub-gr ouping. In addition to the specific questions, space is provided in the questionnaire for study participants to add additional comments and qualitative information. Best Practices Goal Survey The “Best Practices Goal Survey” (Appendix E) is a researcher-developed instrument designed for use as a mailed questionnaire to Farm Bureau Foundations program participants

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77 (the treatment group). The instrume nt is intended to be used to evaluate the relationship between goal-setting theory component s and application of the Farm Bureau Foundations Best Practices The “Best Practices Goal Survey” includes the sa me sections as the “Local Board Practices Survey,” and it adds an additional section: “Best practices goal setting process…” This additional section includes 24 ques tions related to constructs asso ciated with goal setting theory and the high performance cycle. Constructs re presented include: goal speci ficity, goal difficulty, goal commitment, goal-related self-efficacy, and perf ormance. This section is appropriate for Farm Bureau Foundations program participants because they set individual goals for best practice adoption and should be able to reflect on that process. This instrument is not appropriate for those who did not participate in the program since they are not likely to have a goal on which to base their answers. In a ddition, the demographic section of the survey instrument asks participants to indicate the curren t availability and use of materials distributed at the Farm Bureau Foundations workshop. Field Staff Perceptions Survey The “Field Staff Perceptions Survey” (Appendix F) is a researcher-developed instrument designed for use as a mailed questionnaire to FFBF fi eld staff. The instrument is intended to be used as an external assessment of local FFBF boa rds of directors’ current and recent application of Farm Bureau Foundations Best Practices In addition, the instrument collects data on the field staff member’s tenure with Farm Bureau and their overall percep tions of local board members’ general application of Farm Bureau knowledge. The researcher designed the “Field Staff Perceptions Survey” for assessment of local boards where directors completed the Farm Bureau Foundations program and also of local boards wh ere no directors participated in the Farm Bureau Foundations program. The external assessment of participants and nonparticipants allows for additional comparison data for evaluating the impact of the Farm Bureau

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78 Foundations program. The “Field Staff Perceptions Survey” includes 17 questions related to local board application of Farm Bureau Foundations Best Practices These questions are repeated for each local board the field sta ff member oversees. Space is provided for study participants to provide additional comments and qualitative information. Data Collection Procedures Institutional Review Board Approval Prior to data collection, the Institutional Review Board (IRB02) at the University of Florida reviewed the study procedures and eval uated the ethical soundness of the study. Copies of the informed consent letters for study partic ipants and a proposal to conduct the study were submitted to the IRB-02. The informed consent letters described the study and the voluntary nature of participation (Appendix I). The IRB02 approved the research protocol and assigned an IRB protocol number: 2006-U-824. Once appr oval was granted, data were collected and analyzed by the researcher. Collection Procedures with FFBF Local Board Members The contact procedures for th is study employed strategies for achieving high response rates. Czaja and Blair (2005) have identified a number of re searcher practice aspects that improve unit non-response: prior notification abou t the survey, efforts to reach the respondent, initial contact and respondent selection intermediary (gatekee per), requesting participation, follow-up efforts, and refusal conversation (p. 199) These practices are reflected in Dillman’s (2000) Tailored Design Method Specific elements of the me thod include: “(1) a respondentfriendly questionnaire, (2) up to fi ve contacts with questionnaire recipient, (3) inclusion of stamped return envelopes, (4) personalized co rrespondence, and (5) a to ken financial incentive that is sent with the survey request” (p. 150). Dillman recommends financial incentives of one to five dollars be included with requests to respond to a mailed ques tionnaire. In the case of Farm

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79 Bureau, such an incentive could be perceived by study participan ts as a waste of their Farm Bureau membership dollars. As an alternativ e, FFBF planned to incl ude a lapel pin in the mailings. Unfortunately, the design and pr oduction of the pins took longer than FFBF anticipated, so the pins were not available for inclusion in the survey mailings. Consequently, Dillman’s fifth element recommended for improving response rates was not implemented. The researcher collected data during Octobe r and November of 2006. In an effort to improve credibility of the study, FFBF coordina ted all mailings to participants, using FFBF stationary and envelopes. On October 6, 2006, FFBF mailed a brief a pre-notice letter to study participants. The letter was sent from the FFBF president and indicated to recipients that they would soon be receiving survey materials. As suggested by Dillman (2000), the letter was “brief, personalized, positively worded, and aime d at building anticipation rather than providing the details or conditions for partic ipation in the survey” (p. 156). The template for the pre-notice is in Appendix H. Three days after the pre-notice letter was ma iled, the questionnaire packets were mailed to participants. The cover letter template for the survey mail-out was the informed consent letter approved by IRB-02. The cover letter included cr itical elements identified by Dillman (2000) to motivate response behavior: Date, Inside name and address, Salutations, What is this letter about?, Why this request is useful and important, Answers are confidential, Voluntary participation, Enclosure of stamped return envelope, and Who to contact with questions.

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80 Due to the volume of mailings, real signature s were not applied. However, Dillman (2000) offers that personalization, incl uding use of individual names a nd letterhead, “may compensate to some extent for being unable to apply real si gnatures” (p. 165). The template applied for the questionnaire cover letters is displayed in Appendix I. Seven days after the questi onnaire mail out, post cards (A ppendix J) were mailed to participants, thanking them for th eir participation and reminding th em to return their completed questionnaires. Such a postcard is recommended by Dillman’s (2000) Tailored Design Method Research by Dillman, Clark, and Sinclair (1995) suggests that use of reminder postcard increases total response rates by ei ght percentage points. At the time of the initial survey mailing, each study participant was assigned an individual identification number and all instruments were coded with these individual identification numbers. As the researcher received the completed instruments, the identification numbers were used to eliminate respondents from future requests for participation. Two weeks after the reminder postcards were mailed, replacement questionnaires were mailed to study participants from whom a comple ted questionnaire had not yet been received. As encouraged by Dillman’s (2000) Tailored Design Method the cover letter for this fourth contact expressed increased urgenc y and brought a tone of insisten ce beyond that of the previous contacts. In addition to compone nts included in the cover letter of the initial questionnaire mail out, the cover letter for the replacement ques tionnaire included feedback indicating others have responded yet we haven’t heard from you These feedback additions are consistent with Dillman’s Tailored Design Method The template applied for the replacement questionnaire cover letters is displayed in Appendix K.

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81 Dillman (2000) recommends that researchers follow up with survey non-respondents for a fifth contact, invoking special proced ures. The insistent nature and effectiveness of this request “stems from the simple fact that it is a fifth request, and it is being made by special mail or by telephone” (Dillman, p. 184). Certified mail, special delivery, and telephone follow-up phone calls are all effective ways to handle this “invoki ng of special procedures.” Research by Moore and Dillman (1980, cited in Dillman, 2000, p. 186) suggests that any one of these methods has return advantages over sending a nother first-class mailing. However, these special procedures also come with an increased cost, and that cost noticeably increases for every non-respondent included in this fifth contact. For this study, the fifth contact was a te lephone follow-up with randomly selected nonrespondents. Rather than urge these non-respondents to find and complete the mailed survey, the researcher asked them to answer a subset of questions over the phone. The primary use for this telephone collected data was to investigate the potential for unit non-response bias with the mailed questionnaires. Miller and Smith (1983) re fer to this technique as a “double-dip” of nonrespondents (p. 48). The script applied in th e telephone follow-ups for this study is found in Appendix L. For the phone follow-ups, the researcher used SPSS 12.0 for Windows™ to randomly select FFBF Local Board Members who had not responded within four weeks after the replacement questionnaires were mailed. N on-respondents who had participated in the Farm Bureau Foundations program component were over-sampled so that half of the telephone contacts would be with program participants and half would be with program non-participants. This over-sampling of program participants was d one because the program participants were the group of primary interest in this study. In or der to obtain phone numbers for the selected non-

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82 respondents, the researcher refe renced the FFBF membership database and used the “reverse address phone number look-up” tool on WhitePages.com Initially, 60 non-respondents were randomly selected for phone follow-ups. However, a high rate of failed call attempts prompted the researcher to randomly sel ect an additional 30 non-responde nts. After two weeks of phone call attempts, with multiple attempts for each i ndividual, the researcher had telephone-collected data from 32 FFBF Board Members, 15 workshop attendees and 17 non-attendees. In addition to the value of que stionnaire responses, the phone calls in this fifth contact helped to highlight reasons for non-response to th e mailed questionnaires. In some cases, an individual shared over the telephone that they do not respond to any surveys. (Surprisingly, one person who indicated that she never participates in surveys was willing to answer questions over the phone.) In other cases, telephone calls revealed that the person identified for participation in the study is outside of th e target population because he/she is no longer a member of the local FFBF board. Some telephone respondents shared th at they thought they had already returned the questionnaire. After further inve stigation, the research er determined that some respondents had returned a questionnaire for a different survey being conducted by FFBF. Unfortunately, this other FFBF survey overlapped the survey discusse d in this dissertation. It may be that a significant portion of non-respondents confused th e two surveys, which in turn impacted the response rate for this study. Re-group and additional mailing As data were collected, respons es suggested that 41 study partic ipants had participated in the Farm Bureau Foundations program component, even though their names were not on FFBF’s list of participants. As a result of pre-mailing grouping, th ese program participants were completing the shorter questionnaire, the “Local Bo ard Practices Survey,” rather than the “Best Practices Goal Survey” that included additional qu estions for program participants. In order to

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83 obtain these additional data, the researcher c onducted a follow-up mailing with these survey respondents. The cover letter aske d participants to complete th e incomplete questions of the enclosed “Best Practices Goal Survey,” which was pre-filled with their originally submitted answers to the “Local Board Practices” survey. This follow-up with 41 potentially mis-grouped study participants yielded responses from 16 indi viduals. Ten of those individuals provided at least a portion of the additionally requested data. The other six responding individuals indicated that they had made an error on th eir previous questionnai re and were not in f act in attendance at a Farm Bureau Foundations workshop. This evidence, in combination with FFBF’s participation records, suggested that regroupi ng was appropriate for only those who provided questionnaire data in response to the additional mailing of the “B est Practices Goal Survey.” Individuals who reported program participation on the “Local Bo ard Practices Survey” but did not return the “Best Practices Goal Survey” were kept in their original group of non-attendees. Unit response rate In the end, the data collecti on procedures in this study yi elded 85 responses from the treatment group (n=138). This corresponds to a unit response rate of 61.6% for the treatment group. The researcher obtained 82 responses from the control group (n=138), for a response rate of 59.4%. The researcher obtained 244 responses from the spillover treatment group (n=442), for a response rate of 55.2%. For the larger population of all FFBF local board members (N=718), survey responses were obtained from 4 11 individuals for an overall response rate of 57.2%. When considering the local board as a le vel of unit analysis, responses were received from at least one board member in 60 of the 61 local boards. This corr esponds to a local board response rate of 98.4%. The percent of countie s reaching increasing levels of individual response is displayed in Figure 3-2.

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84 Additional data from FFBF The mailed questionnaires asked respondents to identify their county and the number of years they had been a Farm Bureau member. Wh en respondents did not answer these questions, the researcher worked with FFBF staff to obt ain this information from FFBF membership records. In order to save time, these questi ons were not asked in the telephone calls to nonrespondents. Instead, the researcher relied dire ctly upon the FFBF membership records to obtain data on respondents’ county and years of Farm Bureau membership. Although the membership records were a reliab le source of information, some concerns exist regarding the validity of the years of membership data. For less tenured members, the FFBF database identified a specific date joined. However, for members who originally joined before the current computer system was in pla ce, no date joined was available. Instead, FFBF staff estimated the years of membership based on years of paid dues, as recorded in FFBF records. This would be a valid estimate of years of Farm Bureau membership for many study participants. However, FFBF staff shared that if a member was late in paying their annual dues, the number of years paid would start back at zero, causing an invalid estimate of years of membership. This error was noticeable for re spondents who reported their number of years on the local FFBF board to be greater than FFBF’s record of consecutive years of dues paid. In these observations, the researcher increased the y ears of membership to the equivalent number of years served on the local FFBF board. While th is recoding was likely an under-estimation of actual length of membership, it was the best estimation available to the researcher. FFBF records were also used to provide info rmation about the size of each local board. Board size was determined manually by counting the number of board members identified with each local board. This information was then ava ilable as an independent variable in the data analysis.

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85 FFBF Field Staff On November 3, 2006, the researcher E-ma iled the FFBF assistant directors of field services to request a brief phone interview. Th e template used for the E-mails may be found in Appendix M. Attached to the E-mail was a copy of the appropriate IRB informed consent form (Appendix N). As field staff me mbers responded to the E-mail, the researcher scheduled and conducted brief telephone interviews. The intent of these interviews was twofold: (1) to collect rich qualitative data regarding fi eld members’ perceptions of th e program and its impacts, and (2) prompt field staff members to begin thinking about program related board practices, so that they would be prepared to supply valid responses to the “Field Staff Perceptions Survey.” Each interview included two broad questions: 1. In what ways has board behavior changed or been reinforced as a result of participation in the Strengthening the Voice program? 2. In what ways do you believe the Strengthening the Voice could be improved? At the conclusion of each interview, the researcher followed up with an E-mail that included the “Field Staff Perceptions Survey” as an attachment. The E-mail asked the field staff member to complete each section of the questionnai re and return it to the researcher by the end of the month. One field staff member promp tly completed the questi onnaire and returned it by mail. During a FFBF field staff meeting at the en d of the month, other field members said that they never received the questionnaire. Hard copi es of the questionnaire were immediately made, and these field staff members completed the questionnaires at that time. In November 2006, when data were being coll ected from FFBF field staff members, one field staff person was on extended medical leave and another field staff position was vacant. For both of these circumstances, the FFBF director of field services indicat ed that no one on staff was qualified to answer questions about county-level board practi ces in the individual district

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86 (personal communication, Ray Crawford, Novemb er 20, 2006). The researcher did obtain survey responses from FFBF field staff members re presenting the six other districts. Data from six of the eight regions represents a response rate of 75%. When considering the local board as a level of unit analysis, data from FFBF field sta ff members provided ratings for 43 of the 61 local boards. This corresponds to a response rate of 70.5% at the local board unit-level of analysis. Data Analysis Procedures Data collected from the survey instrument s was analyzed using SAS 8.2 and 9.1.2 for Windows™. Unit Non-Response According to Dillman (2000), “non-response error occurs when a significant number of people in the survey sample do not respond to the questionnaire and have different characteristics from those who do respond, when these characteristics are important to the study”(p. 10). Anytime a response rate falls below 100%, a non-response bias may exist and can be a threat to the external validity of a st udy (Lindner, Murphy, & Brie rs, 2001). When evidence of non-response bias exists, cauti on must be exercised in genera lizing findings beyond those who fully participated in the study. In order to test for unit n on-response bias in data from the mailed questionnaires, the researcher conducted tests of ANOVA to identify differences in mean responses between the data collected from the mailed questionnaires and data collected from the telephone follow-up interviews. Specific demographic variables consider ed in this comparison included: age, gender, level of education, year of membership in FFBF, years of service on the local FFBF board, and number of local FFBF board meetings attende d in the last six m onths. Tests for ANOVA showed no significant different be tween the two groups on the variab les of age, gender, level of education, years of service on th e local FFBF board, and number of local FFBF board meetings

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87 attended in the last six months. However, ANOV A revealed that signific ant differences existed between mail respondents and phone respondents on y ears of membership in Farm Bureau. The mean years of membership for mail respondents was 23.4 years, with a standard deviation of 14.3. The mean years of membership for phone respondents was 17.1 years, with a standard deviation of 11.8. It is possible th at this difference was due to m easurement error, since years of membership for mail respondents was collected fr om the mailed questionnai re, whereas years of membership for phone respondents was collected fr om FFBF membership records. FFBF staff members recognize that the membership database is likely to under represent true years of membership, since it is based on consecutive years paid. (As previously mentioned, if a member was late on paying annual membership dues, th e count of consecutive years of membership would start back at one.) The difference between mail and phone responden ts could be attributed to measurement error and survey respondents considered repr esentative of non-respondents. However, ANOVA tests on ratings of performance fo r select best practices also revealed significant difference between mail respondents and phone respondents. The most extreme difference was in board performance ratings on the best practice of “sha re Farm Bureau facts and history in public relations activities.” The m ean rating for the mail respondents was 2.20, with a standard deviation of 0.75, while the mean rating for phone respondents was 1.67, with a standard deviation of 0.76. Analysis of varian ce revealed a significant difference, F (1, 412) = 14.16, p< .000. Statistical differences were observed with four other practices, but those differences were less extreme (i.e. p> .001). Such differences between groups could be attrib uted to differences in survey mode (selfadministered mail questionnaire vs. telephone in terview). Dillman (2000) and others have

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88 recognized consequences of mixedmode designs. Several research ers have noted differences in answers provided over the telephone compared to answers provided in a self-administered mail questionnaire (Dillman, 2000; Sc hwarz, Strack, Hippler, & Bi shop, 1991). The results of the tests comparing mail respondents and phone respondents casts some doubt on assumed similarities between respondent s and non-respondents. Furthe r investigation is warranted. In order to further investigate possibl e differences between respondents and nonrespondents, the research er compared early respondents to late respondents. The method is based on research that shows la te respondents are often similar to non-respondents (Ary et al., 2002; Clausen & Ford, 1947; Lindner et al., 2001; Miller & Smith, 1983). For this study, early and later respondents were classifi ed by waves of response, a stra tegy that has been supported by other researchers (Israel, 1992; Lindner et al., 2001). As questionnaires were mailed, each was given a number, and this number was used to identify each “wave.” The second wave of questionnaires mailed to non-respondents was nu mbered beginning with a “2” (either 200 or 2000, depending in which instrument). By distin guishing early and late respondents based on the questionnaire number, evidence suggests that la te respondents were not only late respondents, but they were further persuaded to respond by th e additional attempt to reach them. In fact, many may have discarded the firs t questionnaire but responded to the second questionnaire in order to avoid the nuisance of additional contact s. The early-late analysis compared 298 early respondents with 113 late respondents. Tests for ANOVA revealed no significant difference on the following demographics: age, gender, level of education, year of membership in FFBF, years of service on the local FFBF board, and number of local FFBF board meetings attended in the last six months. In addition, ANO VA test on ratings of performa nce for select best practices revealed no significant difference between early respondents and late respondents. The results of

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89 these tests suggest that no significant difference exists between study respondents and nonrespondents. Although the early to late comparison method s uggest that no signifi cant difference exists between respondents and non-respo ndents, caution should still be exercised in generalizing beyond the sample. In their discussion of the ear ly to late comparison method, Clausen and Ford (1947) concede that “the estimate for non-respondents is clearly in the nature of a guess, but it is an informed guess” (p. 507). Some doubt rema ins, particularly since phone respondents, as a representation of non-respondents, showed some significant differe nces from mail respondents. The difference may be a function of the differe nce in survey mode (s elf-administered mail questionnaire vs. telephone in terview) (Dillman, 2000; Schwar z et al., 1991). The caution required for extending findings from the study to the larger population may depend on the severity of consequences that might result in doing so. In other words, the data from this study can be assumed to be representative of the la rger population provided that doing so is not likely to have negative effects on the population. Item Non-Response Early in the data collecti on period, the researcher no ticed item non-response among multiple returned questionnaires. Item non-re sponse can prevent observations from being included in the data analysis, which in turn reduces statistical power (Gravetter & Wallnau, 2000) and can introduce bias in the data (Israel 1992; Miller & Smith, 1983; Ognibene, 1971). Among the returned questionnair es in this study, 269 (65.6%) were complete, while 141 (34.4%) had missing data for one or more variables. Of the que stionnaires with missing data, 13 were considered extreme in that they failed to answer more than half of the questions. The missing data from these observations would have limited the practical value of including them in the data analysis. As a result, the 13 observations with extreme missing data were treated as unit

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90 non-response and dropped from additional analysis. The resulting sampling population included 397 study participants, 81 from the treatment gr oup, 76 from the control group, and 240 from the spillover treatment group. Item non-response by gr oup is outlined in Table 3-2. A final usable response rate for each group is identified in Table 3-3. Dependent Variable Indexes Individual-level dependent variable As previously stated, the dependent variab le for this study was performance on Farm Bureau related practices. On an individual leve l, this performance was measured by the survey instrument as a self-rating. This variable was cr eated as an index of the individual ratings of the 17 best practices identified in th e survey instrument. Study particip ants were asked to indicate to what extent they implemented ea ch practice during the preceding six months. Response options included: not at all, somewhat, mostly, and comp letely. These responses were coded “0”, “1”, “2”, and “3”, respectively. The researcher used these ratings to form an index for overall individual performance on the Farm Bureau prac tices. In order to minimize the effects of missing data, the index score was calculated as an average of the ratings provided by the respondent. For example, if a respondent mark ed “somewhat” for eigh t practices and “mostly” for eight other practices but failed to provide a response to the remaining practice, the respondent’s average rating of 1.5 would be kept in the analysis virtually unaffected by the missing value. If, however, a respondent failed to provide ratings for at least half of the practices, that respond ent’s index score was coded as missing and not included in further analysis. This was done to prevent excessive mi ssing data from providing added weight to the responses that were provided. The researcher ev aluated the final index fo r reliability and found a Cronbach’s alpha ( ) of 0.89. According to Traub (1994), in dexes in the social sciences that

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91 have a reliability coefficient of 0.8 or larger are often considered well-constructed and relatively precise. As a result, this i ndex was considered reliable. Although self-assessments of performance deserv e some skepticism for their potential bias, they have been widely used in research with nonprofit organizations. Preston and Brown (2004) put it simply when they said, “to measure indivi dual performance effectiv ely is a challenge” (p. 227). This challenge is further complicated in or ganizations like Farm Bu reau, that rely heavily on volunteer performance without re gular supervision. In a study th at investigates short-term changes in personal performance, as was the case for this study, few options exist for objective evaluation, and it may be that the most valid evaluation is a self-assessment. Board-level dependent variable Board level performance was also measured in the survey instruments. As a dependent variable, board level performance was calculated as an aggregate of indi vidual board members’ average assessment of their board ’s implementation of the 17 best practices identified in the questionnaire. The individual average rating of the board was calculated in a similar manner as was done for each individual’s self-performance ra ting. If a respondent failed to provide board ratings for at least half of the practices, that respondent’s inde x score for board performance was coded as missing and not included in further analysis. Once individual ratings of board performance were calculated, those ratings were sorted and averaged by the local board (i.e. county) associated with the rati ng. If a local board had an individual board rating from only one board member, that board’s performance rati ng was equated to the one available rating. However, most local boards had multiple responden ts, so the board’s performance rating was an average of several board member s’ assessments of board performance among the 17 practices. The researcher evaluated the index for reliability and found a Cronbach’s alpha ( ) of 0.91. As a result, the index was c onsidered reliable.

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92 Local board performance among the 17 best pr actices was also ev aluated by FFBF staff through the “Field Staff Percepti ons Survey.” The field staff members’ assessments of local board practices were averaged for each county/lo cal board to create an index of overall board performance. The researcher evaluated the in dex for reliability and found a Cronbach’s alpha ( ) of 0.93. As a result, the index wa s considered reliable. In add ition, the researcher investigated the relationship between the board performance rating by th e field staff and the board performance aggregate rating from the local board members. The researcher found a correlation of .343, with a p-value of .026. This statistic sugg ests a moderate relationship between the two ratings (Cohen, 1988, pp. 82-83; Penfield, 2003, p. 185). The relationship is important to consider, because the data analysis in this study relies heavily upon s ubjective ratings and the field staff ratings represent the only data ava ilable as an objective evaluation that provides a comparison across local/county boards. One of the reasons why the FFBF field staff member ratings were not included in final regression m odels as a dependent variable is because the ratings were not provided for 18 of the 61 counties, thus limiting the analysis of data available from those counties. Instead, the local board members’ aggregate rating of board performance was the dependent variable associat ed with board-level performance. Once again, concerns about poten tial bias from self-assessment should be considered. However, the differences in performance rati ngs between board members and FFBF field staff do not necessarily suggest problem s with validity. Local board members and field staff members can be considered different stakeholder groups, and previous research with nonprofit boards has shown that “stakeholders do not judge organizati onal effectiveness similarly” (Herman & Renz, 2004, p. 699). In a study of 44 nonprofit organizati ons, Herman and Renz found that, “for board members, the use of correct management practic es is strongly and positively correlated to

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93 organizational effectiveness judgments” (p. 700), whereas the same situation failed to have a significant impact on organizational effectiveness judgments by funders and senior staff (p. 701). Another reason for the differences in performanc e ratings between board members and field staff is that “nonprofit organizationa l effectiveness is always a ma tter of comparison” (Herman & Renz, 2002, p. 3). This comparison is likely to occu r even when attempts are made to objectify the measures. Because of their knowledge of other local boards, the field staff members are likely to rate individual board performance on th e local Farm Bureau practices as compared to other local boards. Board members, on the ot her hand, are likely to rate individual board performance on the local Farm Bureau practi ces as compared to earlier observations. Several nonprofit researchers have worked to develop a standardized self-assessment instrument, the Board Self-Assessment Questionnai re (BSAQ), to evaluate board performance across organizations (Holland, 1991 ; Jackson & Holland, 1998). The BSAQ has been used with more than 100 nonprofit boards and has shown st rong validity when examined by knowledgeable raters of board and organizational performance. The BSAQ was not appropriate for this study with FFBF local boards because it was not design ed and validated for use with smaller nonprofit organizations that are st affed mainly by volunteers. Part of the reason why empirical evidence on nonprofit board performance relies heavily on self-assessment may be due to the belief th at “nonprofit organizationa l effectiveness is a social construction” (Herman & Renz, 2002, p. 4). “How to conceive and measure organizational effectiveness is an issue about wh ich there is no scholarly consensus” (Herman & Renz, 1997, p. 13). Instead, researchers rely on stakeholders to judge organizational effectiveness. In the case of grassroots organi zations, like Farm Bureau, the local leaders are key stakeholders and therefore should be a prim ary resource for evaluating effectiveness.

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94 Independent Variable Indexes Goal attributes As previously mentioned, independent variable s analyzed in this study included constructs associated with goal theory. These constructs were measured in the “Best Practices Goal Survey,” administered to Strengthening the Voice program participants. The section titled, “Best Practices Goal Setting Process… ” included 24 goal-related questi ons, all measured on a Likerttype scale that included: “strong ly disagree,” “disagree,” “neither agree nor disagree,” “agree,” and “strongly agree.” When item nonresponse was observed, the researcher left the nonresponse out of the analysis for the indivi dual items. However, after the anal ysis of descrip tive statistics, the approach to nonresponse changed. For the purpose of keeping observations in the goal constructs, the researcher coded item nonresponse as “neither agree nor disagree.” Although this practice increases the poten tial for measurement error, the rese archer assumed that such effects would be minimal and that the benefits of rec oding the data would outweigh the consequences. An ideal research study of goal setting theory would measure all 12 constructs suggested by the theory and the high performance cycle. However, measuring all 12 constructs exceeded the limitations of the instrument and the samp le size. The instrument did measure two key components of the goals: content and intensity. The goal content was expressed in two aspects: specificity and difficulty. Goal intensity wa s measured through goal commitment and selfefficacy. An addition, the instrument measured a construct for perceived goal performance. Once the data were collected, the researcher conducted factor analyses to analyze and refine the item components of each construct. Tests of re liability were conducted using Cronbach’s alpha. When considered as a group, the estimated reliability of all goal-related questions was .877. For the individual constructs specificity had a relia bility of .738, difficulty

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95 had a reliability of .763, commitment had a reliab ility of .838, and self-efficacy had a reliability of .708. The goal performance cons truct had a relia bility of .889. According to Penfield (2001, cited in Moore, 2003, p. 65), reliability coefficients that exceed .90 are considered high, those that exceed .80 are considered moderate to high, and those between .70 and .80 are considered low. With this classificati on, the overall goal ratings had a moderate to high reliability, while some of the constructs had low reliability. However, as Traub (1994) points out, the primary standard for judging acceptable reliability is the reliability of available alternative measures. With this in mind, the researcher continued analysis with the less reliable constructs, recognizing th at measures of improved reliabili ty should be sought in future research. The final reliability a nd factor loadings of each constr uct are displayed in Tables 3-4 through 3-8. The constructs measured in this study were arranged in a hypothesized path model. Consistent with goal setting theo ry, the researcher hypothesized th at the goal core (specificity and difficulty) would have a positive impact on performance (Figure 3-3). In addition, the researcher hypothesized that goal specificity w ould positively impact goal commitment and selfefficacy (as related to the goal), while goal di fficulty would negatively impact self-efficacy. Self-efficacy, in-turn, was expected to positively impact goal co mmitment, and goal commitment was expected to positively impact goal performance. Although goal mechanisms were not measured in this study, goal setting theory woul d suggest that goal mechanisms also mediate these impacts on performance. Farm Bureau Foundations program participation Individual attendance at the Farm Bureau Foundations workshops was recorded by FFBF and either validated or corrected by survey respo ndents. The number of participants from each local board was then investigated for various leve ls of participation. Th e most basic level of

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96 participation was a simple count of local board attendees. However, in order to investigate possible non-linear relati onships, this count was also dummy coded for participation levels of one or more, two or more, three or more, four or more, five or more, and six or more. In addition, the percent of local board members at tending the workshops was calculated by dividing the number of local board member attendees by the total number of directors for that local board. In order to investigate for non-linear relations hips, this percentage was also dummy-coded for participation levels of 10%, 25%, 33%, and 50% The raw numbers and dummy codes were both analyzed when investigating the effects of workshop attendance by a local board. Weighted goal theory constructs In order to include goal theory constructs at a local board unit of an alysis, the ratings on these constructs needed to be considered across all directors in a given local board. However, since not all board members participated in the goal setting process and therefore did not have ratings for the goal constructs, the available ra tings needed to be weighted in a way that considered level of participation. In order to accomplish this, the aggregate ratings for a local board were multiplied by the percentage of board members who participated in the Farm Bureau Foundations workshops, and thus were engaged in the goal setting exercise. Because the goal construct ratings were centered on zero, with a range of negative two to positive two, this weighting system equated non-part icipation as rating of zero (nei ther agree nor disagree) on the goal constructs. While this weighted rating was a synthetic re presentation of actual individual ratings, the researcher believed it to be the be st approach for considering the goal constructs at a local board unit of analysis. If an individual had responded “neither agree nor disagree” for all goal-related variables, the information would have no infl uence on the aggregate board rating for the goal constructs. In another instance, if an individual had responded “strongly agree” for all of the

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97 goal-related variables, but that board member was the only director engaged in the process, the goal construct rating would be at tenuated by the lack of participation among the entire board. On the other hand, if the entire board participated in the Farm Bureau Foundations program component and had similar ratings about their expe rience with the best pract ices goals, then this fact would carry more weight in the analysis. This method of weighting the ratings is somewhat experimental and should be consid ered when interpreting the data. Board demographics Few of the board demographics considered in this study were directly measured. The total number of local board members was derived from the FFBF field services directory. However, data on other board-level independent variable s were calculated from information provided by survey respondents. For local boards that had high response ra tes in this study, the calculated demographics are highly valid estimates of the lo cal board’s true demographics. However, for local boards with lower response rates the calculated demographics may be less representative. An extreme example is a local board that had one survey respondent, and the board member was female. It is highly unlikely that the local board is comprised entir ely of female directors, so the estimate of 100% female board members likely contains measurement error. However, the calculated demographics were the best availa ble source for this information. In addition, because the board-level dependent variable was based entirely upon ratings from survey respondents, the observed relations hip between the board demogra phics (independent variables) and the rated board performance (dependent variable ) were expected to be similar to what would be observed for the true population. Even still, some caution shoul d be exercised in interpreting the effects of board demogra phics analyzed in this study.

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98 Analysis for Objectives One Through Three Descriptive statistics, including frequencies and measures of ce ntral tendency, were used to organize and summarize the individual item res ponse data from the collected questionnaires. Findings for objectives one through three were obta ined primarily through the use of descriptive statistics. When appropriate, analysis of variance ( ANOVA) was used to investigate differences between groups. Analysis for Objectives Four and Five Goal-related hypotheses The goal-related hypotheses to be tested in objectives four and five are as follows: 1. Units with higher perceived levels of goal sp ecificity will also ha ve higher levels of performance. 2. Units with higher perceived levels of goal di fficulty will also ha ve higher levels of performance. 3. Units with higher perceived levels of goal spec ificity will also have higher levels of goalrelated self-efficacy. 4. Units with higher perceived levels of goal spec ificity will also have higher levels of goal commitment. 5. Units with higher perceived levels of goal diffi culty will have lower levels of goal-related self-efficacy. 6. Units with higher perceived levels of goal-related self-efficacy will also have higher levels of goal commitment. 7. Units with higher perceived levels of goal commitment will also have higher levels of performance. These hypotheses are graphically displayed in Figure 3-3. Correlational analysis Correlations between the independent and depe ndent variables were analyzed to examine the effect of the independent variables on the de pendent variables on an individual basis. The magnitudes of the correlations were described us ing terms and classification appropriate for the

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99 context of social science resear ch. A correlation of 0.10 is descri bed as a small effect size (weak relationship), a correlatio n of 0.30 is described as a medium effect size (moderate relationship), and a correlation of 0.50 is described as a la rge effect size (strong re lationship) (Cohen, 1988, pp. 82-83; Penfield, 2003, p. 185). Regression analysis In an attempt to explain the influence of demographic and program variables on best practices goal achievement, the researcher used multiple regression to build explanatory models. According to Gliem (2003), multiple regression is “a method of analyzing the variance of a dependent variable (Y) by using information avai lable on two or more inde pendent variables” (p. 1). The basic model may be expressed as: E(Y) = + 1X1 + 2X2 + … + kXk In this equation, 1,…, k are parameters (propertie s of the population) and X1, X2,…, Xk are explanatory (independent) variables, where k denotes the number of predictors. Y is the response (or dependent) variable, an d E indicates that it is an estimate or prediction. In this study, the Y variable is the best practices adoption score. Importa nt assumptions associated with the use of multiple regression include: independence, linearity, normality, and equal variances (Algina, 2005, p. 391). An alpha level of 0.05 was set a priori for the statistical analysis. However, varying levels of alpha were consid ered and reported because the knowledge of these variations improved the expl oratory value of the study. One practical issue to consider in the implemen tation of multiple regression analysis is the ratio of cases to independent variables. “N umerous rules-of-thumb have been suggested for determining the minimum number of subjects re quired to conduct multiple regression analyses” (S. B. Green, 1991, p. 499). Green has compared these methods and argues that the rules-of-

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100 thumb that specify some constant, such as a mi nimum number of subjects or a minimum ratio of subjects to predictors, are not sufficient because they do not consider effect size and its contribution to statistical power. Green reco mmends a more complex rule-of-thumb that “estimates minimum sample size as a function of ef fect size as well as th e number of predictors” (p. 499). However, Green’s recommendation is based on a power analytic framework that is used to ensure a reasonable chance of rejecti ng null hypotheses involving regression parameters. Since this is an exploratory study that was a census of the popul ation, the researcher did not apply Green’s more complex recommendation. In stead, the researcher chose to follow a more generous standard, proposed by Tabachnick and Fidell (1989), setting the minimum number of cases or subjects for each independe nt variable at five to one. The usefulness of regression models is eval uated by the coefficient of determination, denoted by R-Square (R2). The coefficient of determination represents “the proportion of information in the dependent variable that is explained or accounted for by the independent variable” (Penfield, 2003, p. 231). In the context of social scie nce, researchers have provided general “rules of thumb” fo r interpreting the value of R2. An R2 of 0.01 represents a weak relationship (small effect size), an R2 of 0.09 represents a moderate relationship (medium effect size), and an R2 of 0.25 represents a str ong relationship (large e ffect size) (Cohen, 1988, pp. 7981; Penfield, 2003, p. 232). This classification wa s applied in interpretin g the coefficient of determination (R2) in this study. Adjusted R-Square values rather than the raw coefficients, will be reported because they offer a less biased estimate for analyses with a small number of observations and numerous independent variables (Agresti & Finlay, 1997; Tabachnick & Fidell, 1996).

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101 Although numerous approaches to regression an alysis could be applied, the researcher chose to use a series of block regression mode ls because it allowed the opportunity to build models using the pre-existing framework pr oposed by goal setting th eory. With block regression, the researcher was able to evaluate the impact of in corporating sets of variables, rather than investigating variables individuall y. For example, block regression allows for investigation of the explanatory pow er of a model that includes a se t of goal constructs compared with a model that includes a set of goal constr ucts and a set of demographic variables. The demographic variables may be powerful predic tors, but goal setting theory suggests that performance can be explained without the inclus ion of demographic information. To that end, the first two block regression models focused on goal setting constructs alone. Individual demographics and board characteri stics were added in models th ree and four. The first four models included only the treatment group, since that group was the only one with data on the goal setting process. The fifth block regr ession model investigat ed only individual demographics and board characteristics, thus offe ring an investigation that included all three subgroups. Because all three sub-groups were incl uded in this fifth model, dummy-coded group controls were added to the model. The bloc k models investigated for predicting personal performance are as follows: Model 1i: [Individual Best Prac tice Rating] = [Goal Content] Model 2i: [Model 1i] + [Goal Intensity] Model 3i: [Model 2i] + [I ndividual Demographics] Model 4i: [Model 3i] + [Board Characteristics] Model 5i: [Individual Rating] = [Individual Demographics] + [Board Characteristics] + [Group Controls]

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102 Performance at the board-level was asse ssed by individual board members and by the appropriate FFBF assistant director of field services (a.k.a. fi eld staff member). This assessment allowed the researcher to investigate performance at a local board (or county) level of analysis. For the models explaining board performance, th e dependent variable was the aggregate average of board members ratings of board engagement in the identified local Farm Bureau practices. The independent variables included goal constructs (weighted by workshop participation), levels of workshop attendance, and other board characteristics. The mode ls investigated for explaining local board performance are as follows: Model 1b: [Board Performance Rati ng] = [Weighted Goal Content] Model 2b: [Model 1b] + [Weighted Goal Intensity] Model 3b: [Model 2b] + [Levels of Workshop Attendance] Model 4b: [Model 3b] + [Board Demographics] Model 5b: [Board Performance Rating] = [Board Demographics] For both sets of regression models, violati ons to the assumption of independence were addressed by dropping out highly correlated demographics and board characteristics. For example, the inclusion of both years of member ship and years on the board of directors was causing excessive collinearity. In order to correct this problem years of service on the board was retained and years of membership was dr opped out of the model. The final regression models applied in this study are displayed in fu rther detail along with th eir results in chapter four. Path analysis Complex “path” models are often created a nd tested through structural equation modeling techniques. Path analysis pr ovides information that is help ful in understanding mediational relationships and causal processe s. Structural equation modeli ng techniques provide tests of

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103 these relationships that “are both more rigorou s and more flexible than are the comparable techniques based on multiple regression” (Kello way, 1998, p. 2). However, “structural equation modeling is very much a large sample techni que. Both the estimation methods (e.g., maximum likelihood) and tests of model fit (e.g., X2 test) are based on the assumption of large samples” (Kelloway, p. 20). In general, a minimum of 200 observations is the cr iteria for meeting this “large” sample assumption. Because the observa tions that included goal constructs were well below this standard, the researcher determined that path analysis th rough structural equation modeling techniques was not appropri ate. Even still, such tec hniques should be considered for future studies that involve complex path mode ls, similar to the hypothesized model for this study. Summary This chapter described this research study in terms of the research design, the population of study, the instrumentation, and data analysis proc edures. This was a descriptive study using ex post facto and correlational design to re veal relationships and expl ain local board performance related to best practi ces promoted in the Farm Bureau Foundations program component of Florida Farm Bureau’s Strengthening the Voice program. Three separate survey instruments were de signed by the researcher for use with three different study populations. The first populati on, labeled the “treatment group,” included Farm Bureau Foundations program participants. The treatment group was administered the “Best Practices Goal Survey.” The second populat ion was program non-part icipants (further distinguished into a “control group,” and a “s pillover treatment group”). These workshop nonattendees were administered the “Local Board Practices Survey.” An additional population group was FFBF field staff. The FF BF field staff were administered the “Field Staff Perceptions Survey.”

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104 The survey techniques applied in this study closely followed Dillman’s (2000) Tailored Design Method for mail surveys. The procedures yielded an overall survey response rate of 57.2% among individual board me mbers, representing 98.4% of the local FFBF boards. In addition, the response rate for FFB F field staff was 75%. Issues associated with unit and item non-response were addressed. Procedures for data analysis applied in this study include descriptive statistics, correlational analysis, and multivariate regression. Findings from the statistical analyses will be presented in chapter 4.

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105 Figure 3-1. Research procedures timeline. Research Procedures Jun. Jul. Aug. Sept. Oct. Nov. Dec. Jan. Feb. Mar. Instrument development Preliminary Development Content Expert Review Questionnaire Revisions Cognitive Interviews Final Revisions Population Frame Selection Survey implementation Pre-notice letter Questionnaire mail out Reminder post card Replacement questionnaires Telephone calls Data entry Data quality review Analysis Report writing

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106 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100%% of Boards Meeting Response Level 12345678910 or more # of Local Board Respondents Figure 3-2. Number of individua l respondents from each local board. Figure 3-3. Hypothesized relationships be tween goal constructs and performance. Table 3-1. FFBF Local Board Me mber Research Study Sub-Groups Sub-Group Description Population Size Treatment Farm Bureau Foundations program participants 138 Control Non-attendees from nonparticipating local boards 138 Spillover treatment Non-attendees from participating local boards 442 Total All FFBF Local Board Members 718 + + + + + + Goal Specificity Goal Difficulty Goal-Related Self-Efficacy Goal Commitment Performance

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107 Table 3-2. Item non-response by population group Complete Mostly (50%) Complete Population Sub-Group n % n % Treatment 5666.781 96.4 Control 5263.476 92.7 Spillover treatment 16166.0240 98.4 Total 26965.6397 96.8 Note: % is a percent of the received questionnaires. Table 3-3. Usable survey response by population group Usable Returns Sub-Group N n % Treatment 138 81 58.7 Control 138 76 55.1 Spillover treatment 442 240 54.3 Total 718 397 55.3 Note: Usable returns included those that were 50% or more complete. Table 3-4. Goal specificity cons truct: Factor loadings from the “Best Practices Goal Survey” (n=77, =.738) Variable/Statement Factor Loading I have been clear about the details of the STV goal that I set following the Farm Bureau Foundations workshop. .729 My STV goal focused on a specific activity or outcome. .714 I have shared my STV goal with others. .812 I have received feedback from others re garding my progress in adopting the best practices. .733 Note: Eigenvalue = 2.24, proporti on of variance explained is .560. Table 3-5. Goal difficulty constr uct: Factor loadings from the “Best Practices Goal Survey” (n=78, =.763) Variable/Statement Factor Loading On the day of the workshop, I perceive d my STV goal as being difficult. .739 In the months following the workshop, I percei ved my STV goal as being difficult. .779 Others likely perceive the STV goal I set as being difficult. .733 In general, the Farm Bureau Foundations best practices proposed in the workshop are difficult to implement. .660 It has been difficult for me to develop a strategy for personally implementing the best practices. .685 Note: Eigenvalue = 2.60, proporti on of variance explained is .519.

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108 Table 3-6. Goal commitment cons truct: Factor loadings from th e “Best Practices Goal Survey” (n=79, =.838) Variable/Statement Factor Loading I have been committed to the STV goal that I set. .754 It is important for me to accomplish the STV goal that I set. .687 Since the workshop, I have increased my attention to Farm Bureau Foundations best practices. .762 Compared to those who did not attend th e workshop, my attention has been more focused on the Farm Bureau Foundations best practices. .684 I have invested a high level of effort in adopting the Farm Bureau Foundations best practices. .853 Overall, I have been highly persistenc e in working toward my STV goal. .714 Note: Eigenvalue = 3.33, proporti on of variance explained is .555. Table 3-7. Goal self-efficacy cons truct: Factor loadings from th e “Best Practices Goal Survey” (n=79, =.708) Variable/Statement Factor Loading During the months following the workshop, I was confident in my ability to adopt the Farm Bureau Foundations best practices. .795 After the Farm Bureau Foundations workshop, I was prepared to apply knowledge and strategies related to the best practices. .852 As a result of this program, I am a mo re effective Farm Bureau member and leader. .756 Note: Eigenvalue = 1.93, proporti on of variance explained is .643. Table 3-8. Goal performance cons truct: Factor loadings from th e “Best Practices Goal Survey” (n=79, =.889) Variable/Statement Factor Loading As a result of this program, I am a mo re effective Farm Bureau member and leader. .859 As a result of this program, other member s of my local Farm Bureau board have become more effective. .896 As a result of this program, my local Fa rm Bureau as a whole has become more effective. .957 Note: Eigenvalue = 2.46, proporti on of variance explained is .819.

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109 CHAPTER 4 RESULTS Objective 1: Describe Demographics Objective one of the study was to describe select demographics of local Florida Farm Bureau (FFBF) board members and program partic ipants. These data were obtained from the demographic sections of the “Local Board Practices Survey” (Appendix D) and the “Best Practices Goal Survey” (Appendix E). The final study population included 397 local FFBF board members. Among the survey respondents, the majority were non-Hispanic whit e (97.4%) and male (88.1 %). The average age was about 54.8, with a standard deviation of 13.9 years. Over half of the respondents had achieved an education level of a ssociate degree or higher. With regards to tenure in FFBF, the average length of organizational membership wa s 23.4 years, with a stan dard deviation of 14.4, and the average length of serv ice as a local board member wa s 12.4 years, with a standard deviation of 10.8. As might be expected, ther e was a strong, positive relationship between years of membership and length of service on the board ( r = .680, p < .001). In addition, there was a strong relationship between years of membership and age ( r = .645, p < .001) and between length of service on the board and age ( r = .524, p < .001). For meeting attenda nce in the six months preceding the survey, local FFBF board members a ttended an average of 4.36 meetings, with a standard deviation of 1.82. Table 4-1 provides a summary of demogra phic information for all FFBF local board members, which is then broken into sub-groups applied in this study. The sub-groups are based on attendance at Farm Bureau Foundations workshops that were conducted in 2006. The “treatment” group includes progr am attendees; the “control” gr oup includes non-attendees that

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110 serve on local boards where no directors attended the workshops, and the “spillover treatment” group includes non-attendees that serve on loca l boards that had one or more attendees. Participants in the Farm Bureau Foundations program component of the FFBF “Strengthening the Voice” were similar in many respects to the larger population of local FFBF board members. The participants were mostly of white, non-Hispanic ethnicity (97.5%), and male (80%). The average age of program partic ipants was 55, with a st andard deviation of 15 years. Over half of the part icipants had achieved an educatio n level of associate degree or higher. With regards to tenure in FFBF, the av erage length of organi zational membership was 23.4 years, with a standard devi ation of 15.8, and the average lengt h of service as a local board member was 11.7 years, with a standard devia tion of 11.2. The mean number of meetings attended in the six months preceding the surv ey was 4.78, with a standard deviation of 2.34. The researcher conducted tests to check fo r statistically significant demographic differences between the three popu lation sub-groups. No significan t difference existed for most demographic characteristics. However, a ch i-square test for independence did show a relationship between sub-group and gender, X2(2, n = 387) = 7.32, p = .026. Female board members were most likely to belong to the tr eatment group and least lik ely to belong to the control group. In addition, anal ysis of variance revealed a si gnificant difference for meeting attendance, F (2, 364) = 3.48, p = .032. This difference remained, even when outliers of 10 and 20 meetings were removed. The treatment group av eraged the highest meeting attendance, while control group averaged the least meeting attendance. Objective 2: Measure Engagement Level Objective two of the study was to measure th e engagement level of local Florida Farm Bureau board members in Farm Bureau Foundations Best Practices As was the case with

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111 objective one, the data for objec tive two were obtained directly from responses to the “Local Board Practices Survey” and the “B est Practices Goal Survey.” The data from respondent ratings on percei ved engagement in 17 local Farm Bureau practices are summarized in Table 4-2. The ratings are based on a scale of zero to three: (0) not at all, (1) somewhat, (2) mo stly, and (3) completely. With respect to personal engagement, the average rating for the population was 2.01. The most highly rated practice for personal engageme nt was “maintain a working relationship with the insurance agency manager” ( M = 2.70, SD = 0.61), and the second most highly rated practice for personal engagement was “allow time in meeting agendas for an insurance report” ( M = 2.62, SD = 0.69). The lowest rated practice for pers onal engagement was “limit board meeting discussion to federation business” ( M = 1.54, SD = 0.90). The researcher conducted tests to check for stat istically significant differences in personal engagement between the three population sub-gro ups. No significant differences were found in the overall engagement level for each group. Howe ver, when participants and non-participants were compared on individual practices, significa nt differences were found in the engagement levels associated with three prac tices, all of which were associat ed with workshop objective four. For the practice of “Strengthe n the ‘Voice of Agriculture’ by getting involved in statewide committees,” the participant group rated their engagement-level hi gher, with a mean difference of 0.28 ( SD = 1.04), and the difference was significant, t (382) = 2.11, p = .035. For the practice of “Plan for policy implementation challenges before they arise,” the participant group rated their engagement-level higher, with a mean difference of 0.20 ( SD = 0.79), and the difference was significant, t (374) = 2.02, p = .045. For the practice of “Consu lt others, including adversaries, for input and feedback on policy ideas,” the pa rticipant group rated their engagement-level

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112 higher, with a mean difference of 0.32 ( SD = 0.83), and the difference was significant, t (378) = 3.03, p = .003. All other observed differences in pe rsonal engagement were non-significant at the .05 p -level. With regard to ratings of board engagement in the 17 local Farm Bureau practices, the average rating was 2.24, using the same scale. Once again, the most highly rated practice was “maintain a working relationship with the insurance agency manager” ( M = 2.82, SD = 0.47), and the second most highly rate d practice for board engagement was “allow time in meeting agendas for an insurance report” ( M = 2.76, SD = 0.59). Also similar to the ratings for personal engagement, the lowest rated practice for board engagement was “limit board meeting discussion to federation business” ( M = 1.64, SD = 0.91). The researcher conducted tests to check for st atistically significant differences in board engagement between the three population sub-gro ups. No significant differences were found in the overall, mean engagement level for each gr oup. However, when the control group and treatment group were compared on individual practices, si gnificant differences were found in the engagement levels associated with two practices associated with workshop objective four. For the practice of “Strengthen the ‘Voice of Ag riculture’ by getting involved in statewide committees,” the treatment group rated their board ’s engagement-level higher, with a mean difference of 0.27 ( SD = 0.84), and the difference was significant, t (149) = 1.99, p = .048. For the practice of “Consult others, including advers aries, for input and feedback on policy ideas,” the treatment group rated their board’s engagement -level higher, with a mean difference of 0.29 ( SD = 0.81), and the difference was significant, t (148) = 2.22, p = .028. All other observed differences in board engagement were non-significant at the .05 p -level.

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113 When survey respondents considered level of engagement relative to other six month periods, the majority of board members believed the level of engagement to be “about the same” (Table 4-3). This was true for both personal engagement (58.7%) and the perception of board engagement (62.2%). In addition, the majority trend for perceived engagement to be “about the same” was consistent across all three sub-groups of the population. When treated as interval data, with “about the same” cente red on zero, the trend shows percei ved levels of engagement to be slightly higher than zero. Once again, this tr end is consistent across all three sub-groups. The sub-group with the highest mean increase in pe rsonal engagement was the treatment group, with a mean of 0.31 ( SD = 0.62). The sub-group with the highest mean increase in board engagement was the control group, with a mean of 0.47 ( SD = 0.60). The means were calculated from the following scale: “a lot less” (-2), “somewhat less ” (-1), “about the same” (0), “somewhat more” (1), and “a lot more” (2). The findings on perceived changes in level of engagement are summarized in Table 4-3. The researcher conducted tests to check for st atistically significant differences in engagement between the three pop ulation sub-groups. No significant differences were found. Objective 3: Measure Goal Attributes Objective three of the study was to measure the goal attributes experienced by program participants with their Farm Bureau Foundations Best Practices goal. Goal-related data were collected in the “Best Practices Goal Survey. Since the treatment group (n = 81) was the only group asked to set a goal for implementing Farm Bureau Foundations Best Practices objective three considered only data collected fr om the treatment group, workshop attendees. The “Best Practices Goal Survey” asked 24 goa l-related questions, all of which offered response options from a Likert-type scale: “strongly disagree” (-2 ), “disagree” (-1), “neither agree nor disagree” (0), “agree” (1), and “s trongly agree” (2). The statement to which

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114 respondents agreed most was “as a result of this program, I am a more effective Farm Bureau member and leader” ( M = 0.72, SD = 0.68). The statement with the second-highest level of agreement was “after the Farm Bureau Foundations workshop, I was prepared to apply knowledge and strategi es related to the best practices” ( M = 0.70, SD = 0.68). The statement with the highest level of disagreement was “i n general, the Farm Bureau Foundations best practices proposed in the workshop are difficult to implement” ( M = -0.56, SD = 0.82). The statement with the second-highest level of disagreement was “in the months following the workshop, I have found it easy to give up or ignore my STV goal” ( M = -0.40, SD = 0.83). The mean rating and standard deviation for each goa l-related question is provided in Table 4-4. The data from the goal-related questions we re organized and inde xed into constructs proposed by goal setting theory. The most impor tant components of the theory are goal specificity and difficulty. As shown in Table 45, program participants agreed to some degree that the goal they set was specific ( M = 0.33, SD = 0.57). They tended to disagree that the goal they set was difficult ( M = -0.26, SD = 0.57). This is based on responses in the context of the Likert-type scale: “strongly disagree” (-2), “dis agree” (-1), “neither agree nor disagree” (0), “agree” (1), and “strongly agree” (2). With rega rd to goal intensity, program participants agreed to some degree that they were committed to the goal that they set ( M = 0.38, SD = 0.56). To an even stronger degree, they felt capable to accomp lish the goal related task, as demonstrated by their self-efficacy ratings ( M = 0.65, SD = 0.53). The mean, standard deviation, and range for each goal theory construct is provided in Table 4-5. Objective 4: Explain Individual Pe rformance on Best Practices Objective four of the study wa s to explain individual perf ormance with best practices identified in the Farm Bureau Foundations program. This objective was accomplished through analysis of correlations and regres sion models. The dependent variable for all analyses for this

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115 objective was personal performance on local Farm Bureau practices, based on self-ratings of engagement in Farm Bureau Foundations best practices. In considering correlations between board ch aracteristics and personal performance, the researcher found a strong relationship ( r = .704) between respondent s’ average ratings of personal performance and board performance (Table 4-6). In addition, there was a moderate relationship ( r =.349) with the local board’s aggregate av erage rating of board performance. The researcher found a weak to moderate relationship ( r = 0.195) between respondents’ average ratings of personal performance and FFBF field st aff members’ ratings of board performance. Relationships with size of local board and degree of par ticipation in the Farm Bureau Foundations workshops were negligible and not significant. Among the individual-level variables, the re searcher found a weak-to-moderate, positive relationship ( r =.271) between ratings of personal performance and number of meetings attended in the preceding six-month period (Table 4-7). The statistic suggests that board members who attend more meetings are also likely to report hi gher levels of performance. In addition, the researcher observed weak, positive relationships with age ( r =.151), years of membership in Farm Bureau ( r =.146), and engagement level relati ve to other six month periods ( r =.150). These statistics suggest that board members who report higher levels of performance are older, have been members of Farm Bureau longer, and have made recent increases in their level of engagement, more so than board members re porting lower levels of performance. The researcher observed a weak, negative relations hip between personal performance and level of education ( r = -.115). This suggests that board members who report higher levels of performance are less likely to have completed hi gher education. Other weak relationships with individual-level variables lacked significance. Of particular note, the variable for program

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116 participation was among the variables that disp layed weak, non-significant relationships with performance. Analysis of the goal-theory constructs revealed a number of weak-to-moderate relationships with personal perf ormance on the local Farm Bureau practices. With respect to goal content, analysis revealed a positive relationship with specificity ( r = .278), suggesting that individuals who believed thei r goal to be more specific were also likely to report higher levels of performance. The relationship between persona l performance and goal difficulty was negative but not significant. With respect to goal intens ity, commitment and self-efficacy both displayed positive relationships with personal performance ( r = .261 and r = .285, respectively). Additional correlations among these constructs are outlined in Table 4-8. In addition, the correlations are graphically displayed in the hypothesi zed model in Figure 4-1. Among the goal-related hypotheses presented in chapter three, five are supported and two are not supported. The two hypotheses related to goal difficulty were not supported. The supported hypotheses follow: Individuals with higher percei ved levels of goal specific ity have higher levels of performance. Individuals with higher percei ved levels of goal specificity have higher levels of goalrelated self-efficacy. Individuals with higher percei ved levels of goal specificity have higher levels of goal commitment. Individuals with higher perceive d levels of goal-related self-e fficacy have higher levels of goal commitment. Individuals with higher percei ved levels of goal commitment have higher levels of performance. The goal theory constructs provided structur e for the block regression models used to explain personal performance with local Farm Bureau practices. Table 4-9 displays the inter-

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117 correlations between the goal theory constructs and other independe nt variables includes in the regression analysis. The first regression model, which used the goal core (specificity and difficulty) as explanatory variables, had an adjusted R-S quare (coefficient of determination) of .091, representing a moderate relationship. In this model, goal specificity had a positive parameter estimate that was significant ( = 0.24, p = .013). The parameter estimate for goal difficulty was negative, but not signific ant. When goal intensity constr ucts were added in model 2i, the adjusted R-Square (coefficient of determinati on) declined to .083. None of the individual parameters in model 2i showed significance. When individual demographics were added in model 3i, the adjusted R-Square (coefficient of determination) increased to .214. Within model 3i, a significant, negative relationship was displayed for both goal difficulty ( = -0.22, p = .050) and gender (male = 0, female = 1; = -0.39, p = .006). Other parame ters did not show significance in the model. The adjusted R-Square in model 4i declined to .194. Within model 4i, three parameters displayed significant, negative relationships: goal difficulty ( = -0.24, p = .041), gender ( = -0.43, p = .006), and education level ( = -0.09, p = .048). Other parameters did not display significant effects in the model. When individual demographics and local board data were considered separate ly, without the goal theory c onstructs, the m odel (5i) was significant and displayed a weak -to-moderate relationship ( R2 adj = .081). In model 5i, gender and education no longer displayed significant relati onships. Instead, three other individual demographics displayed significant positive relationships. Those parameters included: engagement in practices relativ e to other six month periods ( = 0.08, p = .041), number of meetings attended during the six month period ( = 0.04, p = .003), and age ( < 0.01, p = .023). Additional statistics from the models are displa yed in Table 4-10. To allow for more direct

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118 interpretation of relationships, standardized coe fficients for the models are displayed in Table 411. The researcher did analyze reduced models that included only those parameters with a p value less than .10. However, the reduced models did not display and substantive changes, so there was no need to report them separately. Key findings from the regression models are as follows: All of the regression models provide significan t explanatory value for reported personal performance, and the amount of variance e xplained increases with the addition of explanatory variables. Goal specificity has a positive relationship with reported performance when goal difficulty alone is controlled, but the relationship is not significant when other explanatory variables are added to the model. Goal difficulty and being female have a nega tive relationship with reported performance when both are included in a regression model, but each is not significant when the other is missing from the model. Education level has a negative relations hip with reported performance when goal constructs, individual dem ographics, and board charac teristics are controlled. When individual demographics and board charact eristics are considered separate from goal constructs, personal performance is positively related with increased engagement, increased meeting attendance, and increased age. The researcher did explore further analysis of the interaction be tween gender and goal difficulty. An interaction term displays similar effects, but it does not provide explanatory value beyond the effects observed with the direct measur es. The original model (with goal difficulty and gender identified separately) was more pa rsimonious and therefor e retained without adjustments. Objective 5: Explain Local Board Performance on Best Practices Objective five of the study was to explain local board performance with best practices identified in the Farm Bureau Foundations program. This objective is similar to objective four, but it has a different unit of analysis. Rather than focusing on board-member performance and

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119 individual variables, this object ive investigates the board as a unit and investigates board-level characteristics for explanatory power with respect to board performance. The dependent variable for all analyses for this objective was board performance on local Farm Bureau practices, measured as an aggregate of board members’ ra tings of board performance on local Farm Bureau practices. The aggregate board performance rating used as the dependent variab le in this study was moderately correlated ( r = .356) with FFBF staff members’ ra tings of board performance. Tables 4-11, 4-12, 4-13, and 4-14, compare these tw o measures of board performance and their relationship to various explanator y variables. Overall, more si gnificant relationships were found with the aggregate board performance ratings th an with the FFBF staff members’ ratings. However, medium to large effect sizes were found between explanatory variables and FFBF staff members’ ratings of board performance. Thr ee of those variables did not display significant relationships with the aggregat e board performance ratings. The first two variables were measures of the number of directors on the local board and the average boar d tenure of directors ( r = .423 and r = .344, respectively). The relationships sugg est that local boards that are rated higher by FFBF field staff members are also likely to be larger and include direct ors with longer tenures on the board. These relationships are di splayed in Table 4-13. The third variable was with level of workshop attendance for the Farm Bureau Foundations program component of the Strengthening the Voice program. Attendance by one or more board members was moderately correlated with higher FFBF field staff member ratings of board performance ( r = .313). The relationships between board performance and workshop attendance are reported in Table 4-14. Beyond its relationship with FFBF field staff member ratings ( r = .356), the mean board performance rating, the selected dependent variab le for this objective, displayed significant

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120 relationships with other ratings of performan ce. The mean board performance rating was strongly correlated ( r = .822) with mean person al performance ratings and was moderately correlated ( r = .307) with a perceived increase in board engagement, relative to other six month periods. In addition, the board performance rating displaye d a moderate relationship ( r = .387) with ratings of best practices goal performance (Table 4-12). With respect to board member characteristics, the strongest relations hip was with average number of meetings directors attend ed during the preceding six months ( r = .432). In addition, a moderate relationship was observed with averag e length of directors’ membership in Farm Bureau ( r = .337). A negative relationship ( r = -.259) was observed with the ratio of female directors on the board, indicating th at the involvement of more fe male directors was associated with a lower aggregate rating of board perf ormance. The correlations between board performance and board demographics are displayed in Table 4-13. The researcher examined relationships betw een board performance and levels of board attendance at the Farm Bureau Foundations workshops. No significant relationships surfaced when examining board member ratings of perfor mance. The only level of attendance near the required .05 level of significance was a dummy-coded variable that identified local boards with four or more board members attending a Farm Bureau Foundations workshop. The researcher found that variable to have a correlation of .231, with a p -value of .078. As previously mentioned in the discussion of FFBF field staff ra tings of board performan ce, the researcher did observe a significant relationship with a dummy-c oded variable that identified boards with at least one director attending a Farm Bureau Foundations workshop. The researcher found that variable to have a correlation of .313, with a p -value of .041. Other levels of attendance analyzed are shown in Table 4-14.

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121 Although significant relationships with board performance were lacking among variables for attendance at the Farm Bureau Foundations workshops, the goal theory construct ratings observed among workshop attendees did present significant relations hips. The construct ratings were centered on zero and then weighted by the board’s percent participation in the Farm Bureau Foundations program component. After weighting the data, the researcher observed a moderate correlation for specificity ( r = .388) and a weak-to-moderate correlation for commitment ( r = .270). These statistics suggest that boards with higher self-ratings of performance were also likely to be in fluenced by board members who attended at Farm Bureau Foundations workshop and were committed to specific goals for implementing the recommended local Farm Bureau practices. Ra tings for difficulty and self-efficacy were not significant (Table 4-15). The co rrelations are graphically displa yed in the hypothesized model in Figure 4-2. Among the goal-related hypotheses presented in chapter three, six were supported and two were not supported. The hypothesi s that directly connected goal difficulty to performance was not supported. The supported hypotheses follow: Boards with higher perceived levels of goal sp ecificity have higher levels of performance. Boards with higher perceived levels of goal sp ecificity have higher levels of goal-related self-efficacy. Boards with higher perceived levels of goa l specificity have higher levels of goal commitment. Boards with higher perceived leve ls of goal difficulty will have lower levels of goal-related self-efficacy. Boards with higher perceived levels of goal-rela ted self-efficacy have higher levels of goal commitment. Boards with higher perceived levels of goal commitment have higher levels of performance.

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122 Using regression models for explaining board performance, the researcher found that goal content alone (model 1b) explai ned 12.5% of the variance ( R2 adj = .125). This moderate relationship was not enhanced by adding goal in tensity (model 2b) and workshop attendance (model 3b). However, the amount of variance expl ained did increase when board demographics were added to the model. The full model (4b) produced an adjusted R -square of .244, with a p value of .009. This is near the social science st andard for large effect sizes, identified when R2 reaches .25 (Cohen, 1988, pp. 79-81; Penfield, 2003, p. 232). The influence of goal specificity remained significant throughout all four models. The only other parameter to show statistical significance in the first four models was the av erage number of meetings directors attended in the previous six months (in model 4b: = 0.08, p = .029). When board demographics were considered alone, the model (5b) remained signifi cant and also displayed a moderate relationship ( R2 adj = .235). In this model (5b), average meeting attendance was the only parameter to display statistical significance ( = 0.09, p = .004). Additional statistics from all five explanatory models are displayed in Table 4-16. To allow for mo re direct interpreta tion of relationships, standardized coefficients for th e models are displayed in Table 4-17. The researcher did analyze reduced models that included only those parameters with a p -value less than .10. However, the reduced models did not display a nd substantive changes, so there was no need to report them separately. Key findings from the regression models are as follows: The regression models generally provide sign ificant explanatory va lue for reported board performance, and the amount of variance e xplained increases with the addition of explanatory variables. Goal specificity has a positive relationship with reported board performance, and that relationship remains significant wh en other variable s are controlled. Average meeting attendance is positively re lated to reported board performance and continues to display a significant relations hip when other variables are controlled.

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123 Summary This chapter presented the findings of the study. Findings were or ganized and presented by the following objectives: 1. Describe select demographics of local Flor ida Farm Bureau board members and program participants; 2. Measure the engagement level of local Florida Farm Bureau board members in Farm Bureau Foundations Best Practices ; 3. Measure the goal attributes experience d by program particip ants with their Farm Bureau Foundations Best Practices goal; 4. Explain individual-level performance with best practices identified in the Farm Bureau Foundations program; and 5. Explain board-level perf ormance with best practices identified in the Farm Bureau Foundations program. Chapter 5 offers a more detailed discussion of the study’s findings, including conclusions drawn from the findings. In addition, chapter five will provide recommendations for future implementation of the FFBF Strengthening the Voice program and recommendations for future research.

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124 Figure 4-1. Correlations between goal constructs and pers onal performance graphically displayed in the hypothesized model. Note 1: Although arrows suggest causal paths, the statistics reported are onl y correlations. Note 2: p .05; ** p .01; *** p .001 Figure 4-2. Correlations between goal constructs and local board performance graphically displayed in the hypothesized model Note 1: Although arrows s uggest causal paths, the statistics reported are onl y correlations. Note 2: p .05; ** p .01; *** p .001 .270 .305 .640 *** .879*** -.130 .388 ** .624 *** Goal Specificity Goal Difficulty Goal-Related Self-Efficacy Goal Commitment Board Performance .261 .116 .679 *** .733*** -.200 .278 .632 *** Goal Specificity Goal Difficulty Goal-Related Self-Efficacy Goal Commitment Personal Performance

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125Table 4-1. Demographics of FFBF Local Board Members (n=397) and population subgroups (treatment n=81, control n=76, and spillover treatment n=240) Population Group or Sub-Group All Board Members Treatment Control Spillover Treatment Demographic n% or M (SD)n% or M (SD) n% or M (SD)n% or M (SD) Gender Male 34188.16480 7193.420689.2 Female 4611.91620 56.62510.8 Race/Ethnicity White, Non-Hispanic 37997.47897.5 76100.022596.6 Black/African American 30.800.0 00.031.3 Hispanic 10.300.0 00.010.4 Other 61.522.5 00.041.7 Education (highest level) Some H.S. or less 61.500.0 22.641.7 H.S. diploma or GED 7418.91113.6 1519.74820.5 Some college, no degree 9724.82632.1 1621.15523.5 Associate degree 389.7911.1 56.62410.3 Bachelor’s degree 13233.81822.2 3242.18235.0 Master’s degree 317.91417.3 56.6125.1 Professional or doctorate 133.333.7 11.393.9 Age (years) 38454.8 (13.9)8055.0 (15.0) 7555.9 (15.2)22954.3 (13.2) Florida Farm Bureau tenure Years of membership 39323.4 (14.4)8123.4 (15.8) 7524.0 (14.0)23723.2 (14.1) Years on board 37912.4 (10.8)7811.7 (11.2) 7112.2 (11.1)23012.6 (10.7) Number of meetings attended during previous 6 months 3674.36 (1.82)764.78 (2.34) 734.00 (1.68)2184.34 (1.62) Note: M = Mean, SD = Standard Deviation.

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126Table 4-2. Ratings of individual and board practices among FFBF Local Board Me mbers (n=397) and population sub-groups (treatment n=81, control n=76, and spillover treatment n=240)Individuals’ Ratings of Engagement in Local Farm Bureau-Related Practices All Board Members Treatment Control Spillover Treatment Individual Board Individual Board Individual Board Individual Board Local Farm Bureau Practice n M (SD) n M (SD) n M (SD) n M (SD) n M (SD) n M (SD) n M (SD) n M (SD) Use Farm Bureau facts and history in member recruitment 375 1.75 (0.81) 375 2.07 (0.78) 79 1.76 (0.77) 77 1.94 (0.78) 71 1.63 (0.87) 69 2.04 (0.86) 225 1.78 (0.80) 229 2.12 (0.75) Share Farm Bureau facts and history in public relations activities 379 1.84 (0.84) 382 2.20 (0.75) 80 1.84 (0.82) 79 2.15 (0.72) 71 1.75 (0.89) 69 2.26 (0.78) 228 1.88 (0.83) 234 2.20 (0.76) Recognize and promote member benefits 382 2.02 (0.78) 384 2.32 (0.71) 80 2.13 (0.80) 79 2.39 (0.72) 72 2.01 (0.80) 70 2.30 (0.71) 230 1.99 (0.77) 235 2.29 (0.70) Limit board meeting discussion to federation business 378 1.54 (0.90) 382 1.64 (0.91) 80 1.70 (0.82) 80 1.71 (0.87) 72 1.60 (0.78) 71 1.66 (0.75) 226 1.47 (0.95) 231 1.61 (0.96) Allow time in meeting agendas for an insurance report 371 2.62 (0.69) 387 2.76 (0.59) 78 2.67 (0.66) 80 2.75 (0.63) 71 2.61 (0.67) 71 2.76 (0.60) 222 2.60 (0.70) 236 2.77 (0.57) Maintain a working relationship with the insurance agency manager 384 2.70 (0.61) 389 2.82 (0.47) 81 2.70 (0.60) 80 2.80 (0.84) 73 2.64 (0.67) 72 2.78 (0.42) 230 2.71 (0.59) 237 2.84 (0.46) Actively use Farm Bureau’s grassroots approach to governance 382 2.30 (0.69) 385 2.47 (0.64) 80 2.40 (0.69) 79 2.53 (0.64) 71 2.23 (0.68) 70 2.42 (0.65) 231 2.29 (0.69) 236 2.47 (0.65) Cite Farm Bureau's mission when promoting the organization to potential members 379 2.01 (0.84) 384 2.30 (0.78) 78 1.90 (0.89) 78 2.21 (0.89) 73 2.00 (0.80) 72 2.28 (0.75) 228 2.05 (0.84) 234 2.34 (0.74) Hold Farm Bureau leadership accountable to the organization mission, vision, and beliefs 379 2.16 (0.76) 384 2.28 (0.75) 80 2.28 (0.73) 80 2.36 (0.75) 71 2.18 (0.78) 71 2.20 (0.73) 228 2.11 (0.76) 233 2.27 (0.75) Adopt a local mission and values to guide board actions 372 1.82 (0.89) 381 2.01 (0.88) 78 1.81 (0.91) 79 2.05 (0.90) 69 1.78 (0.84) 70 2.00 (0.85) 225 1.84 (0.90) 232 2.00 (0.89) Promote continued political involvement by citing Farm Bureau’s past successes 382 2.20 (0.79) 385 2.38 (0.70) 80 2.25 (0.77) 79 2.43 (0.65) 72 2.15 (0.82) 71 2.25 (0.73) 230 2.20 (0.79) 235 2.40 (0.71) Maintain organizational accountability to the grassroots mission when new policies are proposed 380 2.14 (0.74) 387 2.29 (0.72) 77 2.14 (0.68) 79 2.27 (0.73) 74 2.14 (0.80) 74 2.26 (0.76) 229 2.14 (0.75) 234 2.30 (0.70)

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Table 4-2. Continued 127Individuals’ Ratings of Engagement in Local Farm Bureau-Related Practices All Board Members Treatment Control Spillover Treatment Individual Board Individual Board Individual Board Individual Board Local Farm Bureau Practice n M (SD) n M (SD) n M (SD) n M (SD) n M (SD) n M (SD) n M (SD) n M (SD) Maximize the benefits of collaboration when promoting political policy 373 2.07 (0.73) 383 2.23 (0.71) 76 2.17 (0.70) 78 2.33 (0.70) 73 2.01 (0.74) 73 2.16 (0.73) 224 2.05 (0.73) 232 2.22 (0.71) Implement grassroots policy by following Farm Bureau’s development and implementation process 371 1.96 (0.76) 378 2.16 (0.75) 76 1.96 (0.74) 76 2.21 (0.75) 73 1.96 (0.79) 73 2.11 (0.83) 222 1.95 (0.77) 229 2.17 (0.72) Strengthen the “Voice of Agriculture” by getting involved in statewide committees 384 1.65 (1.05) 385 2.23 (0.78) 80 1.88 (1.04) 77 2.27 (0.77) 74 1.57 (1.07) 74 2.00 (0.91) 230 1.61 (1.03) 234 2.28 (0.73) Plan for policy implementation challenges before they arise 376 1.60 (0.80) 383 1.92 (0.81) 77 1.77 (0.81) 78 2.00 (0.79) 73 1.53 (0.78) 73 1.81 (0.84) 226 1.57 (0.79) 232 1.93 (0.81) Consult others, including adversaries, for input and feedback on policy ideas 380 1.76 (0.84) 384 1.97 (0.82) 79 2.01 (0.90) 78 2.14 (0.82) 74 1.69 (0.79) 72 1.85 (0.80) 227 1.70 (0.82) 234 1.94 (0.83) Average of all practices 393 2.01 (0.48) 393 2.24 (0.48) 80 2.08 (0.50) 79 2.27 (0.49) 72 1.97 (0.48) 72 2.19 (0.48) 232 2.00 (0.47) 237 2.24 (0.46) Note1: M = Mean, SD = Standard Deviation Note2: Response options were coded as follows: Not at All (0), Somewhat (1), Mostly (2), and Completely (3) Note3: “Average of All Practices” is a calculated average of the respondent’s ratings, provided that the respondent rated at le ast half of the practices.

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128Table 4-3. Perception of engagement level ( board and individual) in Farm Bureau rela ted practices in comparison with other six month periods Dimension of Engagement All Board Members Treatment Control Spillover Treatment Individual Board Individual Board Individual Board Individual Board Difference in Engagement n % n % n % n % n % n % n % n % A lot less (-2) 15 3.9 2 0.5 1 1.3 0 0.0 2 2.7 0 0.0 12 5.1 2 0.9 Somewhat less (-1) 31 8.0 7 1.8 5 6.3 3 3.8 8 10.7 0 0.0 18 7.7 4 1.7 About the same (0) 229 58.7 243 62.2 49 61.3 50 62.5 41 54.7 44 58.7 139 59.2 149 63.1 Somewhat more (1) 97 24.9 122 31.2 18 22.5 22 27.5 18 24.0 27 36.0 61 26.0 73 30.9 A lot more (2) 18 4.6 17 4.4 7 8.8 5 6.3 6 8.0 4 5.3 5 2.1 8 3.4 Overall Mean (Standard Deviation) 390 0.18 (0.79) 391 0.37 (0.62) 80 0.31 (0.77) 80 0.36 (0.66) 75 0.24 (0.85) 75 0.47 (0.60) 235 0.12 (0.78) 236 0.34 (0.62)

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129 Table 4-4. Farm Bureau Foundations’ participants’ ratings on que stions related to the goal setting process Construct Component n Mean SD Goal Specificity I have been clear about the details of the STV goal that I set following the Farm Bureau Foundations workshop. 80 0.56 0.76 My STV goal focused on a specific activity or outcome. 80 0.63 0.74 I have shared my STV goal with others. 80 0.33 0.82 Goal Difficulty On the day of the workshop, I pe rceived my STV goal as being difficult. 81 -0.14 0.79 In the months following the workshop, I perceived my STV goal as being difficult. 81 -0.26 0.75 Others likely perceive the STV goal I set as being difficult. 80 -0.20 0.74 In general, the Farm Bureau Foundations best practices proposed in the workshop are difficult to implement. 80 -0.56 0.82 It has been difficult for me to develop a strategy for personally implementing the best practices. 79 -0.14 0.92 Goal Commitment I have been committed to the STV goal that I set. 81 0.44 0.77 It is important for me to accomplish the STV goal that I set. 81 0.65 0.69 Since the workshop, I have increased my attention to Farm Bureau Foundations best practices. 80 0.49 0.78 Compared to those who did not a ttend the workshop, my attention has been more focused on the Farm Bureau Foundations best practices. 79 0.48 0.70 I have invested a high level of effort in adopting the Farm Bureau Foundations best practices. 79 0.13 0.81 Overall, I have been highly pe rsistence in working toward my STV goal. 79 0.14 0.83 Self-Efficacy During the months following the workshop, I was confident in my ability to adopt the Farm Bureau Foundations best practices. 81 0.57 0.74 After the Farm Bureau Foundations workshop, I was prepared to apply knowledge and strategies related to the best practices. 79 0.70 0.68 As a result of this program, I am a more effective Farm Bureau member and leader. 79 0.72 0.68 Goal Performance As a result of this program, I am a more effective Farm Bureau member and leader. 79 0.72 0.68 As a result of this program, other members of my local Farm Bureau board have become more effective. 79 0.47 0.71 As a result of this program, my local Farm Bureau as a whole has become more effective. 79 0.49 0.75

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Table 4-4. Continued 130 Construct Component n Mean SD Other/Unique I have been able to gauge my pr ogress in adopting best practices addressed in the Farm Bureau Foundations program. 81 0.30 0.77 I have received feedback from others regarding my progress in adopting the best practices. 80 -0.16 0.77 Adopting the Farm Bureau Foundations best practices requires a complex set of skills and/or thought. 80 0.00 0.91 In the months following the workshop, I have found it easy to give up or ignore my STV goal. 78 -0.40 0.83 The success of my local Farm Bu reau is dependent upon adopting the Farm Bureau Foundations best practices. 81 0.64 0.78 Note1: SD = standard deviation. Note2: Responses options were coded as follows : Strongly Disagree (-2), Disagree (-1), Neither Agree nor Disagree (0), Agree (1), or Strongly Agree (2). Table 4-5. Farm Bureau Foundations’ participants’ ratings on cons tructs associated with goal setting ( n =81) Goal Theory Component Construct MeanStandard Deviation Minimum Maximum Goal Content Specificity 0.330.57 -1.25 1.25 Difficulty -0.260.57 -1.60 2.00 Goal Intensity Commitment 0.380.56 -1.00 1.50 Self-efficacy 0.650.53 -0.67 2.00 Performance 0.550.64 -1.33 2.00 Note1: Ratings based on questions that used a five-point Likert-type s cale: “Strongly Disagree” (-2), “Disagree” (-1), “Neither Agree nor Di sagree” (0), “Agree” (1), and “Strongly Agree” (2).

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131 Table 4-6. Board-level variable s’ correlations with ratings of personal performance on local Farm Bureau practices n Pearson’s r Individual’s rating of board performance on practices 379.704*** Local board respondents’ average rating of board performance on practices 384.349*** FFBF staff member’s average rating of board performance on practices 270.195** Size of local FFBF board 384 .085 Percent of local board participants in STV Farm Bureau Foundations program component 384-.005 Number of local board participants in STV Farm Bureau Foundations program component 384 .015 Note: p .05; ** p .01; *** p .001 Table 4-7. Individual-level variab les’ correlations with ratings of personal performance on local Farm Bureau practices n Pearson’s r Engagement in practices re lative to other six month periods 378 .150** Rating of board engagement in practices relative to other six month periods 378 .094 Number of meetings atte nded during 6 months 356 .271*** Age 373 .151** Education level 379-.115* Gender 375-.053 Years of membership in FFBF 381 .146** Number of years served on the local FFBF board 368 .084 Attendance at a Farm Bureau Foundations workshop 384 .071 Note: p .05; ** p .01; *** p .001 Table 4-8. Goal-theory construc ts’ correlations with ratings of personal performance on local Farm Bureau practices ( n =80) Variable 1 2 3 4 5 1. Personal performance 2. Goal performance rating .223* 3. Specificity .278* .582*** 4. Difficulty -.200 -.077 -.033 5. Commitment .261* .623*** .632*** -.059 6. Self-efficacy .285* .727*** .679*** -.116 .733*** Note: p .05; ** p .01; *** p .001

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132Table 4-9. Inter-correlations betwee n selected independent variables at the individual level of analysis Pearson Correlation Coefficients: r Variable 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 1. Personal performance 2. Goal specificity .278 3. Goal difficulty -.200-.033 4. Goal commitment .261.632 -.059 5. Goal-related self-efficacy .285.679 .116 .733 6. Engagement in practices relative to other 6 month periods .150.332 -.003 .326.379 7. Number of meetings attended during 6 months .271 .199.145.164 .227.305 8. Gender -.053-.014-.083.002.061.041 -.015 9. Age .151 -.007-.033.072.084-.003 .046-.031 10. Education-level -.115 .078 -.233 -.079-.009-.019 -.059.020 -.173 11. Number of years served on local FFBF board .084-.039-.009.086.047-.091 .024-.087 .524-.113 12. Size of local FFBF board .085.076.167.051.001.062 .137 .017 -.117 .088-.059 13. Board engagement in practices relative to other 6 month periods .094 .326 -.075 .345.384.426 .155 -.015.054-.095-.056 .101 14. Treatment group dummy code .071 -----------.082 .116.128 .009.058-.030-.040-.007 15. Control group dummy code -.043 -----------.034 -.099-.081.040-.005-.006-.004.075 Note1: Coefficients in bold are significant at the .05 alpha level. Note2: Correlations between group controls an d goal theory constructs are not reported because goal constructs were measured fo r the treatment group (program participants) only.

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133Table 4-10. Regression models fo r individual performance: Explai ning average rating for personal performance among best practi ces using variables associated with goa l core, moderators, and mechanisms Model 1i n=80 Model 2i n=80 Model 3i n=72 Model 4i n=72 Model 5i n=336 Source Est. Est. Est. Est. Est. Adjusted R-Square .091.083.214.194.081 F-Statistic 4.95.0092.78.0332.93.0052.42.0123.96<.001 Intercept 1.95<.0011.89<.0011.91<.0011.92<.0011.36<.001 Goal Content Specificity 0.24.0130.14.3080.19.2040.18.225 Difficulty -0.17.079-0.16.106-0.22.050-0.24.041 Goal Intensity Commitment 0.08.607-0.03.863-0.03.817 Self-Efficacy 0.10.5500.17.3410.20.299 Individual-Level Engagement in practices rela tive to other 6 month periods 0.02.7990.04.6880.08.042 Number of meetings at tended during 6 months -0.01.738-0.01.6520.04.003 Gender -0.39.006-0.43.006-0.06.566 Age 0.00.3390.00.3490.00.023 Education level -0.08.059-0.09.048-0.03.080 Number of years served on local FFBF board 0.01.3770.01.9130.00.922 Board Characteristics Size of local FFBF board 0.01.5100.00.298 Level of board engagement in practices relative to other 6 month periods -0.03.7650.01.847 Group Controls Treatment dummy code 0.06.338 Control dummy code -0.01.920

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134Table 4-11. Standardized regres sion models for individua l performance: Explaining average ra ting for personal performance amon g best practices using variables associated with goal core, moderators, and mechanisms Model 1i n=80 Model 2i n=80 Model 3i n=72 Model 4i n=72 Model 5i n=336 Source Est. Est. Est. Est. Est. Adjusted R-Square .091.083.214.194.081 F-Statistic 4.95.0092.78.0332.93.0052.42.0123.96<.001 Goal Content Specificity 0.27.0130.15.3080.20.2040.19.225 Difficulty -0.19.079-0.18.106-0.22.050-0.25.041 Goal Intensity Commitment 0.08.607-0.03.863-0.04.817 Self-Efficacy 0.10.5500.17.3410.19.299 Individual-Level Engagement in practices rela tive to other 6 month periods 0.03.7990.06.6880.12.042 Number of meetings at tended during 6 months -0.04.738-0.06.6520.17.005 Gender -0.31.006-0.34.006-0.03.470 Age 0.12.3390.12.3490.14.027 Education level -0.22.059-0.24.048-0.09.071 Number of years served on local FFBF board 0.11.3770.11.3810.01.913 Board Characteristics Size of local FFBF board 0.08.5100.06.269 Level of board engagement in practices relative to other 6 month periods -0.04.7650.01.831 Group Controls Treatment dummy code 0.05.338 Control dummy code -0.01.920

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135 Table 4-12. Correlation between ra tings of board performance on local Farm Bureau practices and other ratings of performance Correlation w/ Board Performance Rating Aggregate of Board Member Ratings FFBF Field Staff Member’s Rating Rating of Performance n r n r Board member’s average rating of board performance on Farm Bureau Foundations practices ----42 .356* FFBF staff member’s average rating of board performance on Farm Bureau Foundations practices 42.356* ---Board members’ average rating of personal performance on Farm Bureau Foundations practices 59 .822*** 42 .381* Level of individual member engagement in practices relative to other six month periods 59-.085 42 -.113 Level of board engagement in practices relative to other six month periods 59 .307* 42 .118 Rating of best practices goal effectiveness on actual performance 59.384** 43 .010 Note: p .05; ** p .01; *** p .001 Table 4-13. Correlation between average board member rating of board performance on local Farm Bureau practices and board demographics Correlation w/ Board Performance Rating Aggregate of Board Member Ratings FFBF Field Staff Member’s Rating Board Demographics n r n r Number of directors 59 .194 43 .423** Percent of female directors 59-.259* 42 -.096 Average age of directors 59-.030 42 -.246 Average education level of directors 59-.231 42 .029 Average board tenure of directors 59 .251 42 .344* Average years of FFBF membership among directors 59 .337** 42 .140 Average # of meetings directors attended during 6 months 59 .432*** 42 .413** Note: p .05; ** p .01; *** p .001

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136 Table 4-14. Correlation between average board member rating of board performance on local Farm Bureau practices and Farm Bureau Foundations workshop attendance Correlation w/ Board Performance Rating Aggregate of Board Member Ratings FFBF Field Staff Member’s Rating Level of Attendance n r n r Percent of total board 59 .123 43 -.048 10% of total board 59 .009 43 .022 25% of total board 59-.008 43 -.228 33% of total board 59 .154 43 -.161 50% of total board 59.179 43 .031 Number of board members 59 .148 43 .170 1 or more board members 59.117 43 .313* 2 or more board members 59.086 43 -.005 3 or more board members 59-.011 43 .002 4 or more board members 59 .231 43 .134 5 or more board members 59 .213 43 .134 Note: p .05; ** p .01; *** p .001

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137Table 4-15. Correlation between goal-theory constructs and ra tings of board performance on local Farm Bureau practices Variable n M SD 1 2 3 4 5 6 1.Board Performance Rated by Directors 592.160.33 2.Board Performance Rated by FFBF Staff 431.590.50.355* 3.Goal Performance Rating 618.8915.8.384** .010 4.Specificity 614.3410.8.388** .118 .676*** 5.Difficulty 61-3.478.4-.130 .002 -.205 -.158 6.Commitment 615.8410.4.270* -.003 .741*** .624*** -.315* 7.Self-Efficacy 6110.013.8.215 -.026 .876*** .640*** -.305* .879*** Note1: Goal theory constructs (items 3-7) were weighted by % board attendance at workshop. Note2: p .05; ** p .01; *** p .001

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138Table 4-16. Regression models for board pe rformance: Explaining aggregate board memb er rating for board performance among best practices using weighted goal theo ry constructs, program participat ion, and board demographics (n=59) Model 1b Model 2b Model 3b Model 4b Model 5b Source Est. Est. Est. Est. Est. Adjusted R-Square .125.110 .113.244.235 F-Statistic 5.16.0092.79.035 2.23.0542.70.0094.56.002 Intercept 2.11<.0012.12<.001 2.15<.0011.93<.0011.83<.001 Goal Content Specificity 0.01.0040.01.017 0.01.0200.01.046 Difficulty -0.00.564-0.00.562 -0.00.536-0.00.498 Goal Intensity Commitment 0.01.389 0.01.4800.00.623 Self-Efficacy -0.01.323 -0.01.463-0.01.448 Workshop Attendance Percent of board members -0.00.492-0.00.938 4 or more board members 0.27.1510.12.517 Board Demographics Number of directors 0.01.2480.01.271 Percent of female directors -0.24.296-0.40.074 Average education level of directors -0.06.192-0.05.284 Average board tenure among directors 0.00.6000.01.337 Average number of meetings di rectors attended during 6 months 0.08.0290.09.004

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139Table 4-17. Standardized regr ession models for board perfor mance: Explaining aggregate board member rating for board performance among best practices using we ighted goal theory constructs, program participation, and board demographics (n=59) Model 1b Model 2b Model 3b Model 4b Model 5b Source Est. Est. Est. Est. Est. Adjusted R-Square .125.110 .113.244.235 F-Statistic 5.16.0092.79.035 2.23.0542.70.0094.56.002 Goal Content Specificity 0.38.0040.40.017 0.40.0200.33.046 Difficulty -0.07.564-0.08.562 -0.08.536-0.08.498 Goal Intensity Commitment 0.23.389 0.20.4800.13.623 Self-Efficacy -0.27.323 -0.36.463-0.27.448 Workshop Attendance Percent of board members -0.18.492-0.02.938 4 or more board members 0.29.1510.13.517 Board Demographics Number of directors 0.15.2480.13.271 Percent of female directors -0.13.296-0.22.074 Average education level of directors -0.16.192-0.13.284 Average board tenure among directors 0.07.6000.12.337 Average number of meetings di rectors attended during 6 months 0.30.0290.37.004

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140 CHAPTER 5 SUMMARY AND DISCUSSION Summary of the Study Statement of the Problem The primary impetus for the STV program was a desire to improve the effectiveness of local FFBF boards of directors. An important qu estion, then, is whether or not aspects of the program are influencing board effectiveness. Di d any attitude and behavi oral changes occur? To a broader degree, though, can changes in board performance be attributed to constructs associated with goal setting theory? FFBF invested substantial time, money, a nd effort in the implementation of the Farm Bureau Foundations component of the STV program. Was it worth the investment? Are the participants more proficient in Farm Bureau Foundations related tasks? FFBF has plans to quadruple this investment through implementa tion of four more components of the STV program. Are there ways to better focus th ese efforts? What participant and program characteristics are most associated with achieve ment of the best prac tices goals? Does the answer lie in a more direct appl ication of goal se tting theory? With an ex post facto study, it is not possible to directly measure change and answer all of these questions. However, these inquiries lead to an important research question: What factors, variables, or interventions explai n the quality of engagement (in terms of best practices) of local board members in a multi-level, membership orga nization? This question was used to guide the exploratory study with the STV program.

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141 Purpose and Objectives The purpose of the study was to explain lo cal board performance, as related to a professional development program for local board s of a nonprofit organization. The objectives of this study were as follows: 1. Describe select demographics of local Flor ida Farm Bureau board members and program participants; 2. Measure the engagement level of local Florida Farm Bureau board members in Farm Bureau Foundations Best Practices ; 3. Measure the goal attributes experience d by program particip ants with their Farm Bureau Foundations Best Practices goal; 4. Explain individual-level performance with best practices identified in the Farm Bureau Foundations program; and 5. Explain board-level perf ormance with best practices identified in the Farm Bureau Foundations program. Methodology This was a descriptive study using ex post facto and correlational design to reveal relationships and explain local board performance related to be st practices promoted in the Farm Bureau Foundations program component of Florida Farm Bureau’s Strengthening the Voice program. Separate survey instruments were designed by the researcher for use with three different study populations. The first population included Farm Bureau Foundations program participants. They were administered the “Best Practices Go al Survey.” The second population was program non-participants, and they were administered th e “Local Board Practices Survey.” The third population was FFBF field staff, and they were administered the “Field Staff Perceptions Survey.”

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142 The survey techniques applied in this study closely followed Dillman’s (2000) Tailored Design Method for mail surveys. The procedures yielded an overall survey response rate of 57.2% among individual board me mbers, representing 98.4% of the local FFBF boards. In addition, the response rate for FFB F field staff was 75%. Issues associated with unit and item non-response were discussed in chapter 3. Procedures for data analysis included descri ptive statistics, correlational analysis, and multivariate regression. The first four regressi on models for explaining individual performance investigated the explanatory valu e of the goal theory constructs. These models included data from program participants only, since they were the only ones engaged in the goal setting process. The fifth model investigated only i ndividual demographics and board characteristics, thus offering an investigati on that included program partic ipants and non-participants. Performance at the board-level was asse ssed by individual board members and by the appropriate FFBF assistant director of field services (a.k.a. fi eld staff member). This assessment allowed the researcher to investigate performance at the local board level of analysis. For the models explaining board performance, the depe ndent variable was the aggregate average of board members’ ratings of board engagement in th e identified local Farm Bureau practices. The dependent variables included goal constructs (weighted by works hop participation), levels of workshop attendance, and other board characteristics. Findings A summary of the findings of th is study are presented in relation to the objectives of the study. Objective 1: Describe demographics As reported in chapter four, the typical FFBF local board member is a white male, about 55 years old, with some college education. The av erage tenure with Farm Bu reau is 23 years of

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143 membership and 12 years of service on the local board. Board members w ho participated in the Farm Bureau Foundations component of the Strengthening the Voice program were similar demographically, except that they included more females and were likely to have attended more Farm Bureau meetings during the period of study. Objective 2: Measure engagement level When asked about their engagement level in local Farm Bureau practices, respondents’ typical rating was “mostly.” The mean rating wa s 2.01 based on a scale of zero to three: (0) not at all, (1) somewhat, (2) mostly, and (3) comple tely. When asked to rate the local board’s engagement in the same series of practices, th e mean rating was somewhat higher at 2.24. Tests for differences between the population sub-group s displayed no significa nt differences among the average ratings. However, program particip ants reported significan tly higher engagement levels in specific practices associated with workshop objective four, including: Strengthen the ‘Voice of Agriculture’ by getting involved in statewide committees; Plan for policy implementation challenges before they arise; and Consult others, including a dversaries, for input and feedback on policy ideas. In addition, the treatment group repo rted significantly higher levels of board engagement in two of the same practices: Strengthen the ‘Voice of Agriculture’ by ge tting involved in stat ewide committees; and Consult others, including a dversaries, for input and feedback on policy ideas. Objective 3: Measure goal attributes Respondents who participated in the Farm Bureau Foundations program component and set a goal for implementing recommended best pr actices tended to identify their goals as specific, yet not difficult. They tended to be somewhat committed to their goals and believed they possessed the ability necessary to complete th e relevant tasks. In addition, they expressed some agreement that the Farm Bureau Foundations program component contributed toward

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144 improved individual and local board performan ce. Among individual goa l-related statements, the statement that respondents agreed with most was “as a result of this program, I am a more effective Farm Bureau member and leader.” Th e statement with the second-highest level of agreement was “after the Farm Bureau Foundations workshop, I was prepared to apply knowledge and strategies re lated to the best practices.” The statement with the highest level of disagreement was “in general, the Farm Bur eau Foundations best practices proposed in the workshop are difficult to implement.” Objective 4: Explain individual performance on best practices Regression models explain up to 21% of the va riance in reported personal performance. The variance is explained most when perceptions of goal content, perceptions of goal intensity, and reported demographics are all considered. When individual demographics and local board characteristics are considered alone, 8% of the variance in reported person al performance can be explained. Other key findings from th e regression models are as follows: Goal specificity has a positive relationship with reported performance when goal difficulty alone is controlled, but the relationship is not significant when other explanatory variables are added to the model. Goal difficulty and being female have a nega tive relationship with reported performance when both are included in a regression model, but each is not significant when the other is missing from the model. Education level has a negative relations hip with reported performance when goal constructs, individual dem ographics, and board charac teristics are controlled. When individual demographics and board charact eristics are considered separate from goal constructs, personal performance is positively related with increased engagement, increased meeting attendance, and increased age. Objective 5: Explain local board performance on best practices Regression models explain nearly 25% of the va riance in reported board performance. The variance is explained most when perceptions of goal content, percep tions of goal intensity,

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145 workshop attendance, and identified board characteristics are all co nsidered. Goal specificity has a positive relationship with reported board perfor mance, and that relationship remains significant when other variables are controlle d. In addition, average meeting attendance is positively related to reported board performance and continues to display a significant relationship when other variables are controlled. When individual demographics and lo cal board characteristics are considered alone, 23.5% of the variance in repor ted board performance can be explained. Conclusions and Discussion Because this was a census study of FFBF local board members, the generalizability of the conclusions and recommendations of the study beyond the population described should be carefully considered. With this limitation in mind, the following conclusions were derived from the findings of the five research objectives. Each conclusion is liste d as a bold paragraph heading and is followed by a brie f discussion of the conclusion. Objective 1: Describe Demographics FFBF local board members have extensive ex perience in terms of age, Farm Bureau membership, and years of service on the local Farm Bureau board. As found in previous research by Carter (2004), there is little turnover among FFBF local board members. This can be helpful to the degree that added experience is beneficial. However, new board members can bring new ideas and the lack of turnover and “youth” on local FFBF boards can cause the local boards and the organization to grow stagnant (Scribner, 2004). Furthermore, the lack of younger members serving on local FFBF boards may be sy mptomatic of other problems. Do younger members lack a desire to serve the organization in these local leadership roles? Are younger members interested in serving, yet do not feel qualified or welcome? Unfortunately, research rarely explores questions surrounding volunt ary leader succession (Schall, 1997; Sorenson,

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146 2004). These questions require further investigat ion, if FFBF is interested in receiving the strategic benefits that younger leaders can provide. Local board members who attended the Farm Bureau Foundations workshop were more likely than other local b oard members to be female. The reason why female board members were more likely to attend the Farm Bureau Foundations workshop is unknown. It may be that female board members are simply more willing to attend professional development programs. Carter and Rudd (2005) recognized that there is a tr end toward increased female leadership in agricultural orga nizations and perhaps this chan ge is being f acilitated through increased involvement in professional devel opment programming. In any case, Farm Bureau should consider if this differential involvement changes the profile of volunteer leaders in the organization. This is an issue that may warrant further exploration, espe cially since local boards with higher ratios of female dire ctors were associated with lowe r ratings of board performance. If the Strengthening the Voice program is intended to improve local board performance, and females are more likely to participate than male s, then the program theory would suggest that local boards with a higher ratio of female directors should have higher levels of board performance. However, the current study does not provide evidence to support that conclusion. Questions associated with gender differences in pr ogram participation should be explored further and any mediating factors should be exposed. Local board members who attended the Farm Bureau Foundations workshop were likely to have attended more local Farm Burea u meetings than other local board members. The relationship between workshop attendance a nd increased meeting attendance could be a causal relationship, but there is no t sufficient evidence to support the causality. What is more likely is that some board members are simply more involved or more motivated to attend

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147 meetings and events. Their attendance did not increase their motivati on for involvement but rather is symptomatic of their le vel of involvement in the organiza tion. If this is the case, then the workshop participants are not representative of the larger population, and this difference has important implications for program impact (Rossi et al., 2004). Local FF BF directors who have less involvement are not being reached by the program FFBF should seek out ways to reach this underserved portion of the population. Perhaps boa rd members who attend fewer meetings have time constraints that prevent them from being as fully involved. They should be consulted to determine how professional deve lopment opportunities can be ta ilored to better fit their schedules and needs. Objective 2: Measure Engagement Level Among recommended local Farm Bureau pr actices, board members were most confident in their performance on practices th at involved their relationship with the Farm Bureau insurance agency. The fact that insurance related pr actices are the two highest rated Farm Bureau Foundations practices is somewhat confusing a nd disheartening. It is confusing because the finding seems somewh at contradictory to earlier research by Kaufman and Rudd (2006), who identified insurance operations as a professional de velopment topic for local FFB board members. The high ratings for insuranc e practices are somewhat disheartening because insurance operations should not be the dominant focus of the Federation (FFBF, 2006). FFBF offers insurance as a service and member benef it, and the insurance opera tions of the Federation have important financial implications. Howeve r, FFBF leaders have expressed concern about maintaining the focus of the Federation and keepi ng insurance operations in perspective. Since maintaining a working relationship with the lo cal insurance agency is among the local Farm Bureau best practices, it is positive to see high ratings of this area. Even still, further research is needed to explore why other practi ces are not being more highly rated.

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148 The local Farm Bureau practice with the a rea for greatest improvement is “limit board meeting discussion to Federation business.” The desire for more efficient local FFBF board meetings surfaced in prior research by Carter (2004) and by Kaufman and Rudd (2006). One of the concerns expressed in the research by Kaufman and Rudd was that local FFBF board meetings can get off task and lose their focu s. While some board members expressed little concern for meeting time being spent on non-official business, others expressed concerns about meeting efficiency and productivity. Accordi ng to Kloppenbog and Petrick (1999), “an effective meeting has three major performance goals: (1) th e relationship goal (getting to know each other interpersonally as colleagues, building cohesion and social initi atives for performance, and setting meeting and decision-making ground rules), (2) the task goal (understand project at hand, resources available, immediate assignments, and develop a work plan with all key stakeholders involved), and (3) the learning goa l (identification of collective learning gaps, acknowledgement of lessons learned through activ e participation in quality met hods, and celebration of meeting accomplishments)” (p. 168-169). Local Farm Bureau boards may be spending too much time on the relational goal and not enough on the task and l earning goals. Meetings that lose their focus and purpose also lose their appe al for individuals who have ot her time priorities. Although curriculum in the Farm Bureau Foundations workshop promoted the practice of keeping local board meetings focused on Federation business, it is likely that more n eeds to be done in this area. Participants in the Farm Bureau Foundations program have been more proactive than non-participants in the way they approach local Farm Bureau issues. Significant differences between groups’ average ratings of performance did not surface. However, significant differences did exist am ong individual practices associat ed with objective four of the

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149 workshop. Those practices included getting invo lved in statewide committees, planning for policy implementation challenges, and consulti ng others on policy ideas. These practices suggest a certain degree of pr oactive approach for addressing local Farm Bureau issues. Although this study lacks sufficient evidence to claim a causal relationship between program participation and this proactive approach, the causal path is plausible. This proactive approach is necessary for effective grassroots efforts (Smit h, 1999) and is an important anticipated outcome of the Strengthening the Voice program. Where possible, more should be done to foster continued engagement in these proactive tasks. In addition, more research should be done to determine if these are indeed program outcome s and to improve the understanding of how such efforts can be further advanced. Objective 3: Measure Goal Attributes The best practices goals set by participants in the Farm Bureau Foundations program component were specific but w ere lacking in difficulty. According to goal setting theory, specific, difficult goals improve performance (Locke & Latham, 1990, 2002). In fact, a key aspect of goal setting theory is the belief that a positive, linear relationship exists between goal difficulty and end performance. Because the participants in the Farm Bureau Foundations program component did not perceive their best practices goals as being difficult, some of the potential effect of the goal se tting was lost. Future goal sett ing efforts should emphasize the value and importance of setting difficult goals. When appropriate, goals should be assigned in a manner that ensures a minimum degree of difficu lty. As for the observed influence of goal specificity, more research is n eeded to determine how specificity increases performance without the complimentary aspect of difficulty. Perh aps the influence is primarily through the goal mechanism that Locke and Latham (2002) have id entified as choice/direc tion. In fact, path analysis research would be helpful for impr oving understanding of how all goal constructs

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150 influence one another. The theory has been te sted through regression a nd correlational analysis, but path analysis through st ructural equation modeling provi des the opportunity for further clarification and advancement of the theory. The goal intensity experienced by program pa rticipants was low, but as a whole the group tended to be more committed than not a nd generally felt prepared to implement the recommended practices. Although goal intensity could have been improved through increased goal commitment, the program participants as a whole felt somewhat committed to their goals. This commitment may have been fueled some what by their self-efficacy with the tasks. Respondents’ agreement with questions about goa l commitment and self-efficacy suggests that the program is in a position to benefit from the performance relationships discussed in goal setting theory. However, more can be done to maximize the goal intensity experienced or expressed by program participants, which s hould in turn provide further increases in performance. According to Locke and Latham (1990; 1994), goal intensity can be influenced through role modeling, persuasi ve communication, and by exerti ng reasonable pressure for performance. Some role modeling and persua sive communication has al ready been built into program activities for the Strengthening the Voice program. However, more can be done to provide sufficient “treatment.” It might be he lpful to further educate the FFBF field staff and program presenters on the important potential effects of goal intens ity and how they can directly influence goal intensity, particularly th rough influences on goal commitment. Overall, participants in the Farm Bureau Foundations program component believed the program helped them to become more effective Farm Bureau members and leaders. Generally speaking, program participants perceive d the program to be beneficial. Although endof workshop questionnaires showed this to be true it is important to know that the participants

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151 still believed it to be true at the time of this study – more than six months after attending the workshop. Not only is this a positive indicator of program value, this perception is encouraging for participation in future Strengthening the Voice program components. Participants who maintained a belief that the program was benefici al will be likely to attend future program components and may be more likely to encourage a ttendance by others. While it is important to recognize that this is a perceive d benefit, the perception can ha ve practical implications for future program participation and motivation to learn (Wlodkowski, 1997). Objective 4: Explain Individual Performance on Best Practices Attendance at Farm Bureau Foundations workshop, in and of itself, did not cause a significant difference in p erformance among the local Farm Bureau practices. The finding that workshop attendance was not significantl y correlated with improved personal performance is discouraging in some ways – especially fo r those individuals who have made significant investments in the program. However, this findin g should not be a total surprise. According to Rossi’s Iron Law: “the expected value for any me asured effect of a so cial program is zero” (Rossi et al., 2004, p. 5). In addition, adult program planning m odels generally suggest that multiple learning experiences are required in or der to achieve desired outcomes (Boone et al., 2002). Transfer of learning to behavior does not happen automatically, and it may be that more needs to be done to assist that transfer of lear ning to behavior (Caffa rella, 2002). In fact, the reason this study is investigating goa l setting theory is for its pote ntial in transfe rring learning to behavior. The fact that workshop attendance does not provide a sufficient explanation for differences in performance provides even more rationale for investigating the effects of goal setting. Even still, program implementation fa ilure may have contributed to a diminished treatment effect. Inconsistencies in the goal setting process and follow-up mailings prevented some program participants from receiving the full treatment of the program may have limited the

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152 overall program effect. These inconsistencies sh ould be addressed in future implementation of the program. Meeting attendance is a key attribute associ ated with high personal performance among the local Farm Bureau practices. The data suggests that mee ting attendance during the six month period of study was a be tter predictor of pe rsonal performance than attendance at the Farm Bureau Foundations workshops. Although there is not sufficient evidence to identify a causal relationship between meeting attendance a nd personal performance, this potential should be explored. Perhaps one of the keys to in creasing personal performance on the local Farm Bureau practices is to encourage increased m eeting attendance. However, before too much emphasis is placed on this relationship, more re search should be done to understand what a higher number for meetings attended really means. Lower meeting attend ance is not necessarily representative of increased meeting absence. Local boards do not always have monthly meetings; instead the trend of meetings tends to be seasonal. Some boards meet once a month, except during the summer months when they might not meet at all. The data collected in this study fails to indicate whether the differences in meeting attendance are due to a personal characteristic that involves mee ting absence or a board level ch aracteristic that might vary depending on the period of study. If the differenc e is a board characteri stic that represents frequency of board meetings, the relationship betw een frequency and performance is contrary to findings by Brown (2005) that frequency of nonprofit board meetings is not associated with any measure of board performance. More research should be done to explore and better understand the relationship between meeting a ttendance and personal performance. Perceived differences in the goal setting proce ss help to explain perceived levels of goal performance. This study provides evidence of the prac tical value of goal setting theory in

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153 explaining personal performance among local FF BF board members. Goal setting theory suggests that goal specificity and goal difficulty should be the most significant contributors to personal performance (Locke & Latham, 1990). Although goal difficulty and goal specificity were not consistently significan t in explaining performance, th eir observed effect sizes often exceeded the observed effect sizes of the individual demographic variables analyzed. In addition, goal commitment and self-efficacy were significantly correlated with performance and displayed moderate effect sizes. The principles of goal setting theory should be further applied in professional development efforts with local Farm Bureau board members. In addition, options and opportunities for incorporating the principles of goal setting theory in similar contexts should be explored. As the principles of goa l setting theory are applied, additional research should be conducted to determine the merit of appl ying goal setting theory in these new contexts. Education level is an important consideration for understanding and explaining personal performance. The relationship between demographi c variables (education level and gender) and performance was somewhat unexpected. Based on the review of literature, education level has been cons idered, but observed effects fr om higher education are the exception. Doest and colleagues (2 006) reported that more highly educated respondents expressed lower performance on personal goals du e to higher levels of emotional exhaustion. This explanation may also fit the situation with Farm Bureau local leaders. Another explanation for differential observed effects for education level may be related to the us e of self-ratings of performance. Board members with higher educ ation levels may set a higher standard for personal performance, and they also might be more cognizant of deficiencies in performance. Gender is an important consideration fo r understanding and explaining personal performance. The relationship between gender and pe rformance was unexpected, and the way

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154 gender combined with goal difficulty is perple xing. Gender has been considered in previous studies of goal setting, but effects from gende r are rare. Cullen and colleagues (2004) found male students were having more success with general goal setting than female students. However, these researchers recognized the uniqu eness of their findings and suggested that further research be conducted to confirm the fi ndings before drawing co nclusions. The observed interaction between gender and goal difficulty was an unexpected finding and one that certainly warrants further investigation. Is this relationship common among a variety of goal setting situations, or is the situation context dependent? Because Farm Bureau has traditionally been a male dominated organization, it may be that fe male board members have more difficulty in breaking barriers that limit change among local Farm Bureau practices. This situation is consistent with role congruity theory, which pred icts prejudice against female leaders (Eagly & Karau, 2002). Another possible explanation for the discrepancy in performance is that females may be more critical of their personal performance than males. Rudd (2000) found that to be true in his investigation of leadership styles of Florida’s co unty Extension directors. Observer ratings of the directors suggested that the female directors were performing at higher levels than their male counterparts. However, the females’ self-ratings of perfor mance were lower than observer ratings, whereas males’ self-ratings of performance tended to be higher than their observer ratings. The relationship between gende r and personal performance should be further explored, and the organization should consider the potential benef its of targeting new programming specifically toward female local leaders. Objective 5: Explain Local Board Performance on Best Practices FFBF field staff perceived higher levels of performance from local boards that were larger, had higher meeting attendance, and had directors with longer tenures. The reason why FFBF field staff members perc eive these local boards to have higher levels of performance

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155 should be further explored. Am ong local board members’ ratings of board performance, board size and directors’ tenures did not share the same significant relationship as they did with FFBF field staff members’ ratings of board performanc e. This discrepancy is an area for further research. Other studies have shown positive rela tionships between board size and reputation of the organization (Bradshaw, Murray, & Wolpin, 1992); however, research generally supports the conclusion that there is no rela tionship between board size and increased board performance (W. A. Brown, 2005). If the difference in this st udy is a perception by FFBF staff rather than an actual measure of board performance, steps shou ld be taken to resolve this misperception. Otherwise, smaller boards are at a disadva ntage in receiving re cognition for positive performance. The same could be true for board s with longer average te nures among directors. With regard to meeting attendance, as was discus sed previously, more information is needed to better understand the meeting attendance variable as measured in this study. The question remains whether lower meeting attendance is a repr esentation of individual meeting absence or a reduced frequency of board meetings. Local board members perceived higher levels of board performance when meeting attendance was higher and directors had a longer history of membership in Farm Bureau. This issue of meeting attendance requires furt her investigation (as pr eviously mentioned). However, the connection between length of Farm Bureau membership and board performance on local Farm Bureau practices has immediate im plications. Local board members who have a longer membership history with the organization are likely benefiting from that experience and transferring it to local Farm Bur eau practices. If increased membership experience is truly associated with higher levels of board perfor mance (as opposed to highe r levels of perceived performance), then FFBF should capitalize on this relationship. Perhaps mentoring programs

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156 should be encouraged as a way of pairing local leaders with le ss membership experience with those who have more membership experience. The potential benefit is higher levels of performance among all local leaders and boards. On e question to be explored before investing in such a mentoring program is why the same re lationship between length of organizational membership and performance was not observed in FFBF staff members’ ratings of board performance. The local board’s inclusion of female directors is a helpful consideration for explaining reported board performance. As previously mentioned, the influence of gender on performance was somewhat unexpected. Regressi on models suggest that the influence may be mediated by other factors, but it would be impr udent to ignore the poten tial differences between genders. Because Farm Bureau has traditionally been a male dominate d organization, it should pay particular attention to nega tive effects or limits that local culture and structures place on performance by female board members (Eagly & Karau, 2002). The effects of gender should be further explored, and the organization should co nsider targeting new pr ogramming specifically toward female local leaders. The plans for such programming should be based on additional research with female local board members. Eagly and Carli (2003) argue that “women have some advantages in typical le adership style but suffer some disadvantages from prejudicial evaluations of their competence as leaders, especially in mascu line organizational contexts” (p. 807). Any such prejudices within Farm Bureau should be exposed and efforts should be effort should be taken to capitalize on the leadership advantages that wo men offer. Focus groups with these members may yield valuable informati on that could make future programming more successful.

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157 Attendance at Farm Bureau Foundations workshop is not sufficient for explaining differences in board performance among the lo cal Farm Bureau practices promoted in the program. As previously mentioned, the finding that workshop attendance does not directly lead to improved performance can be discouraging. However, the degree of participation among individuals varies, and those di fferential effects provi de guidance for program improvement. FFBF staff members need to recognize that getting local leaders to attend the program is only an initial step. The next step is to influence th e way the leaders receive the program and set goals for transferring the learning to behavior cha nge. In addition, the workshop follow-up through newsletters and informal communication are importa nt aspects of the program theory that need to be implemented. Poor records of attendan ce prevented some participants from receiving follow-up mailings, which in turn diminished the treatment and may have diminished the treatment effect. More systematic implementation of the program is needed in order to ensure full program effects. Constructs associated with goal setting theory are helpful in explaining board performance. This study provides evidence in support of applying goal setting theory in professional development programmi ng for FFBF local boards. The Strengthening the Voice program should continue to incorporate practices associated with goal setting theory. In addition, the program presenters sh ould explore ways to further capitalize on the benefits of goal setting for improving local board pe rformance. One area for improvement is with goal difficulty. The theory identifies goal difficulty as an impor tant positive contributor to performance (Locke & Latham, 1990). However, evidence from this st udy suggests that participants did not perceive their goals as being difficult a nd therefore did not fully utiliz e that aspect of the theory.

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158 Implications Goal Setting Theory Although goal setting theory has been supported in previous research, the findings from this study have implications for the theory and provide questions to guide additional research on the theory. Much of the pr evious research involving goal setting theory has focused on application in business settings. This study prov ides some initial support for the use of goal setting in nonprofit organizations and volunteer professional deve lopment. However, the way goal setting works in these contexts may be different. The role of goal difficulty may be less important than goal specificity a nd goal intensity. More resear ch should be done to investigate differential effects. A first step in that proce ss is to improve measures of the goal constructs. Measurement error was a concern in this study and is likely to be a concern in future studies. To the degree that it is possible, universal measures should be created that meet generally accepted standards for validity and reliability. Once valid reliable instruments are available, additional research can be conducted to furt her investigate causal paths and interactiv e effects. Beyond the goal constructs, more empirical evidence is need ed to understand the infl uence and interactive effects of demographic variables, including gender and education le vel. The interactive effects between gender and goal difficulty offer potential implications for future application of the theory. Although goal setting theory has been exte nsively tested over the past 40 years, more research is needed to guide fu ture application of the theory. “Strengthening the Voice” Program Theory The findings from this study have several implications for the Strengthening the Voice program theory. First, goal setting should take a more prominent role in the program. Goal setting was included as a component, but the setti ng of specific goals for learning transfer is a critical component for program success. Program presenters likely need additional training to

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159 facilitate the goal setting process and more tim e should be spent guiding and promoting the goal setting by program participants. In particular, e fforts should be taken to increase goal intensity and perhaps goal difficulty. Throughout the proce ss, the best practices need to be emphasized and modeled for participants. After the par ticipants set goals for implementing the best practices, feedback on individual board progress must to be em phasized. One way to provide specific feedback is through pe rformance measures. However, questions remain about the validity and reliability of the self-assessments a pplied in this study, so better measures should be sought, clarified and adopted. Beyond these im plications from the study, questions about coverage bias should be answer ed. The participants in the Farm Bureau Foundations program component reported higher rates of meeting attendance and higher levels of engagement in activities like state advisory committees. If th ese differences are not program effects, then coverage bias exists and should be addressed. The program is intended to reach all local board members, not only those that have higher levels of involvement in the organization. As coverage bias is addressed, the unique pe rspectives of female board members should also be considered. Female board members were more likely to partic ipate in the program than male board members, but they also experienced the program differently – particularly with regard to goal difficulty. These differences should be considered in future iterations of the program. Recommendations Based upon the findings and conclusions of this study, the researcher recommends the following to the Florida Fa rm Bureau Federation: Generate and promote ideas for involving ne w, younger local leaders while maintaining the benefits of experienced l eaders. The organization alread y relies heavily on experienced member-leaders; the involvement of new or less experienced member-leaders is an opportunity area. One opportuni ty might be a mentoring progr am that pairs local leaders who have less membership experience with local leaders who have more membership experience. Such a program may yield bene fits of improved performance on local Farm Bureau practices.

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160 Explore options for providing professional deve lopment programming to local leaders who have less regular attendan ce at Farm Bureau meetings and programs. The Strengthening the Voice program appears to be attr acting local leaders that re gularly attend Farm Bureau meetings, but the organization should address the coverage bias against those who attend meetings less regularly. Place continued emphasis on the “best practice” of limiting local FFBF board meetings to Federation business. It may be helpful to consider sub-elemen ts or alternative approaches to this practice and promote those. For ex ample, rather than discourage non-business discussion, the approach may be to incorpor ate social opportunities before or after meetings in order to allow for non-business discussion. Help local FFBF board members build upon thei r success in engagement with insurance related practices and transfer th at success to other local Farm Bureau best practices. The high performance cycle associated with goal se tting theory suggests the success in one area contributes to commitment to future goals FFBF should capitalize on this opportunity for increased commitment to performance goals. Emphasize with local FFBF leaders the importa nce of setting specifi c goals in order to improve performance. An initial step may to further educate FFBF staff members on the components and benefits of goal setting theory so that they are able to communicate this information locally. Consider the differential eff ects that gender has on repor ted performance and how both organizational and programming changes might better address these differences. Farm Bureau has traditionally been a male-dominated organization, and additi onal effort may be needed to facilitate changes in the organization that allowe d for increased involvement by female member-leaders. Continue to implement the Strengthening the Voice program, while better implementing the principles of goal setting theory. Init ial findings suggest a perceived value among participants and early evidence suggests some practical value for improving both individual and board performance. However, workshop attendance alone does not appear to impact performance. As a result, more should be done to emphasize the aspects of the program that do make a difference, namely the setting of specific goals for implementing recommended practices. Establish and promote systematic procedures to ensure more standardized implementation of the Strengthening the Voice program. Some variation in workshop delivery is inevitable due to differences among presenters and works hop participants. However, procedures for goal setting and workshop follow-up need to be more consistent in order to ensure that all program participants received the same leve l of treatment and have and equal opportunity to experience the treatment effects. Explore the relationship between FFBF staff ratings of board performance and board size. If evidence of misperceptions surface, steps should be taken to help FFBF staff members more accurately recognize superior performan ce among local FFBF boards. An initial step

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161 in this regard would be to clarify the characteristics or outcomes of effective boards and adopt appropriate guidelines for rating board performance. Suggestions for Additional Research Based upon the findings and conclusions of this study, the following suggestions for additional research were made: Additional research with Flor ida Farm Bureau should explor e the relationship between performance and levels of meeting attendan ce. The investigation should determine if negative or limiting effects are from individu al meeting absences or from less frequent local board meetings being scheduled. In a ddition, the effects should be examined over the course of a full year to account for seasonal diffe rences in the regularity of board meetings. Continue to investigate the effects of appl ying the principles of goal setting theory. Investigation should continue with FFBF local boards and ot her volunteer-based groups. When possible, the implementation of goal se tting principles shoul d be more rigorous, with particular emphasis on increasing levels of goal difficulty. In addition, path analysis through structural equation model should be appl ied to further clarify the pathways that goal constructs follow in their influence on performance. Explore options for measures of volunteer boar d performance that offe r better evidence of validity and reliability. Seve ral researchers have been wo rking in this area, but the proposed measures of board performance are often not appropriate for evaluating local boards similar to those in FFBF. Since many of the local boards do not have executive directors, measures that require executive director ratings cannot be applied. In addition, many of the proposed measures focus on financ ial criteria, such as fundraising, which is less emphasized in a membership organization like Farm Bureau. Explore options for measures of goal constructs that offer improved re liability and validity. Thousands of studies have been conducted i nvolving goal setting th eory, and the observed reliability of goal constructs has exceeded th e general social science expectation of .80 and above. The measures applied in those studies should be synthesized into a universal instrument that can be adapted for specific contexts. Investigate the differential effects that gende r and education level have on goal setting and performance. Particular atte ntion should be paid to the potential interaction between gender and goal difficulty. Once again, improve d measures of goal constructs, and goal difficulty in particular, would be help ful in examining differential effects. Make changes in future studies to provi de for decreased measurement error. Recommended changes to questionnai re design include the following: o Ask “What is the name (i.e. county) of the local Farm Bureau that you serve?” rather than “In what county do you reside?” The county of residence is irrelevant, since some local board members reside outside the county after which the local

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162 board is named. In addition, Palm B each County has two local FFBF boards: Palm Beach and West Palm Beach. A lthough the researcher was able to use FFBF records to appropriately categorize respondents, collec ting the information within the survey instrument would have its advantages. o Collect demographic information that i nvolves a length of time, the researcher should eliminate the need for participants to calculate the length. For example, if the current study is replicated, the questi onnaire should ask “In what year did you join Farm Bureau?” rather than “How many years have you been a Farm Bureau member?” This would eliminate re spondents from having to perform the calculation, and it may result in more accurate responses. o When asking respondents to report mee ting attendance over a period of time, asked them to report both the number of meetings they attended and the number of meetings offered. The addition of a va riable that identifies the highest possible number of meetings attended would offe r opportunities for increased analysis and better understanding of the levels of meeting attendance. o Consider changes for improving perceptions of survey length. Based on concerns raised in the cognitive interviews, que stion numbers were restarted for each section of the instruments, rather th an using consecutive numbering throughout. In order to validate this practice, more re search is needed to determine the effects of different numbering systems on perceived questionnaire length.

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163 APPENDIX A BEST PRACTICES GOAL SHEET

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164 APPENDIX B WORKSHOP FOLLOW-UP LETTER
Dear , Thank you for helping to make our recent Strengthening the Voice workshop a success! I enjoyed the productive discussions that occurred as part of the workshop, and I am excited to see the positive results in the months to come. Enclosed is the Best Practices Goal Sheet that you completed at the conclusion of the workshop. As you might recall, we each took a few moments to assess what Best Practices we were already doing and then to set goals for Best Practices that we intend to adopt or improve upon. As you look back through the Best Practi ces, please let me know how I can help to make sure Farm Bureau and its members are benefiting your effort s and the efforts of th e local board. I truly believe these Best Practices can make a difference. Once again, thank your involvement in the recen t workshop. I know time is always in short supply, but I am confident that everyone’s involvement in the workshop will result in significant benefits. I look forward to seeing you at our next meeting together. Sincerely, Ray Crawford, Director of Field Services Florida Farm Bureau Federation RC/lw : enclosure

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165 APPENDIX C WORKSHOP FOLLOW-UP NEWSLETTERS The following newsletters were mailed to the workshop participants in the months following their participation.

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170 APPENDIX D LOCAL BOARD PRACTICES SURVEY

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186 APPENDIX F FIELD STAFF PERCEPTIONS SURVEY

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188 Note: This page was repeated for each county, A through J.

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191 APPENDIX G COGNITIVE INTERVIEW PROTOCOL For this cognitive interview, we are going to use a retrospective probing technique. As such, you will first complete the survey, as if I wasn’t here. When you are finished, I will have some questions about the thought pro cess you used to complete the survey and come up with the appropriate answer. Do you have any questions before we begin? (Allow the subject to complete the survey. Obse rve the subject and take note of any questions that take longer to answer than expected. Also take note of any questi on skipping patterns that occur. Use these observations to develop spont aneous probes to be a dded to the questions below. When the subject has completed the survey, follow up with the following scripted probes.) Are there any questions that you were unsure how to answer? (If so, why?) How did you come up with your answer to question (#)? Can you tell me, in your own words, what question (#) is asking? How sure are you of your answer to question (#)? How hard was it to answer question (#)? Are there any questions you would li ke to see reworded? Which?

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192 APPENDIX H PRE-NOTICE LETTER TO STUDY PARTICIPANTS The following letter was designe d to alert study participants about the upcoming invitation to participate in the study. October 6, 2006 AddressBlock GreetingLine Within the next few days, you will receive in the mail a request to complete a brief questionnaire for an importan t research project being conducted for the Florida Farm Bureau Federation by the University of Florid a. The findings of the study will be used to improve future programs for local Farm Bureau leaders. I am writing in advance because we have found that many people like to know ahead of time that they will be contacted. The study is important because it will help the Florida Farm Bureau Federation res pond to the needs of local leaders. Thank you for your time and consideration. It is only with the generous help of people like you that our orga nization can be successful. Sincerely, Carl B. Loop, President Florida Farm Bureau Federation

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193 APPENDIX I INITIAL QUESTIONNAIRE MAIL-OUT LETTER The letters on the following pages were included in the initial questionnaire mail-outs. The first letter was mailed to Farm Bureau Foundations program participants. The second letter was mailed to non-participants. These letters were ap proved by the University of Florida’s Institution Review Board (IRB-02) and se rved as the informed consent forms for participation.

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194 First Questionnaire Mail-out Le tter for Program Participants October 9, 2006 AddressBlock GreetingLine Thank you for your participation in the Farm Bureau Foundations workshop this past Spring. It has been several months since the workshop, so we have enclosed for your reference a sample copy of the “Best Practices Goal Sheet” that you completed at that time. We now need your help in providing additional feedback related to the program. All Farm Bureau Foundations program participants are being surveyed and the answers will be compared with non-participants. Your input will ensure that future Fa rm Bureau educational programs are an efficient use of resources and are focused on local needs. In addition, your participation in this study will contribute to Florida Farm Bureau’s progress in its goal of building st ronger relationships with county Farm Bureaus. Your answers to this survey are completely confidentia l and will be released only as summaries in which no individual’s answers can be identified. When you return your completed questionnaire in the enclosed stamped envelope, your name will be deleted from the mailing list and never connected to your answers in any way. This survey is voluntary, and you do not need to answer any question that you wish not to answer. However, you can help Farm Bureau a great deal by taking a few minutes to share your answers to the enclosed survey questions. Completing the enclosed questionnaire is expected to take no more than 30 minutes. If for some reason you choose not to respond, please let us know by returning the blank questionnaire in the enclosed envelope. For questions about your rights as a research participant pleas e contact the University of Florida Institutional Review Board at irb2@ufl.edu or 352-392-0433. There are no antici pated risks or direct benefits for participants in this study. There is no monetary compensation li nked to your participation in this study. If you have questions or comments about this study, we would be happy to talk to you. You may reach Eric Kaufman by e-mail at KaufmanE@UFL.Edu or by phone at 352-392-1663. In addition, you may contact the University of Florida faculty supervisor for the study, Glenn Israel, at 352-392-0502 x 246. Thank you so much for your assistance and participation. Sincerely, Pat Cockrell Florida Farm Bureau Federation Eric Kaufman University of Florida Enclosures

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195 First Questionnaire Mail-out Lette r for Program Non-Participants October 9, 2006 AddressBlock GreetingLine As a member of the local Farm Bureau board of directors, you have an important role in ensuring the success of Florida Farm Bureau and the American Farm Bureau Fe deration. The Florida Farm Bureau Federation would like your input so that the organization can better meet the needs of the local boards of directors. All local Farm Bureau board members in Florida are being surveyed, and it is important that we hear from every one. Your input will ensure that future Farm Bureau educational programs are an efficient use of resources and are focused on local needs. In addition, your participation in this study will contribute to Florida Farm Bureau’s progress in its goal of building st ronger relationships with county Farm Bureaus. Your answers to this survey are completely confidentia l and will be released only as summaries in which no individual’s answers can be identified. When you return your completed questionnaire in the enclosed stamped envelope, your name will be deleted from the mailing list and never connected to your answers in any way. This survey is voluntary, and you do not need to answer any question that you wish not to answer. However, you can help Farm Bureau a great deal by taking a few minutes to share your answers to the enclosed survey questions. Completing the enclosed questionnaire is expected to take no more than 20 minutes. If for some reason you choose not to respond, please let us know by returning the blank questionnaire in the enclosed envelope. For questions about your rights as a research participant pleas e contact the University of Florida Institutional Review Board at irb2@ufl.edu or 352-392-0433. There are no antici pated risks or direct benefits for participants in this study. There is no monetary compensation li nked to your participation in this study. If you have questions or comments about this study, we would be happy to talk to you. You may reach Eric Kaufman by e-mail at KaufmanE@UFL.Edu or by phone at 352-392-1663. In addition, you may contact the University of Florida faculty supervisor for the study, Glenn Israel, at 352-392-0502 x 246. Thank you so much for your assistance and participation. Sincerely, Pat Cockrell Florida Farm Bureau Federation Eric Kaufman University of Florida Enclosures

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196 APPENDIX J THANK-YOU/REMINDER POSTCARD October 14, 2006 Last week a questionnaire seeking your i nput on local Farm Bureau board practices was mailed to you. You response is valuab le for ensuring the success of future Farm Bureau programs. If you have already completed and return ed the questionnaire please accept our sincere thanks. If not, please do so today. We are especial ly grateful for your help because it is grassroots involvement that makes Farm Bureau such a great organization. If you did not receive a questionnaire, or if it was misplaced, please contact Eric Kaufman at KaufmanE@UFL.Edu or (352) 392-1663. You may also direct questions about the study to Pat Cockrell at the Florida Farm Bureau office, (352) 374-1545. Thank you! Sincerely, Carl B. Loop, President Florida Farm Bureau Federation PO Box 147030 Gainesville FL 32614


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197 APPENDIX K REPLACEMENT QUESTIONNAIRE MAIL-OUT LETTER The letters on the following pages were included in the replacement questionnaire mailouts to non-respondents. The first letter was mailed to Farm Bureau Foundations program participants. The second letter was mailed to non-participants.

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198 Replacement Questionnaire Mail-out Letter for Program Participants October 30, 2006 AddressBlock GreetingLine About three weeks ago, we sent a questionnaire to you that asked about the Farm Bureau related practices of you and your local board. Some of the questions were a follow-up to the “Best Practices Goal” that you set at the conclusion of the Farm Bureau Foundations workshop this past Spring. To the best of our knowledge, your questionnaire has not yet been returned. The comments of people who have already responde d include a wide variety of experiences and opinions related to practices of their local Farm Bure au board. We believe the results are going to be very useful to Florida Farm Bureau Federation l eaders and staff to provide valuable programs and services for local-level leaders. We are writing you again because of the importance that your questionnaire has for helping to get accurate results. Although we sent questionnaires to all local Farm Bureau board members in Florida, it’s only be hearing from nearly everyone that we can be sure the results are truly representative. A questionnaire identification number is printed on th e back cover of the questionnaire so that we can check your name off of the mailing list when it is returned. Your answers to this survey are completely confidential and will be released only as summaries in which no individual’s answers can be identified. Protecting the confidentiality of people’s answers is very important to us. We hope that you will fill out and return the questionnai re soon, but if for any reason you prefer not to answer it, please let us know by returning a note or blank questionnaire in the enclosed stamped envelope. If you have questions or comments about this study, we would be happy to talk to you. You may reach Eric Kaufman by e-mail at KaufmanE@UFL.Edu or by phone at 352-39 2-1663. In addition, you may contact the University of Florida faculty supervisor for the study, Glenn Israel, at 352-3920502 x 246. Thank you so much for your assistance and participation. Sincerely, Pat Cockrell Florida Farm Bureau Federation Eric Kaufman University of Florida Enclosures

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199 Replacement Questionnaire Mail-out Letter for Program Non-Participants October 30, 2006 AddressBlock GreetingLine About three weeks ago, we sent a questionnaire to you that asked about the Farm Bureau related practices of you and your local board. To the best of our knowledge, the questionnaire has not yet been returned. The comments of people who have already responde d include a wide variety of experiences and opinions related to practices of their local Farm Bure au board. We believe the results are going to be very useful to Florida Farm Bureau Federation l eaders and staff to provide valuable programs and services for local-level leaders. We are writing you again because of the importance that your questionnaire has for helping to get accurate results. Although we sent questionnaires to all local Farm Bureau board members in Florida, it’s only be hearing from nearly everyone that we can be sure the results are truly representative. A questionnaire identification number is printed on th e back cover of the questionnaire so that we can check your name off of the mailing list when it is returned. Your answers to this survey are completely confidential and will be released only as summaries in which no individual’s answers can be identified. Protecting the confidentiality of people’s answers is very important to us. We hope that you will fill out and return the questionnai re soon, but if for any reason you prefer not to answer it, please let us know by returning a note or blank questionnaire in the enclosed stamped envelope. If you have questions or comments about this study, we would be happy to talk to you. You may reach Eric Kaufman by e-mail at KaufmanE@UFL.Edu or by phone at 352-39 2-1663. In addition, you may contact the University of Florida faculty supervisor for the study, Glenn Israel, at 352-3920502 x 246. Thank you so much for your assistance and participation. Sincerely, Pat Cockrell Florida Farm Bureau Federation Eric Kaufman University of Florida Enclosures

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200 APPENDIX L TELPHONE INTERVIEW PROTOCOL FOR FOLLOW-UP WITH NON-RESPONDENTS May I speak to ? (If the person is not available try to find a time to call back.) Hello, my name is Eric Kaufman, and I’m fo llowing up regarding the Florida Farm Bureau Federation Survey that was mailed to you in Oc tober. I haven’t rece ived your completed questionnaire, so I want to give you an opportunity to help ensure the findings I did receive are representative and valuable. Are you able to answer some questi ons over the phone? (If “yes,” proceed. If “no,” find out if there is a better or time to conduct th e interview or if there is a specific reason they do not want to participate.) Your responses will be kept confidential. These are select questions from the complete questionnaire that will be compared with those who completed the full survey. 1. How many years have you served on a local Farm Bureau board? _______ Years on Local Farm Bureau Board 2. How many Farm Bureau board meetings have you attended in the last 6 months? ______ Farm Bureau Board Meetings Attended 3. During the past six months, to what extent have unexpected or unusual changes and commitments in your personal life or prof essional career limited your engagement in local Farm Bureau board practices : not at all, to a small extent, to some extent, or to a great extent? Not at all Small Extent Some Extent Great Extent 4. During the past six months, to what extent has your relationship with other local Farm Bureau board members limited your engagement in local Farm Bureau board practices: not at all, to a small extent, to so me extent, or to a great extent? Not at all Small Extent Some Extent Great Extent

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201 5. During the past six months, to what extent ha s your expertise or e xperience with board practices limited your engagement in local Farm Bureau board practices : not at all, to a small extent, to some extent, or to a great extent? Not at all Small Extent Some Extent Great Extent The following questions relate to specific loca l Farm Bureau practices during the past six months. First, I will ask on an individua l level, and then the board as a whole. 6. On an individual level, to what extent have you shared Farm Bureau facts and history in public relations activities: not at al l, somewhat, mostly, or completely? Not at all Somewhat Mostly Completely 7. To what extent has the local board as a whol e shared Farm Bureau facts and history in public relations activities: not at al l, somewhat, mostly, or completely? Not at all Somewhat Mostly Completely 8. On an individual level, to what extent have you held Farm Bureau leadership accountable to the organization mission, vision, and belie fs: not at all, somewhat, mostly, or completely? Not at all Somewhat Mostly Completely 9. To what extent has your local board as a w hole held Farm Bureau leadership accountable to the organization mission, vision, and belie fs: not at all, somewhat, mostly, or completely? Not at all Somewhat Mostly Completely 10. On an individual level, to what extent ha ve you adopted a local mission and values to guide board actions? Not at all Somewhat Mostly Completely 11. To what extent has your local board as a whole adopted a local mission and values to guide board actions? Not at all Somewhat Mostly Completely

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202 12. On an individual level, to what extent ha ve you held the organization accountable to the grassroots mission when ne w policies are proposed? Not at all Somewhat Mostly Completely 13. To what extent has your local board as a w hole held the organization accountable to the grassroots mission when ne w policies are proposed? Not at all Somewhat Mostly Completely 14. Now, for the last practice, on an individual level, to what extent have you strengthened the “Voice of Agriculture” by getting involved in statewide committees? Not at all Somewhat Mostly Completely 15. And, to what extent has your local board as a whole strengthened the “Voice of Agriculture” by getting involved in statewide committees? Not at all Somewhat Mostly Completely To finish, I have just three demographic questions. 16. First, what is your age? ________ Years Old 17. What is your ethnicity or race? White, Non-Hispanic Black (or African American) Hispanic (or Latino) Other – Print Ethnicity: 18. What is your highest educational degr ee or level of school completed? Some High School or Less Bachelor’s Degree High School Diploma or GED Master’s Degree Some College, No Degree Professional or Doctorate Degree Associate Degree Thank you so much for answering these questions. Have a great day!

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203 APPENDIX M E-MAIL TEMPLATE FOR PRE-NOTICE TO FIELD STAFF From: KAUFMAN,ERIC K Sent: Friday, November 03, 2006 12:00 PM To: <> Cc: ray.crawford@ffbf.org Subject: Can we schedule a phone interview? Importance: High Dear <>, As you know, I am conducting a survey of all local Farm Bureau board members in the state. Given the large number of responses so fa r, the information from the board members will be extremely valuable. I look forward to receiving mo re returned surveys in the next few weeks. Even still, I recognize that your experience with mu ltiple county boards allows you to provide an independent assessment of local board activities. I would like to have a brief phone interview with you and then have you complete a printed questionna ire. When would be a convenient time for me to call you with a few questions? I expect that our conversation will take no more than 15 minutes. The information obtained will be used in my dissert ation research, so I have attached a letter with additional information, per University policy. I look forward to talking with you. Thank you! Respectfully, Eric K. Kaufman Graduate Teaching and Research Assistant Agricultural Education and Communication Department University of Florida / IFAS 305 Rolfs Hall PO Box 110540 Gainesville FL 32611-0540 Telephone No. (352) 392-0502 Fax No. (352) 392-9585

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204 APPENDIX N INFORMED CONSENT LETTER FOR FIELD STAFF This letter was approved by the University of Florida’s Inst itution Review Board (IRB-02) and served as the informed consent form for participation.

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205 Dear Field Staff Member: Thank you for your involvement with the Farm Bureau Foundations workshops this past Spring. It has been several months since the workshops, and we now need your help in providing additional feedback related to the program. All Farm Bureau Foundations program participants are being surveyed, but we also want your input. The information you provide will ensure that futu re Farm Bureau educational programs are an efficient use of resources and are focused on local need s. In addition, your par ticipation in this study will contribute to Florida Farm Bureau’s progress in its goal of building stro nger relationships with county Farm Bureaus. Your answers to this survey are completely conf idential and will be released only as summaries in which no individual’s answers can be identified. Y our name will never be connected to your answers in any way. This survey is voluntary, and you do not need to answer any question that you wish not to answer. However, you can help Farm Bureau a great deal by taking a few minutes to share your thoughts. Participation in the study will involve a brief telephone interview and completion of a written questionnaire. Neither is expected to take more than 30 minutes. There are no anticipated risks or direct benefits for participants in this study. There is no monetary compensation linked to your participation in this study. For questions about your rights as a research participant please contact the University of Florida Institutional Review Board at irb2@ufl.edu or 352-392-0433. You may reference UF IRB approval number: 2006-U-824. If you have questions or comments about this study, I would be happy to talk to you. You may reach me by e-mail at KaufmanE@UFL.Edu or by phone at (352) 392-1663. In addition, you may contact my faculty supervisor, Glenn Israel, by phone at (352) 392-0502. Thank you so much for your assistance and participation. Sincerely, Eric Kaufman University of Florida Department of Agricultural Education and Communication 305 Rolfs Hall PO Box 110540 Gainesville, FL 32611-0540 (352) 392-0502 Fax: (352) 392-9585

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206 LIST OF REFERENCES Agresti, A., & Finlay, B. (1997). Statistical methods for the social sciences (3rd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall. Ajzen, I. (1985). From intentions to actions: A theory of planned behavior. In J. Kuhl & J. Beckmann (Eds.), Action-control: From cognition to behavior (pp. 11-39). New York: Springer-Verlag. Ajzen, I. (1988). Attitudes, personality, and behavior Chicago, IL: Dorsey Press. Ajzen, I. (1991). The theory of planned behavior. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 50 170-211. Ajzen, I. (2005). Attitudes, personality, and behavior (2nd ed.). Milton-Keynes, England: Open University Press / McGraw-Hill. Ajzen, I., & Madden, T. J. (1986). Prediction of goa l-directed behavior: Attitudes, intentions, and perceived behavioral control. Journal of Experiment al Social Psychology, 22 (5), 453-474. Algina, J. (2005). EDF 7405: Advanced quantitative foundat ions of educational research Gainesville: University of Florida. American Farm Bureau Federation. (2005). Farm Bureau: Historical highlights, 1919-1994 Washington, DC: American Farm Bureau Federation. Retrieved April 6, 2007, from http://www.fb.org/index.php?fuseaction=about.history American Farm Bureau Federation. (2006). We are Farm Bureau Washington, DC: American Farm Bureau Federation. Retrieved June 13, 2006, from http://www.fb.org/about/thisis/ Ary, D., Jacobs, L. C., & Razavieh, A. (2002). Introduction to research in education (6th ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth/Thompson Learning. Austin, J. T., & Vancouver, J. B. (1996). Goal c onstructs in psychology: St ructure, process, and content. Psychological Bulletin, 120 (3), 338-375. Bandura, A. (1986). Social foundations of thought and acti on: A social cognitive theory Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall. Bandura, A. (1997). Self-efficacy: The exercise of control New York: W.H. Freeman. Bandura, A., & Cervone, D. (2000). Self-evaluativ e and self-efficacy mechanisms governing the motivational effects of goal systems. In E. T. Higgins & A. W. Kruglanski (Eds.), Motivational science: Social and personality perspectives (pp. 202-214). Philadelphia, PA: Psychology Press.

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207 Bassi, L. J., Harrison, P., Ludwig, J ., & McMurrer, D. P. (2004, June). The impact of U.S. Firms’ investments in human capital on stock prices Golden, CO: McBassi & Company. Retrieved April 7, 2007, from http://mcbassi.com/whitepapers/Impact.pdf Bassi, L. J., & McMurrer, D. P. (2005, November). The benefits of business skills Golden, CO: McBassi & Company. Retrieved April 7, 2007, from http://www.workinfo.co.za/free/ Downloads/SSDA.BassiMcMurrer-Nov2005.pdf Behrens, T. R., & Benham, M. K. P. (2007). Ev aluating community leadership programs. In K. Hannum, J. W. Martineau & C. Reinelt (Eds.), The handbook of leadership development evaluation (pp. 284-314). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Birkenholz, R. J. (1999). Effective adult learning Danville, IL: Interstate Publishers. Black, A. (2006). Executive summary analyzing the outco mes of the Ohio LEAD program Columbus: The Ohio State University Extension. Black, A., Day, B., Roberts, K., Ro seleip, D., & Singletary, D. (2005). The LeadAR program 2005 program review Little Rock: University of Ar kansas, Division of Agriculture. Black, A., & Earnest, G. W. (2006, November). The good, the bad and the ugly: Documenting the effectiveness of leadership development programs Paper presented at the International Leadership Association's 8th Annual Global C onference, Leadership at the Crossroads. Bolton, E. B. (1991). Developing local leaders: Results of a structured learning experience. Journal of the Community Development Society, 22 (1), 119-143. Boone, E. J., Safrit, R. D., & Jones, J. (2002). Developing programs in adult education: A conceptual programming model (2nd ed.). Prospect Heights, IL: Waveland Press. Borich, G. D. (1980). A needs assessment model for conducting follow-up studies. Journal of Teacher Education, 31 (3), 39-42. Bradshaw, P., Murray, V., & Wolpin, J. (1992). Do nonprofit boards make a difference? An exploration of the re lationships among board structure, process, and effectiveness. Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, 21 (3), 227-249. Brown, F. W., & Fritz, S. M. (1994). Determining the breath of leadership and human resource management/development offerings in postsecondary departments of agricultural education. Journal of Agricultural Education, 35 (3), 1-5. Brown, W. A. (2005). Exploring the associati on between board and organizational performance in nonprofit organizations. Nonprofit Management & Leadership, 15 (3), 317-339. Brudney, J. L., & Murray, V. (1998). Do intentiona l efforts to improve boards really work? The views of nonprofit CEOs. Nonprofit Management & Leadership, 8 (4), 333-348.

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208 Burgraff, D. L. (1999). Providing leadership in rural America: A model for community colleges. The Journal of Leadership Studies, 6 (3/4), 96-100. Caffarella, R. S. (2002). Planning programs for adult learners: A practical guide for educators, trainers, and staff developers (2nd ed.). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Carter, H., & Rudd, R. D. (2000). Evaluation of th e Florida Leadership Program for Agriculture and Natural Resources. Journal of Southern Agricultural Education Research, 50 (1), 199205. Retrieved April 7, 2007, from http://pubs.aged.tamu.edu/jsaer/Vol50Whole.pdf Carter, H. S., & Lade wig, H. W. (2004). An evaluation of the Wedgworth Leadership Institute for Agriculture and Natural Resources Unpublished manuscript, University of Florida, Gainesville. Carter, H. S., & Rudd, R. D. (2005). Factors wh ich influence leadership participation in agricultural organizations. Proceedings of the American Association for Agricultural Education Annual Conference, 32 483-496. Retrieved April 7, 2007, from http://aaae.okstate.edu/proceedings/2005/Index.htm Carter, H. S. F. (2004). Leadership expectations and perceptions of the Florida Farm Bureau Federation. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Univ ersity of Florida, Gainesville. Carver, J. (1997). Boards that make a difference: A new design for leadership in nonprofit and public organizations (2nd ed.). San Fran cisco: Jossey-Bass. Clausen, J. A., & Ford, R. N. (1947). Cont rolling bias in mail questionnaires. Journal of the American Statistical Association, 42 (240), 497-511. Cohen, J. (1988). Statistical power analysis for the behavioral sciences (2nd ed.). Hillsdale, NJ: L. Erlbaum Associates. Cookson, P. S., Knowles, M. S., Nadler, L., & Na dler, Z. (1998). Protot ypical program planning models. In P. S. Cookson (Ed.), Program planning for the training and continuing education of adults: North American perspectives (pp. 29-75). Malabar, FL: Krieger. Cullen, K. W., Zakeri, I., Pryor, E. W., Baranow ski, T., Baranowski, J., & Watson, K. (2004). Goal setting is differentially related to cha nge in fruit, juice, and vegetable consumption among fourth-grade children. Health Education & Behavior, 31 (2), 258-269. Czaja, R., & Blair, J. (2005). Chapter 9: Re ducing sources of error in data collection. In Designing surveys: A guide to decisions and procedures (pp. 193-237). Thousand Oaks, CA: Pine Forge Press. DeRuyver, D. (2001, February 15, 2002). Leadership: Emerging directions Oakland, CA: The Leadership Learning Community. Re trieved December 19, 2006, from http://www.leadershiplearning.org/pool s/theory/ emerging_directions/index2.adp

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209 Dhanakumar, V. G., Rossing, B., & Campbell, G. R. (1996). An evaluation of the Wisconsin Rural Leaders Perspective program. Journal of Extension, 34 (3). Retrieved April 7, 2007, from http://www.joe.org/joe/1996june/rb3.html Diem, K. G., & Nikola, M. P. (2005). Evaluating the impact of a community agricultural leadership development program. Journal of Extension, 43 (6). Retrieved April 7, 2007, from http://www.joe.org/joe/2005december/rb5.shtml Dillman, D. A. (2000). Mail and internet surveys: The tailored design method (2nd ed.). New York: John Wiley & Sons. Dillman, D. A., Clark, J. R., & Sinclair, M. D. (1995). How prenotice letters, stamped return envelopes and reminder postcards affect mailb ack response rates for census questionnaires. Survey Methodology, 21 (2), 159-165. Doest, L. t., Maes, S., Gebhardt, W. A., & Koelewijn, H. (2006). Personal goal facilitation through work: Implications for employee satisfaction and well-being. Applied Psychology, 55 (2), 192-219. Drucker, P. F. (1990). Managing the non-profit organizati on: Practices and principles New York: HarperCollins. Eagly, A. H., & Carli, L. L. (2003). The female leadership advantage: An evaluation of the evidence. The Leadership Quarterly, 14 (6), 807-834. Eagly, A. H., & Karau, S. J. (2002). Role congruity theory of prejudice toward female leaders. Psychological Review, 109(3), 573-598. Earnest, G. W. (1996). Evaluating community leadership programs. Journal of Extension, 34 (1). Retrieved April 7, 2007, from http://www.joe.org/joe/1996february/rb1.html Florida Farm Bureau Federation. (2007a). About us: History Gainesville: Florida Farm Bureau Federation. Retrieved April 7, 2007, from http://floridafarmbureau.org/ aboutUs_history.aspx Florida Farm Bureau Federation. (2007b). Florida Farm Bureau homepage Gainesville: Florida Farm Bureau Federation. Retrieved April 7, 2007, from http://www.floridafarmbureau.org/ Florida Farm Bureau Federation. (2005). Annual Report Gainesville: Florida Farm Bureau Federation. Florida Farm Bureau Federation. (2006a). Annual Report Gainesville: Florida Farm Bureau Federation. Retrieved April 7, 2007, from http://www.floridafarmbureau.org/uploads/ mainsite/files/78.pdf Florida Farm Bureau Federation. (2006b). County president's desk book Gainesville: Florida Farm Bureau Federation.

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210 Florida Farm Bureau Federation. (2006c). Membership database Gainesville: Florida Farm Bureau Federation. Fritz, S., Hoover, T., Weeks, W., Townsend, C., & Carter, R. (2003). Re-examining the growth of leadership programs in departm ents of agricultural education. Paper presented at the Southern Agricultural Education Re search Conference, Ft. Worth, TX. Fritz, S., Townsend, C., Hoover, T ., Weeks, W., Carter, R., & Niet feldt, A. (2003). An analysis of leadership offerings in collegiat e agricultural educat ion departments. NACTA Journal, 47 (3), 18-22. Fritz, S. M., & Brown, F. W. (1998). Leadership education courses and programs in departments of agricultural education. Journal of Agricultural Education, 39 (3), 57-62. Fluharty, C. W. (2004). Assessing the state of rural go vernance in the United States Kansas City, MO: Center for the Study of Rural Amer ica, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. Retrieved April 7, 2007, from http://www.kansascityfed.org/PUBLICAT/ NewGovernance04/Fluharty04.pdf Galloway, D. L. (2005). Evaluati ng distance delivery and e-lear ning: Is Kirkpatrick's model relevant? Performance Improvement, 44 (4), 21-27. Gliem, J. A. (2003, December). Use and interpretation of multiple linear regression. Paper presented at the American Association for Agricultural Education Research Pre-Session, Orlando, FL. Gravetter, F. J., & Wallnau, L. B. (2000). Statistics for the behavioral sciences (5th ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth/Thomson Learning. Green, J. C., & Griesinger, D. W. (1996). Board performance and organizational effectiveness in nonprofit social servi ces organizations. Nonprofit Management & Leadership, 6 (4), 381402. Green, S. B. (1991). How many subjects doe s it take to do a regression analysis? Multivariate Behavioral Research, 26 (3), 499-510. Hannum, K., Martineau, J. W., & Reinelt, C. (Eds.). (2007). The handbook of leadership development evaluation. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Herman, R. D., & Renz, D. O. (1997, December). Board practices of especially effective and less effective local nonpr ofit organizations. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Association for Research on Nonprofit Organiza tions and Voluntary Action, Indianapolis, IN. Herman, R. D., & Renz, D. O. (1998). Nonprofit or ganizational effectiveness: Contrasts between especially effective and less effective organizations. Nonprofit Management and Leadership, 9 (1), 23-38.

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218 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Eric Keplinger Kaufman was born May 30, 1977, in Ashland, Ohio. He spent his entire childhood in north-central Ohio, residing outside th e town of Jeromesville. He graduated from Hillsdale High School in 1995. After a year of service as presiden t of the Ohio FFA Association, he continued his education in Columbus, Ohio, at The Ohio State University. While enrolled full-time, Eric worked part-time with the agricu ltural education Curriculu m Materials Service at The Ohio State University. In June of 2000, he received his Bachelor of Science degree in agricultural education, w ith a minor in production agriculture During that same month, he began employment as a high sc hool AgriScience instructor a nd FFA advisor at DeLand High School, DeLand, Florida. After th ree years of teaching in DeLand, Eric moved to Gainesville, Florida, and enrolled full-time in graduate school at the University of Florida. In December of 2000, Eric received his Master of Science degree in agricultural education and communication, with an emphasis in agricult ural leadership and a minor in family, youth, and community sciences. He contin ued studies at the University of Florida in pursuit of a PhD in agricultural education an d communication. While working in his graduate program, Eric was a graduate assistant in the De partment of Agricultural Educ ation and Communication. His primary responsibilities included teaching an undergraduate course in oral communications and serving as program coordinator for the Wedgworth Leadership Institute for Agriculture and Natural Resources. In additi on, Eric collaborated on several large projects, including the curriculum development for the National FFA Organization’s Collegiate LifeKnowledge program and the Florida Farm Bureau’s Strengthening the Voice program. Eric has a beautiful bride, Shevon R. Kaufman, whom he married in June of 2000, and they have an inspiring young son, Ethan K. Kaufman, born in June of 2005.


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Copyright Date: 2008

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STRENGTHENING THE VOICE AND FARM BUREAU FOUNDATIONS: EXPLAINING
LOCAL BOARD PERFORMANCE AS RELATED TO A PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT
PROGRAM FOR A NONPROFIT MEMBERSHIP ORGANIZATION




















By

ERIC K. KAUFMAN


A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY

UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA

2007







































O 2007 Eric K. Kaufman




































To my wife, Shevon;
and to a bright future for my son, Ethan.









ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

I would like to thank my supervisory committee: Dr. Glenn Israel, Dr. Rick Rudd, Dr.

Nick Place, Dr. Ed Osborne, and Dr. Elizabeth Bolton. I appreciate all of your insights and your

contribution to the quality of my educational experience at the University of Florida. In addition,

I thank Dr. Hannah Carter for providing some of the early inspiration for the research and

leadership development programming with Florida Farm Bureau. You have been a valuable

mentor throughout my graduate educational experience. I thank the Florida Farm Bureau

Federation for their sponsorship and support of my research efforts. I particularly appreciate the

leadership and guidance of Pat Cockrell and Ray Crawford, but I am also indebted to many of

the staff members and volunteer leaders for their assistance in completing a wide variety of tasks

associated with my research. Finally, I would like to thank my fellow graduate students (past

and present) in the Department of Agricultural Education and Communication at the University

of Florida. You have made the experience bearable, and often times even enjoyable. Thank

you!












TABLE OF CONTENTS


page

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS .............. ...............4.....


LIST OF TABLES .........._.... ...............9.._.._ ......


LIST OF FIGURES .........._.... ...............11._.._. ......


AB S TRAC T ............._. .......... ..............._ 12...


CHAPTER


1 INTRODUCTION TO THE STUDY............... ...............14.


Background of the Study .............. ...............14....
Goal Setting Theory ............... .. ...............15...
Nonprofit Organizational Effectiveness ................. ...............16........... ....
Farm Bureau's Leadership Needs .............. ...............17....
"Strengthening the Voice" Program ............ ......_ ......._ ...........1
Overview ..........._.._. ........ __ ... ...............19..
"Farm Bureau Foundations" program component .............. ....................2
Problem Statement ..........._.._. ........ ...............24.....

Purpose Statement .............. ...............25....
Research Objectives............... ...............2
Significance of the Study ..........._.._. ........ ...............25....
Lim stations ..........._.._. ........ ...............26.....
D efinitions .............. ...............27....
Summary .........._...._ ......_. ...............28.....


2 REVIEW OF LITERATURE ..........._.._. ........ ...............34....


Theoretical Frame .........._..__ .. .. ...._.. ...............34.....
Goal Setting Theory Defined............... ...............34
Goal setting and planned behavior .........._...._ ......_. ........_...........3
M echani sm s ................ ...............36........... ....
Content .............. ...............36....
Intensity ................. ...............37.................
Other moderators ................. ...............38.................

Demographic variables............... ...............3
Adult Education ................. ........... ...............41.......
Andragogy and Adult Learning ................. ...............41................
M otivation to Learn ................. ...............42........... ....

Program Planning and Evaluation .............. ...............44....
Andragogy in Practice Model ................. ...............44................
Conceptual Programming Model .............. ...............46....
Program Evaluation ................. ...............47.................












Overview .............. .... ...............47.......... ......
Return on investment .............. ...............49....
Leadership Development in Context .............. ...............50....
Rural Leadership Development ................. ...............50.____ ......
Agricultural Leadership Development .............. ...............52....
Grassroots Leadership Development............... ..............5
Nonprofit Organizations ............_. ...._... ...............56....
Overview .............. ...............56....
Leadership ............... ..... ...............58.
Florida Farm Bureau Federation............... ...............6
History .............. .. ..... ...............61
Mission, Vision, and Goals .............. ...............62....
Local Farm Bureau Units .............. ...............63....
Local Boards of Directors .............. ...............63....
Field Staff ............... ...............64.
Sum m ary ................. ...............65.......... ......


3 METHODS .............. ...............69....


Research Design .............. ...............69....
Populations ................ ............ ... ... .. .. ............7
Participant Selection: FFBF Local Board Members .............. ...............71....
Participant Selection: FFBF Field Staff ................. ......... ......... ...........7
Instrumentation ............... ....._ ...............74....
Local Board Practices Survey .............. ...............76....
Best Practices Goal Survey .............. ...............76....
Field Staff Perceptions Survey .............. ...............77....
Data Collection Procedures .............. ... ...............78..
Institutional Review Board Approval ................. ............ .... ............... 78....
Collection Procedures with FFBF Local Board Members .............. .....................7

Re-group and additional mailing ................. ...............82................
Unit response rate ................. ...............83...............
Additional data from FFBF .............. ...............84....
FFBF Field Staff. ...._.._................. ........_.._.........8
Data Analysis Procedures ...._.._ ................ ........_.._.........8
Unit Non-Response .............. ...............86....
Item Non-Response .............. ...............89....
Dependent Variable Indexes................. ...............9
Individual-level dependent variable ...._.._ ................ ........_.._ .........9
Board-level dependent variable ....__. ................. ...............91......
Independent Variable Indexes .............. ...............94....
Goal attributes .............. ... .... ...............9
FarmFFFFF~~~~~~~FFFFFF Bureau Foundations program participation .............. ....................9
Weighted goal theory constructs ........_........_. ..._........... ............9
Board demographics................ .................9
Analysi s for Obj ectives One Through Three ....._.__._ ........_. ....._._. ........9
Analysis for Obj ectives Four and Five ..........._...__.......... ....._. ..........9












Goal -related hypotheses .............. ...............98....
Correlational analy sis............... ...............98
Regression analysis .............. ...............99....
Path analysis............... ...............10
Summary ............ ..... ._ ...............103...

4 RE SULT S ............ ..... ._ ...............109...


Obj ective 1: Describe Demographics ............ .....___ ...............109
Obj ective 2: Measure Engagement Level ....__ ......_____ .......___ ............1
Obj ective 3: Measure Goal Attributes .............. ...........__ .. ...............113
Obj ective 4: Explain Individual Performance on Best Practices............. ..__.........__ ....1 14
Obj ective 5: Explain Local Board Performance on Best Practices ............_.. ..............1 18
Sum m ary ................. ...............123..............

5 SUMMARY AND DISCUSSION .............. ...............140....


Summary of the Study .............. ...............140....
Statement of the Problem ............ ........... ...............140.....

Purpose and Obj ectives ............ _...... ._ ...............141..
M ethodology ............ ..... .._ ...............141...
Findings ........._ ........ __ .. ......._ ............14
Objective 1: Describe demographics............... .............14
Objective 2: Measure engagement level .............. ...............143....
Objective 3: Measure goal attributes.................. ................. 143
Obj ective 4: Explain individual performance on best practices ...........................144
Obj ective 5: Explain local board performance on best practices.............._._.........144
Conclusions and Discussion ................._ ...............145........ .....

Obj ective 1: Describe Demographics ........._.._.. .......... ...._.. ..........14
Obj ective 2: Measure Engagement Level ....__. ................. .. .....__ ..........14
Obj ective 3: Measure Goal Attributes ............... .. ........_.._ .......... ..........14
Obj ective 4: Explain Individual Performance on Best Practices. ........._.._... ........._.....151
Obj ective 5: Explain Local Board Performance on Best Practices .............. .... ...........154
Im plications .............. ...............158....
Goal Setting Theory .............. ....... ..............15
"Strengthening the Voice" Program Theory .............. ...............158....
Recommendations................. ... .. ........5
Suggestions for Additional Research............... ...............16

APPENDIX


A BEST PRACTICES GOAL SHEET .............. ...............163....


B WORKSHOP FOLLOW-UP LETTER ................. ...............164....._.._....


C WORKSHOP FOLLOW-UP NEWSLETTERS .............. ...............165....


D LOCAL BOARD PRACTICES SURVEY .............. ...............170....











E BEST PRACTICES GOAL SURVEY ............ ......__ ...............178.

F FIELD STAFF PERCEPTIONS SURVEY. .....__.....___ ..........__ ............8

G COGNITIVE INTERVIEW PROTOCOL .............. ...............191....

H PRE-NOTICE LETTER TO STUDY PARTICIPANTS .............. ..... ............... 19


I INITIAL QUESTIONNAIRE MAIL-OUT LETTER ................. .............................193

First Questionnaire Mail-out Letter for Program Participants ................. ......................194
First Questionnaire Mail-out Letter for Program Non-Participants .................. ...............195

J THANK-YOU/REMINDER POSTCARD .............. .....................196


K REPLACEMENT QUESTIONNAIRE MAIL-OUT LETTER .......__ ......... .......... .....197


Replacement Questionnaire Mail-out Letter for Program Participants .........._... ..............198
Replacement Questionnaire Mail-out Letter for Program Non-Participants ................... .....199

L TELEPHONE INTERVIEW PROTOCOL FOR FOLLOW-UP WITH NON-
RESPONDENT S .............. ...............200....

M E-MAIL TEMPLATE FOR PRE-NOTICE TO FIELD STAFF............_._. ........._._.....203

N INFORMED CONSENT LETTER FOR FIELD STAFF .............. ..... ............... 20

LIST OF REFERENCES ................. ...............206................

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH .............. ...............218....










LIST OF TABLES


Table page

1-1 Farm Bureau Found'ations workshop best practices by obj ective ........._._. ..........._......33

1-2 FFBF Farm Bureau Found'ations workshop dates and participant numbers by district....33

3-1 FFBF Local Board Member Research Study Sub-Groups .............. .....................0

3-2 Item non-response by population group .............. ...............107....

3-3 Usable survey response by population group .............. ...............107....

3-4 Goal specificity construct: Factor loadings from the "Best Practices Goal Survey".......107

3-5 Goal difficulty construct: Factor loadings from the "Best Practices Goal Survey" ........107

3-6 Goal commitment construct: Factor loadings from the "Best Practices Goal Survey" ...108

3-7 Goal self-efficacy construct: Factor loadings from the "Best Practices Goal Survey" ...108

3-8 Goal performance construct: Factor loadings from the "Best Practices Goal Survey" ...108

4-1 Demographics of FFBF Local Board Members and population sub-groups ................... 125

4-2 Ratings of individual and board practices among FFBF Local Board Members and
population sub-groups............... ..............12

4-3 Perception of engagement level (board and individual) in Farm Bureau related
practices in comparison with other six month periods............... ...............128

4-4 Farm Bureau Found'ations' participants' ratings on questions related to the goal
setting process ........._.. ..... ._ __ ...............129....

4-5 Farm Bureau Found'ations' participants' ratings on constructs associated with goal
setting ................ ...............130....... ......

4-6 Board-level variables' correlations with ratings of personal performance on local
Farm Bureau practices .............. ...............13 1...

4-7 Individual-level variables' correlations with ratings of personal performance on local
Farm Bureau practices .............. ...............13 1...

4-8 Goal-theory constructs' correlations with ratings of personal performance on local
Farm Bureau practices .............. ...............13 1...

4-9 Inter-correlations between selected independent variables at the individual level of
analysis............... ...............13










4-10 Regression models for individual performance: Explaining average rating for
personal performance among best practices using variables associated with goal core,
moderators, and mechanisms ................. ...............133._._.. .....

4-11 Standardized regression models for individual performance: Explaining average
rating for personal performance among best practices using variables associated with
goal core, moderators, and mechanisms .............. ...............134....

4-12 Correlation between ratings of board performance on local Farm Bureau practices
and other ratings of performance ........._._.._ ...._... ...............135...

4-13 Correlation between average board member rating of board performance on local
Farm Bureau practices and board demographics ........._.._.. ...._.. .........._.......135

4-14 Correlation between average board member rating of board performance on local
Farm Bureau practices and FarmFFFFF~~~~~~~FFFFFF Bureau Foundations workshop attendance ................136

4-15 Correlation between goal-theory constructs and ratings of board performance on
local Farm Bureau practices............... ...............13

4-16 Regression models for board performance: Explaining aggregate board member
rating for board performance among best practices using weighted goal theory
constructs, program participation, and board demographics ................ ........_.._.. .....138

4-17 Standardized regression models for board performance: Explaining aggregate board
member rating for board performance among best practices using weighted goal
theory constructs, program participation, and board demographics ............... .... ........._..139










LIST OF FIGURES


Figure page

1-1 Essential elements of goal-setting theory and the high-performance cycle. ....................30

1-2 Florida Farm Bureau Federation policy development and implementation process. ........30

1-3 Process model for the Florida Farm Bureau Federation "Strengthening the Voice"
program ................. ...............3_ 1....._.__....

1-4 Florida Farm Bureau (FFB) "Strengthening the Voice" program logic model. ...............32

2-1 Theory of planned behavior. ...._.. ....... ....._._._. ......._.._ ........_........67

2-2 Andragogy in Practice Model. ............. ...............68.....

3-1 Research procedures timeline. ............. ...............105....

3-2 Number of individual respondents from each local board ................. ......................106

3-3 Hypothesized relationships between goal constructs and performance...........................106

4-1 Correlations between goal constructs and personal performance graphically
displayed in the hypothesized model ................ ...............124........... ...

4-2 Correlations between goal constructs and local board performance graphically
displayed in the hypothesized model ................ ...............124........... ...









Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy

STRENGTHENING THE VOICE AND FARM BUREAU FOUNDATIONS: EXPLAINING
LOCAL BOARD PERFORMANCE AS RELATED TO A PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT
PROGRAM FOR A NONPROFIT MEMBERSHIP ORGANIZATION

By

Eric K. Kaufman

May 2007

Chair: Glenn D. Israel
Major: Agricultural Education and Communication

Agricultural leadership development can serve both the agricultural industry and the

communities where agriculture is found. Goal setting theory, which is based on the premise that

conscious goals affect action, is an underused framework for improving agricultural leadership.

Aspects of goal setting theory were applied in a leadership program conducted by the Florida

Farm Bureau Federation for its local board members. That program provided a context for this

study, and the program's target audience was the study population. The study's purpose was to

explain performance, as related to professional development for local boards of a nonprofit

organization. The research was intended to identify factors that explain the engagement level of

local board members in a multi-level, membership organization.

Study participants tended to report that they were "mostly" engaged in the local Farm

Bureau practices promoted in the program. Although program participants' overall use of best

practices was not significantly different from non-participants, participants reported significantly

higher engagement levels for specific practices: Strengthen the 'Voice of Agriculture' by

getting involved in statewide committees"; "Plan for policy implementation challenges before

they arise"; and "Consult others, including adversaries, for input and feedback on policy ideas."









Overall, program participants believed the program helped them to become more effective

Farm Bureau members and leaders. However, program participation alone did not explain

differences in individual and board performance. Instead, gender, education level, meeting

attendance and perceived differences in the goal setting process explained differences in

performance. Regression models including these variables explain up to 21% of the variance in

individual performance and 24% of the variance in board performance.

This study has implications for professional development programming and application of

goal setting theory. The researcher recommends that the program continue, provided that

implementation is standardized and emphasis on goal setting is increased. Additional research is

needed to further explore the application of goal setting theory in programming for volunteer

leaders. An important research focus is improved measures of goal theory constructs and

volunteer board performance. Research also is needed to better understand the differential

effects that gender, education level, and meeting attendance have on board performance.









CHAPTER 1
INTRODUCTION TO THE STUDY

Agricultural leadership is needed today more than ever before. With the agricultural field

becoming more specialized and increasingly challenged, the future success of the industry is

dependent upon local leaders to guide efforts for advocacy and change (Diem & Nikola, 2005;

Horner, 1984; Howell, Weir, & Cook, 1982; W.K. Kellogg Foundation, 2001). Even beyond the

industry, though, the fate of many agricultural communities is also at stake. Agriculture has

traditionally played an important role in most rural communities, and many of these communities

are falling behind their urban counterparts in many areas of quality of life (W.K. Kellogg

Foundation, 2004). Without capable leaders, these communities are "prone to inertia, decay, and

manipulation" (Hustedde & Woodward, 1996, p. 1). Leadership, by definition, inspires vision

and hope for the future (DeRuyver, 2001; Kouzes & Posner, 2002; Moss & Liang, 1990).

Agricultural leadership development holds the opportunity to serve both the agricultural industry

and the communities where agriculture is found.

The phrase "agricultural leadership" lends itself to a broad range of ideas, topics, and

programs. Research on the topic reveals that related subj ect areas include leadership programs

for rural youth, leadership education programs in colleges of agriculture, adult agricultural

leadership programs, governmental agricultural agency positions, and general rural community

development efforts. Among these topics, all require additional research to further the field and

scholarship of agricultural leadership (E. Osborne, 2007; Rudd, Stedman, & Kaufman, 2004).

Background of the Study

This study investigated the usefulness of goal setting as applied in the context of a specific

leadership development program conducted by the Florida Farm Bureau Federation.









Goal Setting Theory

Among the many definitions of leadership, Locke (2003) defines leadership as "the process

of inducing others to pursue a common goal" (p. 29). This definition has emerged from decades

of research by Locke and others on goal setting theory. Locke suggests that the value of goal

setting extends to a wide variety of applications. However, past research on goal setting theory

has focused primarily on motivation in work settings (Locke & Latham, 2002, p. 714). Although

some agricultural leadership takes place in work settings, many of the contexts for agricultural

leadership are in community and volunteer settings. Research is needed to determine the

appropriateness of goal setting in these contexts for agricultural leadership. The use of goal

setting in these contexts is not entirely novel, but the formal application of goal setting theory is.

Goal setting theory "is based on Ryan's (1970) premise that conscious goals affect action"

(Locke & Latham, 1990, 2002, p. 705). According to the theory, goals affect action in form of

choice, intensity, and persistence (Latham, 2007, p. 176). In addition, goals motivate individuals

to develop relevant strategies for goal attainment (Locke, 2001). Goal setting theory emerged

from empirical research over four decades, with more than 1,000 published articles and reviews

(Mitchell, Thompson, & George-Falvy, 2000) that have shown positive results in about 90% of

the studies (Locke, 2001). "The research is uniform in its verdict that difficult and specific goals

result in higher levels of performance than do easy or vague, 'do your best' goals" (Mitchell &

Daniels, 2003, p. 231). A model outlining the constructs associated with goal setting theory is

provided in Figure 1-1. Locke and Latham (1990; 2002) have provided thorough descriptions of

the theory and its related research. The theory is further described in chapter 2 of this

dissertation. Although the theory has been widely applied in for-profit organizations, it has been

given little consideration in the context of nonprofit organizations and volunteer-run groups.










Nonprofit Organizational Effectiveness

An important resource for tackling social issues, including those associated with

agricultural leadership, is nonprofit organizations. The missions of these organizations are

diverse, but their impact can be powerful. Although nonprofits represent only 7 percent of the

interest groups in Washington DC, from the 1960s through the 1990s nonprofit groups

"accounted for anywhere from 24 to 32 percent of the congressional testimony, generated

between 29 and 40 percent of the press coverage of pending legislation, and were nearly 80

percent as effective in passing legislation they favored as the business lobbies against which they

were often arrayed" (Salamon, 2002b, p. 43-44).

Herman and Renz conducted a panel study of nonprofit organizations (NPOs) in 1994 and

again in 2000. From the data collected, they have derived nine theses on organizational

effectiveness:

1. Nonprofit organizational effectiveness is always a matter of comparison.

2. Nonprofit organizational effectiveness is multidimensional.

3. Boards of directors make a difference in the effectiveness of nonprofit organizations,
but how they do so is not clear.

4. Nonprofit organizational effectiveness is a social construction.

5. The more effective NPOs are more likely to use correct management practices.

6. Claims about "best practices" for nonprofit boards and for the management of NPOs
warrant critical investigation.

7. A measure of NPO effectiveness that emphasizes responsiveness may offer a solution
to the problem of differing judgments of effectiveness by different stakeholder groups.

8. It can be important to distinguish among different "types" of nonprofit organizations in
order to make progress in understanding the practices, tactics, and strategies that may
lead to NPO effectiveness.

9. Nonprofit organizations increasingly operate as part of networks of service delivery.
Therefore, network effectiveness is becoming as important to study as organizational
effectiveness. (Herman & Renz, 2002)









Although these theses offer improved understanding and implications for nonprofit

organizations in general, more research is needed to understand the characteristics of

effectiveness for nonprofit organizations and associations that address the need for agricultural

leadership. This is particularly important, since "the more general tendency of nonprofit scholars

is to ignore membership organizations and associations, especially grass-roots associations"

(Smith & Shen, 1996, p. 285). These voluntary associations are an important resource for

recruiting and developing local leaders (Bolton, 1991), yet there is no consensus on the best

approach for maximizing that leadership development process.

Farm Bureau's Leadership Needs

This study will address the field of agricultural leadership in the context of a specific

nonprofit agricultural leadership organization the Florida Farm Bureau Federation (FFBF).

The organization is unique in its grassroots approach to solving problems in the agricultural

industry and the communities that the organization serves. The grassroots approach is

characterized by the organization's policy development and implementation process, which is

driven by local members (Figure 1-2).

FFBF is part of a larger, national organization known as the American Farm Bureau

Federation (AFBF). In part, the mission of the AFBF is "to implement policies that are

developed by members" (American Farm Bureau Federation, 2006). Although the problem of

maintaining "grassroots" efforts is a challenge for the entire national organization, FFBF has

been proactive with statewide efforts to improve the flow of ideas from individual members to

the larger organization. This goal is made clear in FFBF's vision of being "the most effective,

influential and respected Farm Bureau in the nation" and to "be recognized as Florida's 'Voice

of Agriculture'" (FFBF, 2005b). FFBF has identified the leadership role of local officers in

county Farm Bureau groups as pivotal to organizational success (H. S. F. Carter, 2004).









A needs assessment conducted in 2003 revealed that FFBF state leaders believe four local

organizational aspects are important for an effective grassroots process: leadership, political

process, effective boards, and knowledge of Farm Bureau. When evaluating these areas with

local members, Carter (2004) applied a modified Borich (1980) needs assessment and found

significant differences between perceived importance and proficiency in the areas of leadership,

political process, and knowledge of Farm Bureau. For example, in the area of leadership, the

competency "use effective communication skills in media interviews" was rated on a seven-point

scale with a mean importance of 5.6 and a mean proficiency of 4.8, leaving a "gap" of 0.8. The

difference suggests a desire for improved proficiency with that competency. Within the area of

political process, participants rated "develop relationships with elected officials on the national

level" with a mean importance of 5.2 and a mean proficiency of 3.9, leaving a gap of 1.3

between importance and proficiency. Among the competencies related to knowledge of Farm

Bureau, participants rated "demonstrate knowledge of the American Farm Bureau Federation"

with a mean importance of 5.2 and a mean proficiency of 4.2, leaving a gap of 1.0. Carter

concluded that the findings indicate areas for leadership training with local FFBF board

members. In addition, Carter concluded, "this study could be the starting point for additional

leadership research within the FFBF" (p. 167).

In 2004, a qualitative study was conducted to further determine the leadership

expectations, needs, and interests of local FFBF board members. Local board members

throughout the state were interviewed, focusing on identification of common leadership-related

challenges and perceived development needs of the local Farm Bureau board. Four significant

theme areas emerged: organizational appreciation, grassroots involvement, board member

training, and board member succession. Many of the statements made by county board members









matched up with the expectations for board effectiveness previously identified by FFBF state

leaders (H. S. F. Carter, 2004). The theme areas described by Carter (2004) (leadership, political

process, effective boards, and knowledge of Farm Bureau) were well-represented in the

interviews with local board members. In addition, the findings from the interviews with local

board members seemed to further support the need for and interest in professional development

programming for FFBF's local leaders. Based on the findings, the researchers recommended

that the FFBF invest in the development of an educational program focused on FFBF's local

leaders (Kaufman & Rudd, 2006).

This recommendation for leadership development is consistent with interventions for

improved organizational effectiveness recommended for other non-profit and volunteer-based

organizations. For example, based on a three-year study of 24 diverse non-profit organizations,

Holland and Jackson (1998) concluded that ongoing efforts to develop board skills can markedly

improve their performance. Brudney and Murray (1998) add that "although these efforts may

not correct all problems (such as those caused by having the 'wrong' kinds of people on the

board), they can improve the chances of identifying, and then correcting, a number of others" (p.

346). Tierney (2006) argues that investment in leadership capacity is the "single most important

determinant of organizational success" (p. 3). Even still, a common conclusion among research

on interventions with volunteers and non-profit boards is that more empirical evidence is needed

to support and explain the connection between board-member and organizational effectiveness

(Brudney & Murray, 1998; Herman & Renz, 1999; Holland & Jackson, 1998).

"Strengthening the Voice" Program

Overview

In 2005, FFBF contracted with the University of Florida Department of Agricultural

Education and Communication (UF-AEC) to develop curricula for half-day workshops focused









on developing local Farm Bureau leaders. The specific focus was with local board members.

Later titled "Strengthening the Voice" (STV), the program was to include workshops that cover

the topics of effective meetings, political advocacy, member development, organization

management, and Farm Bureau knowledge. The finished curriculum was presented in a train-

the-trainer format, preparing FFBF staff to deliver the workshops locally throughout the state.

STV program developers and FFBF advisors determined that all of the workshops being

developed should use a "best practices" approach, thus highlighting proven techniques for

success that participants could adopt to improve upon their current levels of success. Nonprofit

scholars have cautioned against use of a "one best way" approach to management and board

practices for all organizations. Instead, "every organization must discover and continually seek

to improve its practices, consistent with its values, mission, and stakeholders' expectations

(Herman & Renz, 2004, p. 702). Accordingly, the best practices promoted in the STV program

were based on previous research with FFBF's state and local leaders (H. S. F. Carter, 2004;

Kaufman & Rudd, 2006) and were further refined with a proj ect advisory committee that

included FFBF staff and leaders.

Beyond the formal workshop experience, the STV program emphasized the importance of

application and follow-up. The general approach of the program was to (1) conduct a workshop,

(2) have participants set goals for adopting specific best practices, and (3) provide follow-up

reminders to participants regarding their best practices goals and other important points from the

program (Figure 1-3.) The incorporation of goal-setting is an adaptation of goal setting theory

(see Locke & Latham, 2002) and makes use of a finding by Holland and Jackson (1998) that the

most useful interventions with non-profit boards often link process with substance by asking

board members to set goals for themselves.









The STV program follows a logic model with expected short-, intermediate-, and long-

term outcomes. In the short-term, program planners expect that local board members will be

knowledgeable about best practices for board operations and involvement. Six to 12 months

after program participation, the expected intermediate outcome is that local FFBF boards will

have improved efficiency and productivity, which will in turn create increased grassroots

involvement in the FFBF. The long-term program goals are that (1) FFBF will be a nationally

recognized leader agricultural problem solving and policy formation and (2) FFBF members will

have increased community involvement that improves the social and economic structures in their

communities. These desired outcomes of the STV program aligned with the FFBF mission and

vision, as is shown in Figure 1-4.

As with any program, there are confounding factors to consider when implementing and

evaluating the success of the STV program. Specifically, the program planners were concerned

about factors that would limit local board members level of engagement in the identified best

practices. For some board members, unexpected or unusual changes and commitments in their

personal lives or professional careers may limit the time and energy they are able to devote to

implementation of the best practices. In addition, some board members may be hesitant to apply

the practices because they believe they do not have enough experience or expertise with the

recommended practices. This may be of particular concern considering that the program

workshops are designed to last only four hours, allowing for only a limited opportunity to apply

the practices in a trial setting. Another potential confounding factor relates to local board

members relationships with one another. Many of the identified best practices require

implementation at a group level in order for the desired program outcomes to occur. If local









board members do not trust one another and cooperate well together, they may have a difficult

time collaborating on the recommended practices.

"Farm Bureau Foundations" program component

The first STV component implemented was entitled "Farm Bureau Foundations." The

obj ectives of the workshop were:

1. Explain the relationship between Florida Farm Bureau Federation and Insurance;

2. Establish a local strategy for active pursuit of the Florida Farm Bureau Federation
Vision;

3. Describe the influence and limitation of the Farm Bureau on political issues; and

4. Prepare a plan for grassroots Farm Bureau policy development and implementation.

The best practices promoted through the Farm Bureau Found'ations workshop were

developed from the needs assessment Eindings (H. S. F. Carter, 2004; Kaufman & Rudd, 2006)

and from discussion among the STV advisory committee members. The advisory committee

consisted of FFBF staff and UF-AEC representatives. The FFBF staff brought extensive

knowledge of the organization and experience with the local FFBF board members. The UF-

AEC representatives were familiar with Farm Bureau, but the primary value of their involvement

was with their expertise in writing obj ectives and establishing goals for leadership programming.

This approach to identification of best practices coincides with an approach promoted by

Herman and Renz (2004). They argue that "every organization must discover and continually

seek to improve its practices, consistent with its values, mission, and stakeholders' expectations"

(p. 702). The best practices identified for the FarmFFFFF~~~~~~~FFFFFF Bureau Found'ations program piece are

outlined in Table 1-1.

FFBF staff implemented the Farm Bureau Found'ations program component with twelve

different four-hour workshops throughout the state of Florida during April and May of 2006.










The program focused on local board members in FFBF geographic districts across Florida and

drew 156 participants from 45 different Florida counties. Although the FFBF staff members

promoted participation in the program by all members, the goal was to keep individual

presentations to a manageable size of about 15 to 20 participants, with about 25 to 30

representatives from each district. The dates of the workshops and number of participants in

each are outlined in Table 1-2.

The Farm Bureau Found'ations workshops concluded with participants setting personal

goals for best practices they planned to implement in the coming months. This "Best Practices

Goal Sheet" is displayed in Appendix A. These goal sheets were collected by the workshop

presenters and kept for a follow-up mailing. However, the number of goal sheets collected was

noticeably less than the number of identified workshop attendees, which suggests some degree of

program implementation failure. Unfortunately, this variation in program implementation has

the potential to present inconsistencies in program effects.

After workshop evaluation sheets indicate that over 98 percent of participants were

"satisfied" or "very satisfied" with the workshop. When asked to what extent they could use the

ideas and skills learned in the workshop, 59 percent answered "to a great extent" and 37 percent

answered "to a moderate extent." One participant wrote, "I've been wanting/needing this info

for years."

In June of 2006, the FFBF Hield staff returned each "Best Practices Goal Sheet" to the

participant who originally completed it. The cover letter of the mailings thanked the participants

for their service to FFBF, reminded them of the best practices commitments that they made, and

offered to provide assistance in accomplishing the best practices goals. A template for these

cover letters is displayed in Appendix B. In July of 2006, FFBF mailed program participants a










two-page newsletter that thanked the members for their participation in the program and

reminded them of the key points covered in obj ectives one and two of the Farm Bureau

Foundations workshop. In August of 2006, FFBF mailed a second newsletter that highlighted

the key points covered in objectives three and four of the Farm Bureau Found'ations workshop.

These newsletters are displayed in Appendix C. Although the intent was that all program

participants would receive these mailings, inconsistent records of attendance prevented some

participants from receiving the follow-up mailings.

Problem Statement

The primary impetus for the STV program was a desire to improve the effectiveness of

local FFBF boards of directors. An important question then is whether or not aspects of the

program are influencing board effectiveness. Did any attitude and behavioral changes occur?

To a broader degree, though, can changes in board performance be attributed to constructs

associated with goal setting theory?

FFBF invested substantial time, money, and effort in the implementation of the Farm

Bureau Found'ations component of the STV program. Was it worth the investment? Are the

participants more proficient in FarmFFFFF~~~~~~~FFFFFF Bureau Found'ations related tasks? FFBF has plans to

quadruple this investment through implementation of four more components of the STV

program. Are there ways to better focus these efforts? What participant and program

characteristics are most associated with achievement of the best practices goals? Does the

answer lie in a more direct application of goal setting theory?

With an ex post facto study, it is not possible to directly measure change and answer all of

these questions. However, these inquiries lead to an important research question: What factors,

variables, or interventions explain the quality of engagement (in terms of best practices) of local









board members in a multi-level, membership organization? This question was used to guide the

exploratory study with the STV program.

Purpose Statement

The purpose of the study was to explain local board performance, as related to a

professional development program for local boards of a nonprofit organization.

Research Objectives

The obj ectives of this study were as follows:

1. Describe select demographics of local Florida Farm Bureau board members and
program participants;

2. Measure the engagement level of local Florida Farm Bureau board members in
FarmFFFFF~~~~~~~FFFFFF Bureau Found'ations Best Practices;

3. Measure the goal attributes experienced by program participants with their Farm
Bureau Found'ations Best Practices goal;

4. Explain individual-level performance with best practices identified in the FarmFFFFF~~~~~~~FFFFFF
Bureau Found'ations program; and

5. Explain board-level performance with best practices identified in the Farm Bureau
Foundations program.

Significance of the Study

This study adds to the body of knowledge on goal setting theory, rural leadership

development, volunteer management, and effective board member practices. Practitioners in

these areas will use this study to guide future professional development programming efforts and

to guide further research.

Past research involving goal setting theory has focused primarily on its application in work

settings. If goal setting theory is shown to have application in volunteer settings, the theory can

be used to guide the training and management of volunteers and leaders of volunteers. Latham

and Kinne (1974) have shown that training employees to set specific, high goals results in










improved performance, but little has been done has been done to extend this research to

volunteer situations. The Eindings of this study may further that effort.

Regardless of the findings specific to goal setting theory, FFBF will make direct use of this

study's findings to make revisions to the STV program components in order to increase their

effectiveness. The improvement of the STV program will aid FFBF in accomplishing its mission

and vision, which in turn contributes to improved social and economic structure in the

communities served by FFBF.

In addition, plans are being made to adapt individual components of the STV program for

use in other states and organizations. The Eindings of this study will aid in the adaptation and

promotion of those program components for use by other groups. As other membership

organizations look for guidance in the selection and involvement of board members, they may

look to the Eindings of this study. Such organizations may be similar to Farm Bureau in their

structure, focus, or clientele. For example, local nonprofit organizations or agricultural

commodity associations or rural development groups may look to this study's discussion of

board member engagement when seeking to improve the involvement of their local board

members.

Limitations

As with any scholarly study, there are limitations to the generalizability of this study. The

first limitation that must be considered is related to the nature of the organization being studied.

Farm Bureau is a unique organization in terms of its structure and function. As a result, the

conclusions of this study have limited generalizability to other organizations. However, the

conclusions from this study may provide helpful information for practitioners interested in

conducting similar studies and programs with similar organizations.









Second, this study is limited to the study participants. The study design investigates

relationships among variables and does not indicate a cause-effect relationship. As a result, the

study's findings cannot be generalized to future program participants. Study participants were

self-selected into the program and may differ in important characteristics from non-participants.

Future evaluations must be conducted to ensure that similar relationships exist among future

participants.

The third limitation of the study deals with the limited number of variables included in the

study. Other demographic variables and program characteristics that were not included in this

study may influence goal achievement, and thus provide a different set of findings. The

variables included in this study were based on prominent social science theories.

The final limitation of the study is related to the validity and reliability of the self-reported

data examined in this study. A certain degree of error is associated with all survey studies, and

that error places limitations on the accuracy of the findings. These limitations are further

explained in the methodology and results sections of this study.

Definitions

The following terms and definitions apply to this study:

* Agricultural Lead'ership The process of providing vision and advocacy for the business
activities associated with the production and marketing of plant and animal products.

* Andragogy A set of "core principles of adult learning that in turn enable those designing
and conducting adult learning to build more effective learning processes for adults"
(Knowles, Holton, & Swanson, 2005, p. 2)

* Farm Bureau Found'ations Best Practices The Farm Bureau member practices promoted
through the Florida Farm Bureau Federation's "Farm Bureau Foundations" workshop.

* Farm Bureau Found'ations program component The workshop and follow-up activities
associated with the first segment of Florida Farm Bureau Federation' s Strengthening the
Voice" program.









* Farm Bureau Found'ations workshop A Farm Bureau knowledge-focused workshop
conducted by Florida Farm Bureau Federation staff during April or May of 2006.

* Florid'a Farm Bureau Fed'eration (FFBF) Florida' s largest general farm organization,
consisting of more than 140,000 grassroots member-families who are also members of the
American Farm Bureau Federation (FFBF, 2007b).

* Goal Conanitnzent An attribute of goal setting that is closely associated with goal
intensity and represents the degree to which an individual is determined to accomplish a
task (Locke & Latham, 1994).

* Goal Content A general attribute of goal setting that includes goal specificity and goal
difficulty (Locke & Latham, 1990).

* Goal Difficulty A measure of goal "level" that represents an individual's perception of
how challenging it is to accomplish a particular goal (Locke & Latham, 1990).

* GoalhIntensity "The scope, clarity, and mental effort involved in mental processes"
associated with goal setting and achievement, most often evaluated as goal commitment
(Locke & Latham, 1994, p. 16).

* Goal Specificity The degree to which goal content is vague (i.e. "work on this") or
concrete (i.e. "try for a score of 25 on this task within the next ten minutes") (Locke &
Latham, 1994, p. 15).

* Goal-Setting Theory A theory of adult motivation based on the premise that conscious
goals affect action (Locke & Latham, 2002).

* Grassroots Organization A nonprofit association or group that maintains a local
membership of volunteers who perform most of the work/activity done in and by the
nonprofit (Smith, 2000).

* Self-Efficacy Task-specif ic self-conf idence, which is based on a relationship between
perceived ability and task difficulty (Bandura, 1986).

* Sor Ie~llilthni the Voice (STV) program A long-term professional development program
conducted by the Florida Farm Bureau Federation for its local, county leaders.

Summary

This chapter provided the background and significance of the problem as well as the

purpose of the study. Agricultural leadership development was highlighted as an important tool

for securing a positive future for the agricultural industry and the communities where agriculture

is found. In addition, goal setting theory was introduced and recent research with the Florida









Farm Bureau Federation was highlighted. This led to a discussion of the FFBF .So Iengthen~ling the

Voice program and the Farm Bureau Found'ations program component, which served as the

context for the study.

The study's research question was defined as "What factors, variables, or interventions

explain the quality of engagement (in terms of best practices) of local board members in a multi-

level, membership organization?" The purpose of the study was to explain local board

performance, as related to a professional development program for local boards of a nonprofit

organization. The objectives of this study were as follows:

1. Describe select demographics of local Florida Farm Bureau board members and
program participants;

2. Measure the engagement level of local Florida Farm Bureau board members in
FarmFFFFF~~~~~~~FFFFFF Bureau Found'ations Best Practices;

3. Measure the goal attributes experienced by program participants with their Farm
Bureau Found'ations Best Practices goal;

4. Explain individual-level performance with best practices identified in the FarmFFFFF~~~~~~~FFFFFF
Bureau Found'ations program; and

5. Explain board-level performance with best practices identified in the Farm Bureau
Foundations program.

This chapter included the operational definitions of several terms related to the study.

Limitations of the study were also discussed. Chapter 2 will present the theoretical and

conceptual frameworks that guided this study.






















Mechanisms:
Choice/Direction
Effort
Persistence
Strategies


Willingness to
Commit to New
Challenges



Satisfaction With
Performance and
Rewards


Goal Commitment
Goal Importance
Self-Efficacy
Feedback
Task Complexity


Goal Core:
Specificity
Difficulty
(e.g., Performance and
Learning Goals,
Proximal Goals)


Performance
)(e.g., Productivity,
Cost Improvement)


Figure 1-1. Essential elements of goal-setting theory and the high-performance cycle. Note.
From "Building a Practically Useful Theory of Goal Setting and Task Motivation: A
35-Year Odyssey," by E. A. Locke and G. P. Latham, 2002, American Psychologist,
57(9), p. 714. Copyright 2002 by the American Psychological Association, Inc.
Reprinted with permission.







Policy Development andr Imnplementation Process


Commitees3. Re~solutions


Implem autation a
PlaoCevaunites


' )


ng Delegates


4. Implementatica'~i
Effort


5. Policies Adopted


Figure 1-2. Florida Farm Bureau Federation policy development and implementation process.
Note. From Florida Farm Bureau Federation's Agricultural Policy Division.
Reprinted with permission.













Program presentation teams consult
with local boards and schedule locally
delivered workshops


Field staff recruit participants at local
board meetings and other Farm
Bureau activities


:


practices adoption goal









informal feedback


SPresenters provide guidance for goal
Setting related to the best practices


Field staff provide informal feedback
to local board members


SFFBF staff evaluate and fine-tune the
Program


Presentation teams deliver STV
workshops:
0 Best practices promoted
0 Participatory activities
0 Reflection & discussion
0 Take-home manual


FFBF local leaders live
in coverage area




Local leaders receive
promotional message




Local leaders participate
in workshop and receive
materials


Design team
support:
0 Needs assessment
0 Develop
curriculum
materials
0 Outline program
activities
0 Train presenters
0 Incorporate
feedback into
changes
0 Assist in
evaluation


State staff distribute follow-u]
mailings:
0 Personal goal sheet
0 Newsletters


Figure 1-3. Process model for the Florida Farm Bureau Federation "Strengthening the Voice" program.


Organizational
Plan



Administration:
0 Allocate staff
0 Allocate resources
0 Monitor program


Service Utilization
Plan





















Workshops and Specific
Follow-up Program
Activities with I IComponent
Local FFBF Objectives
Leaders Achieved


FL Farm Bureau Mission:
Joint and collective effort at the county,
state, and national level to solution of
problems of agriculturalists and rural
communities


FL Farm Bureau Vision:
4 Voice & Leader of FL Ag
4 Well informed, educated, and
effective members
4 Increased net income to members


+bb~ Is a Nationally Kecognizec
Leader in Agricultural Problem
Solvina and Policy Formation


FFBF Local Leaders
Knowledgeable of and Improved Efficiency &
'Engaged in Best Practices Productivity of FFBF
Ifor Local FB Operations & Local Boards
Involvement


Figure 1-4. Florida Farm Bureau (FFB) "Strengthening the Voice" program logic model.









Table 1-1. FarmFFFFF~~~~~~~FFFFFF Bureau Foundations workshop best practices by objective
Obj ective # Best Practice
1 Use Farm Bureau facts and history in member recruitment.
Share Farm Bureau facts and history in public relations activities.
Recognize and promote member benefits (like insurance).
Limit board meeting discussion to federation business.
Allow time on meeting agendas for an insurance report.
Maintain a working relationship with the insurance agency manager.
2 *Actively use Farm Bureau's grassroots approach to governance.
Cite Farm Bureau's mission when promoting the organization to potential
members.
Hold Farm Bureau leadership accountable to the organization mission, vision,
and beliefs.
Adopt a local mission and values to guide board actions.
3 *Promote continued political involvement by citing Farm Bureau's past
successes.
Maintain organizational accountability to the grassroots mission when new
policies are proposed.
Maximize the benefits of collaboration when promoting political policy.
4 *Implement grassroots policy by following Farm Bureau's development and
implementation process.
Strengthen the "Voice of Agriculture" by getting involved in statewide
committees.
Plan for policy implementation challenges before they arise.
Consult others, including adversaries, for input and feedback on policy ideas.


Table 1-2. FFBF FarmFFFFF~~~~~~~FFFFFF Bureau Foundations workshop dates and participant numbers by district
District Workshop Date # of Participants*
1 May 25, 2006 19
1 &2 April 06, 2006 15
2 April 13, 2006 22
3 May 30, 2006 10
4 May 11, 2006 7
4 &5 May 18, 2006 18
6 April 11, 2006 20
6 April 20, 2006 7
7 May 02, 2006 8
7 May 11, 2006 8
6 &8 May 19, 2006 13
8 May 11, 2006 9
Total 12 workshops 156
Some participants were not local board members, so the number of participants includes over-
coverage (n=18).









CHAPTER 2
REVIEW OF LITERATURE

Theoretical Frame

Books and research-based articles on professional development include a wide range of

theories and practices. Of these approaches, theories of motivation seem to be at the core.

Furthermore, literature reviews reveal that the principle of goal setting is the one overriding

common theme recognized, either implicitly or explicitly, among virtually all psychological

approaches to motivation (Austin & Vancouver, 1996; Latham, 2007; Locke & Latham, 1984;

Mitchell & Daniels, 2003). Professional development is essentially about helping individuals

and organizations achieve their goals (J. E. Osborne, 2003). Not surprisingly, goal-setting theory

has developed into one of the most practical and empirically sound theories of motivation

(Latham, 2007; Locke & Latham, 2002; Miner, 1984; Pinder, 1998).

Goal Setting Theory Defined

Goal setting theory was formulated based on empirical research over four decades. "It is

based on Ryan's (1970) premise that conscious goals affect action" (Locke & Latham, 2002, p.

705). Within the context of the theory, "a goal is the obj ect or aim of an action" (Locke &

Latham, p. 705). According to Latham (2007), "goals are the immediate precursor of action" (p.

176). The theory applies specifically to performance and learning goals that involve degrees of

success with particular tasks. Goals affect action in form of choice, intensity, and persistence

(Latham, p. 176). In addition, goals motivate individuals to develop relevant strategies for goal

attainment. Locke and colleagues summarized the early research on goal setting theory as

follows:

Goal setting is most likely to improve task performance when the goals are specific and
sufficiently challenging, the subjects have sufficient ability (and ability differences are
controlled), feedback is provided to show progress in relation to the goal, rewards such as
money are given for goal attainment, the experimenter or manager is supportive, and









assigned goals are accepted by the individual. (Locke, Shaw, Saari, & Latham, 1981, p.
125)

These findings continued to be replicated throughout research over 35 years (Locke & Latham,

2002). "Goal setting studies have been conducted with 88 different tasks including bargaining,

driving, faculty research, health promoting behaviors, logging, technical work, managerial work,

management training, safety, and sports performance" (Locke & Latham, 1994, p. 16). Goals

have been found to increase performance at individual, group, and organizational levels

(Mitchell & Daniels, 2003).

Goal setting and planned behavior

Ajzen's theory ofplanneed behavior (Ajzen, 1985, 1991; Ajzen & Madden, 1986; Schifter

& Ajzen, 1985) provides a helpful context for considering goal setting theory. According to the

theory of planned behavior, "the more favorable the attitude and subj ective norm with respect to

a behavior, and the greater the perceived behavioral control, the stronger should be the

individual's intention to perform a behavior under consideration" (Ajzen, 1988, p. 132-133). A

structural model of the theory of planned behavior is shown in Figure 2-1.

In the context of the theory of planned behavior, the "intention" is a self-selected goal.

When a goal is self-selected, goal setting theory can be used to more fully explain the connection

between intention and behavior. In fact, goal setting theory is based on Ryan's (1970) premise

that behavior is regulated by intentions (Latham, 2007). However, goal setting theory presents a

more comprehensive approach and more detailed explanation of this relationship than does the

theory of planned behavior. Beyond self-set goals, goal setting theory can be used to explain

assigned goals that may be the precursor to the components of the theory of planned behavior.









Mechanisms

According to goal setting theory, goals affect performance through four mechanisms: (1)

choice/direction, (2) effort, (3) persistence, and (4) strategies (Locke & Latham, 2002). "Goals

direct attention and effort toward goal-relevant activities and away from goal-irrelevant

activities." In addition, "goals have an energizing function. High goals lead to greater effort than

low goals" (p. 706). Time on task is related to effort and persistence. "When participants are

allowed to control the time they spend on a task, hard goals prolong effort" (p. 707). "Goals

affect action indirectly by leading to the arousal, discovery, and/or use of task-relevant

knowledge and strategies" (p. 707).

Content

One of the most extensively studied attributes of goals is goal content. Research studies

involving goal setting theory have consistently found that specific, difficult goals consistently

lead to high performance (Latham, 2007; Locke & Latham, 1990, 2002; Locke et al., 1981;

Mitchell & Daniels, 2003). Locke and Latham provide some clarification on these aspects of

goal content: specificity and difficulty.

With regard to specificity, goal content can be vague ("work on this") or specific ("try for a
score of 25 on this task within the next ten minutes"). With regard to goal difficulty, goals
can be easy ("try to get 10 items completed in the next 20 minutes"), moderate ("try to get
20 ."), difficult ("try to get 30 ."), or impossible ("try to get 100 ."). Difficulty
pertains to a relationship between the person and the goal. The same goal can be easy for
one person and hard for another depending on ability and experience. Generally, however,
the higher the absolute level of the goal, the more difficult it is for people to attain it.
(Locke & Latham, 1994, p. 15)

Locke and Latham (1990; 1994; 2002) report a positive, linear relationship between goal

difficulty and levels of performance. The explanation for this finding is that "people adjust their

effort to the difficulty of the task undertaken" (Locke & Latham, 1994, p. 15). "Goal theory









predicts and finds a performance drop at high difficulty levels only if there is a large decrease in

goal commitment (or a poor task strategy was used)" (Locke & Latham, 1994, p. 15)

Goal specificity, in itself, does not lead to high performance, because specific goals can

still vary in difficulty. However, "goal specificity does reduce variation in performance by

reducing the ambiguity about what is to be attained" (Locke & Latham, 2002, p. 706). Goal

specificity and difficulty are the primary components of goals highlighted within goal setting

theory. Research in field settings supports the idea that people can be taught to set specific, high

goals (Latham & Kinne, 1974).

Goals have been further identified as learning or performance goals, yet the evidence to

support one goal type over another tends to be situation dependent (Latham, 2007; Seijts &

Latham, 2001; Seijts, Latham, Tasa, & Latham, 2004). "Goal setting without adequate

knowledge is useless" (Latham, 2007, p. 176). Therefore, in complex situations where

individuals lack preexisting knowledge of appropriate task strategies, setting a specific high

learning goal leads to higher performance than setting a specific high performance goal or a

vague "do your best" goal (Seijts et al., 2004).

Some research on goal setting theory has investigated the effects of distal versus proximal

goals. Bandura (1997) noted that distal goals can be too far removed to effectively guide present

action. Studies have shown, however, that performance improves when proximal goals are set in

addition to a distal outcome goal (Bandura, 1986; Latham & Seijts, 1999; Seijts & Latham,

2001).

Intensity

Another extensively studied attribute of goal is goal intensity. "Intensity refers to the

scope, clarity, and mental effort involved in mental processes" (Locke & Latham, 1994, p. 16).

Goal intensity is most often characterized and studied as goal commitment, yet a related









construct worth measuring is self-efficacy. According to Locke and Latham, "commitment

refers to the degree to which an individual is attracted to the goal, considers it important, is

determined to attain it, and sticks with it in the face of obstacles" (p. 16).

Commitment is enhanced when people believe that achieving the goal is possible, and that
achieving the goal is important (Klein, 1991). The first class of factors raise what Bandura
(1986) has labeled self-efficacy (task-specific self-confidence). These include ability,
experience, training, information about appropriate task strategies, past success, and
internal attributions (Locke & Latham, 1990). Those in authority can affect the second
class of factors by explaining why the goal is important, exerting reasonable pressure for
performance, being knowledgeable about the task and job, and serving as a role model for
the behavior they desire in the subordinate (Locke & Latham, 1990). (Locke & Latham,
1994, p. 17)

Beyond these insights on goal intensity, Locke and Latham (2002) provide three

suggestions for improving self-efficacy: "(a) by ensuring adequate training that provides success

experiences, (b) by role modeling or finding models with whom the person can identify, and (c)

through persuasive communication that expresses confidence that the person can attain the goal"

(Locke & Latham, 2002, p. 708). Consistent with social cognitive theory (Bandura, 1986) and

the theory of planned behavior (Ajzen, 2005), perceived ability, rather than actual ability, is the

crucial motivating factor (Latham, 2007). For a more thorough discussion of self-efficacy, see

Bandura (1997).

Other moderators

Beyond the goal intensity attribute, expressed by goal commitment and self-efficacy, goal

setting theory suggests that goal performance is moderated by other factors. These include

feedback, task complexity, personal ability, and situational constraints (Locke & Latham, 1994).

Of these, feedback and task complexity are the most commonly considered (Locke & Latham,

2002).

Summary feedback is a moderator of goals in that the combination of goals plus feedback

is more effective than goals alone" (Locke & Latham, 2002, p. 708). When people do not know









their level of progress toward a goal, "it is difficult or impossible for them to adjust the level or

direction of their effort or to adjust their performance strategies to match what the goal requires"

(p. 708). According to Bandura and Ceryone (2000), "simply adopting goals, whether easy or

personally challenging ones, without knowing how one is doing seems to have no appreciable

motivational effects" (p. 203). However, feedback need not be formal; it can be internal or

external (Latham, 2007). Thus, self-evaluation can be an important moderating factor of goal

performance (Bandura & Ceryone, 2000).

As the complexity of goal-related tasks increase, goal performance becomes dependent on

the ability to discover appropriate task strategies. "Because people vary greatly in their ability to

do this, the effect size for goal setting is smaller on complex tasks than on simple tasks" (Locke

& Latham, 2002, p. 709). In situations where a variety of task strategies are applied toward goal

achievement, goal-strategy interactions are often found, with goal performance closely

associated with the use of effective strategies.

Demographic variables

Numerous goal-setting studies have examined the influence of demographic variables

related to goal performance, but the Eindings have not provided the reliability necessary for

inclusion in Locke and Latham' s (2002) model for goal setting theory. Renn and Fedor (2001)

examined age, education, tenure, and gender but found that none of these variables were related

to goal performance.

However, Cullen and others (2004) studied goal-setting with children and found that

gender, ethnicity, socio-economic status (SES), and mother' s education were influential

variables. Male students were found to have more success with general goal setting than female

students. Goal performance differences associated with ethnicity, SES, and education varied

somewhat with the specific goal task, but these differences were also closely aligned with










baseline preferences and activities. The researchers did recognize the uniqueness of their

findings and noted the need for further research in this area (Cullen et al., 2004).

Jeffries and Hunte (2004) suggest that generational differences act as an influence on work

motivation, which in turn impacts goal-setting and performance. For example, the "boomer"

generation (born roughly between 1946 and 1964) tends to associate time spent on a task with

successful performance, while generation "Xers" (born roughly between 1961 and 1981) tend to

prefer autonomy and place more emphasis on results (O'Bannon, 2001). As a result of these

differences, longer timelines with proximal goals may be appropriate for boomers, whereas Xers

may perform better with opportunities for choice and shorter completion times (Jeffries &

Hunte). This research supports the inclusion of age as a demographic variable in goal-setting

studies.

Doest, Maes, Gebhardt, and Koeleijn (2006) studied personal goals and found evidence

that education level and age both impact goal outcomes. Specifically, more highly educated

respondents tended to report more emotional exhaustion, which in turn was negatively related to

attainment of personal goals. The same was true for younger respondents. However, the

demographics were presented as dichotomous variables, and the researchers recognized that as a

limitation of the study. They suggest that "future research would benefit from the use of

longitudinal designs, more control variables, and objectively measured outcomes" (p. 214).

Based on published findings and the recommendations of other researchers, demographic

variables appropriate for consideration in goal-setting studies include: education, ethnicity, job

tenure, age, and gender.









Adult Education


Andragogy and Adult Learning

Adult learning dates back to ancient times, when teachers like Confucius, Socrates, and

Cicero focused efforts on teaching adults. However, "for many years, the adult learner was a

neglected species" (Knowles et al., 2005, p. 35). In the early 1970s, "the concept that adults and

children leamn differently was first introduced in the United States by Malcom Knowles," and

along with that concept came the term "andragogy" (Knowles et al., p. 1). Andragogy has been

interpreted in many ways, but Knowles and his colleagues posit that "andragogy presents core

principles of adult learning that in turn enable those designing and conducting adult learning to

build more effective learning processes for adults" (p. 2). Andragogy is the "single most popular

idea in the education and training of adults" (Brookfield, 1986). "The six principles of

andragogy are (1) the learner' s need to know, (2) self-concept of the learner, (3) prior experience

of the learner, (4) readiness to leamn, (5) orientation to learning, and (6) motivation to leamn"

(Knowles et al., p. 3). These principles are not necessarily in contrast to pedagogy, literally

defined as "the art and science of teaching children" (Knowles et al., p. 36), instead the

principles of andragogy provide guidance in ways to capitalize on the experience and perspective

that adults bring to the learning situation. As individuals mature, their need to be self-directing

and use their experience in learning increases. Andragogy accounts for this difference and

provides an opportunity for this difference to be an asset in the learning process, rather than a

hindrance.

Knowles and colleagues (2005) suggest that "andragogy works best in practice when it is

adapted to fit the uniqueness of the learners and the learning situation" (p. 3). They divide the

goals for adult learning into three general categories: individual, institutional, and societal

growth. The traditional view of adult learning has been to focus on individual growth. For










example, some adult learning programs have sought to advance the employability skills of

individual adults (Birkenholz, 1999). However, adult learning is helpful for achieving

organizational and community goals as well (Rohs & Langone, 1993). The American Society

for Training and Development (ASTD) is a professional organization that focuses on linking

adult learning with organizational performance. In addition, many Extension programs use adult

learning as a tool for achieving community goals. One example is the training of adult

volunteers to serve youth involve in 4-H programming.

Motivation to Learn

Motivation is a concept that explains why people think and behave as they do. "Seeing

human motivation as purposeful allows us to create a knowledge base about effective ways to

help adults begin learning, make choices and give direction to their learning, sustain learning,

and complete learning" (W10dkowski, 1999, p. 2). When learners are motivated, the learning

process goes more smoothly, anxiety decreases, and learning becomes more apparent (p. 5).

W10dkowski suggests that adult motivation to leamn is the sum of four factors: success, volition

(i.e. choice), value, and enjoyment (p. 14).

W10dkowski's factors for adult motivation are reflected in two of the principles of

andragogy. The first principle states that adults need to know why they need to learn \Ilm~inehig

before learning it, and the sixth principle is that the motivation for adult learners is internal

rather than external (Knowles et al., 2005). "Adults are responsive to some external motivators

(better j obs, promotions, higher salaries, and the like), but the most potent motivators are internal

pressures (the desire for increased j ob satisfaction, self-esteem, quality of life, and the like)"

(Knowles et al., 2005, p. 68).

Expectancy theory suggests three aspects of individual motivation that also support

W10dkowski's assessment of key motivational factors. Described in learning terms, expectancy









theory proposes that "adult learners will be most motivated when they believe they can learn new

material (expectancy) and that the learning will help them with a problem or issue

(instrumentality) that is important to their life (valence)" (Knowles et al., 2005, p. 201).

In order to maximize learner motivation, W10dkowski (1999) proposes five characteristics

and skills to be demonstrated by adult educators: expertise, empathy, enthusiasm, clarity, and

cultural responsiveness (p. 26). He has conceptualized these skills in the Motivational

Framework for Culturally Responsive Teaching: establishing inclusion, developing attitude,

enhancing meaning, and engendering competence (p. 81). W10dkowski proposes 60

motivational strategies that connect to the Motivational Framework for Culturally Responsive

Teaching (see Table 8.1 in W10dkowski, 1999, p. 294-297). Using the strategies proposed by

W10dkowski (1999), conceptualizing a program plan that motivates learners becomes a rather

structured process.

Many of the concepts for improving adult motivation to learn are reflected in the FFBF

Strlingthel~litii the Voice program. For example, the workshops for each program component

begin by taking 10 to 15 minutes to develop (or reinforce) a felt need to learn among the learners

and to engender confidence in the program. This is accomplished indirectly through the

previously established credibility of the presenters (FFBF staff members) and more directly

through group discussion of the learning objectives. In addition to personal examples that might

vary from one presentation to another, consistent program examples are provided in the form of

video segments in which FFBF members and leaders discuss the practical value of the topics

about to be addressed in the program. Throughout the program, learner motivation is reinforced

by involving the learners in activities and discussion. One of the goals of the first program










components, FarmFFFFF~~~~~~~FFFFFF Bureau Foundations, was to provide a valuable and enjoyable learning

experience that would motivate participants to identify future program components as a priority.

Program Planning and Evaluation

Critics of professional development programs argue that little thought is put into program

outcomes (Hustedde & Woodward, 1996). For this reason, many professional development

models have been created for use with adult programs. Two specific models provide insight into

program characteristics that were integral to the program being studied. The models are the

Andragogy in Practice Model (Knowles et al., 2005) and the Conceptual Programming Model

(Boone, Safrit, & Jones, 2002). While these models provide guidance for program planning, a

key part of program improvement is evaluation (Umble, 2007).

Andragogy in Practice Model

The andragogical model has been identified as a prototypical model, because of its broad

influence on the practice of adult learning (Cookson, Knowles, Nadler, & Nadler, 1998).

Foundational to the model is the idea that adult educators should not be teachers, but instead

facilitators of learning (Cookson et al., 1998; Knowles et al., 2005). In this way, learning is not

characterized by one-way communication. Instead, learners are involved throughout the entire

process. According to Knowles and colleagues, the process of andragogy involves eight

elements: (1) preparing learners, (2) climate, (3) planning, (4) diagnosing of needs, (5) setting of

objectives, (6) designing learning plans, (7) learning activities, and (8) evaluation (p. 116).

The Andragogy in Practice Model was developed in 1998 "as an enhanced conceptual

framework to more systematically apply andragogy across multiple domains of adult learning

practice" (Knowles et al., 2005, p. 148). There are three dimensions to the andragogy in practice

model: (1) goals and purposes for learning, (2) individual and situation differences, and (3)

andragogy: core adult learning principles (Knowles et al., p. 148). Goals for adult learning are









conceptualized as an outside ring on the model and are identified as goals for individual,

institutional, or societal growth. The next dimension of the model is displayed as a middle ring,

highlighting subject-matter differences, situational differences, and individual learner

differences. The core of the model focuses on six andragogical principles: (1) learners need to

know, (2) self-concept of the learner, (3) prior experience of the learner, (4) readiness to learn,

(5) orientation to learning, (6) motivation to learn (Knowles et al., p. 149).

The Andragogy in Practice Model has the benefit of application to a vast number of adult

learning situations. Practitioners can begin with learning goals for the situation and follow the

model inward, or they can begin with the andragogical principles and move outward to the

specific learning goals (Figure 2-2). Knowles himself has recognized that the andragogical

model is merely a helpful starting point for adult learning and does not constitute a complete

theory (Knowles et al., 2005, p. 163). Even still, andragogy does provide "an enduring model for

understanding certain aspects of adult learning" (Merriam & Caffarella, 1999, p. 278).

As the curriculum materials for the FFBF's S~imigtheninilg~ the Voice program were being

developed, components of the andragogy in practice model were considered and applied. The

outside dimension of the model, "goals and purposes for learning," was incorporated by ensuring

that the program was based on the needs assessments that were conducted prior to program

development. Throughout the curriculum development process, the goals and purposes for each

program component were continually referenced by the curriculum writers and reaffirmed by the

program advisory committee (consisting of FFBF leaders). The second dimension of the

andragogy in practice model, "individual and situation differences," was incorporated by

designing the Stl eigthell~itiig the Voice program to be locally delivered and adaptable to local

needs. The FFBF Hield staff members were most knowledgeable of the individual and situational









differences of the target population, so the program was designed in a way that would allow

them to deliver the program locally in a way that fit the local needs. The final dimension of the

andragogy in practice model, "core adult learning principles," was considered throughout the

process. The first three principles, (1) learners need to know, (2) self-concept of the learner, and

(3) prior experience of the learner, were particularly important in the planning process to ensure

that the program would meet its target audience "where they were." The three additional

principles, (4) readiness to learn, (5) orientation to learning, and (6) motivation to learn, were

built into the program through activities that involved action and reflection. Although the

andragogy in practice model was not always referenced directly, its components shine through in

the program materials and design.

Conceptual Programming Model

The Conceptual Programming Model, as developed by Boone and others (2002), has an

accompanying book to provide explanation. "The model includes three interconnected and

related subprocesses: (1) planning, (2) design and implementation, and (3) evaluation and

accountability" (Boone et al., 2002, p. 42). Each subprocess is further divided into two

dimensions. The planning dimensions are: (la) the organization and its renewal process and (lb)

linking the organization to its publics. Dimensions of design and implementation include: (2a)

designing the planned program and (2b) implementing the planned program. And the evaluation

and accountability dimensions are: (3a) evaluation and (3b) accountability. Within each of these

dimensions, the model promotes specific tasks that are described in significant detail in the book:

"Developing Programs in Adult Education: A Conceptual Programming Model" (Boone et al.,

2002).

This professional development model is successful in capturing many of the important

elements of other program development models. Although Boone's early model has been









criticized for having few direct tests of the model (see Long, 1998, p. 81), Boone' s most recent

book cites numerous publications, pilot demonstrations, and research studies that involved

application of the Conceptual Programming Model (see Appendix of Boone et al., 2002).

Within the context of the Florida Farm Bureau' s S~imisthel~litiig the Voice program, the

Conceptual Programming Model (Boone et al., 2002) was not strictly applied, but the stages of

planning fit none-the-less. The planning processes included a needs assessment that involved

organizational leaders and local stakeholders. The planning sub-process was then followed by

design and implementation that was directed by professionals from the University of Florida and

the Florida Farm Bureau Federation. The program is still in the process of being implemented,

but initial efforts for evaluation are currently being conducted, with the idea that the evaluation

findings will guide program improvement and offer some accountability to stakeholders.

Program Evaluation

Overview

Professional development programs can provide benefits at individual, organizational, and

society levels. Evaluating their impacts falls under the realm of social science, which recognizes

the complexities that limit scientific certainty about any question involving human behavior

(Ary, Jacobs, & Razavieh, 2002, p. 14). Even still, professional development programs can and

should be assessed in such a way that suggests some degree of certainty about their true impact.

"Contemporary concern over the allocation of scarce resources makes it more essential than ever

to evaluate the effectiveness of social interventions" (Rossi, Lipsey, & Freeman, 2004, p. 28).

Fortunately, many research studies have documented benefits of professional development

programs. Earnest (1996) used the Leadership Practices Inventory as a pre- and post-test for

participation in a community leadership program. His findings demonstrated that participants (a)

were more willing to take risks; (b) broadened their perspective of leadership









roles/responsibilities; (c) developed a greater appreciation for teamwork and collaboration; and

(d) learned to adapt their leadership styles. Sugrue and Rivera (2005) documented one

organization that doubled customer satisfaction in less than a year as a result of implementing a

training program in customer service. Another organization increased retention of new sales

people from 60 percent to over 90 percent after implementing a professional development

program for new hires (Sugrue & Rivera, p. 18).

Galloway (2005) has identified Kirkpatrick' s (1998) Four-Level Model as a dominant

approach to evaluating professional development programs. According to Kirkpatrick (1998),

the sequence of evaluating training programs involve four levels, each impacting the next, and

each being more difficult and time-consuming, yet more valuable (p. 19). The levels are: (1)

reaction, or how well learners were satisfied with the program; (2) learning, including participant

changes in attitude, improved knowledge, or increased skill; (3) behavior, or the changes in

behavior that resulted from the program; and (4) results, including impacts such as increased

production, improved quality, higher profits, decreased turnover, etc. Kirkpatrick' s model

provides a valuable framework for program evaluation and has repeatedly been proven useful

since its inception in 1959.

In the realm of goal setting theory, evaluation is a critical component. Level one

evaluation, reactions, is important for understanding several goal moderators, specifically goal

commitment, goal importance, and self-efficacy. Level two evaluation, learning, corresponds

with measures of the remaining two goal moderators: feedback and task complexity. Level three

evaluation, behavior, provides an assessment of all the goal mechanisms: choice/direction, effort,

persistence, and strategies. Finally, level four evaluation, results, highlights the purpose of goal

setting, improved performance. Of course, all of these components of goal setting theory can









occur without evaluation, but the only way to fully understand them is through an evaluation that

covers Kirkpatrick's four levels: reactions, learning, behavior, and results.

Return on investment

Although the Kirkpatrick method has been viewed as a comprehensive model for

evaluating impact, training professionals have often been called upon to take evaluation a step

further and calculate a return on investment (ROI) (Galloway, 2005; Phillips & Phillips, 2007).

In response to this need, Phillips (2005) has added a fifth level to Kirkpatrick' s model which

focuses on the assessment of the monetary value results yield, compared to the cost of training.

Phillips (2005) suggests that there are hundreds of studies that demonstrate ROI for

organizational investment in professional development. One example of ROI level impact is a

literary skills training program conducted by Magnavox. The program cost $38,233 to conduct,

but the benefits were valued at $321,600, leaving a net benefit of $283,367 a 741% ROI

(Galloway, 2005). Research conducted by Bassi and McMurrer (cited in Phillips & Phillips,

2005) further supports ROI for professional development programming. They found that firms

that made unusually large investments in employee education and training outperformed the S&P

500 by a factor of two (113 percent versus 55 percent) in the years following investment (p. 15).

Sugrue and Rivera (2005) documented an organization that implementing a training program for

its sales force and in turn experienced "a $375 million increase in revenues in a space where

sales had been forecasted to be flat" (p. 18). Rohs (2004) evaluated the Southern Extension

Leadership Development (SELD) and reported that every one-dollar spent in the SELD program

returned $2.86 (286%) in net benefits (p. 27).

Professional development programs can demonstrate ROI; however, as a fifth level of

evaluation, it is even more difficult and time consuming than the four previous levels identified

by Kirkpatrick (1998). Phillips (2005) estimates that the cost of evaluating a program all the









way through ROI "may represent as much as 5 percent to 10 percent of the entire project." In

conducting ROI level evaluation, Rohs (2004) provides a practical example that may serve as a

guide. ROI calculations are based on the model presented by Phillips (1992), and highlight six

steps: (1) collect data, (2) isolate the effects of training, (3) convert data to monetary values, (4)

identify intangible benefits, (5) tabulate program costs, and (6) calculate the ROI (Rohs, 2004).

Leadership Development in Context

Applications of leadership development occur in different contexts and contextual factors

sometimes influence program goals and design (Hannum, Martineau, & Reinelt, 2007). Three

inter-related program contexts include rural, agricultural, and grassroots leadership development.

Each of these program areas might focus on a different target audience, but they also overlap

considerably and all tie into the interests of a group like Farm Bureau. Even still, it may be

helpful to consider the literature contributions of each area separately.

Rural Leadership Development

In order to ensure success facing the challenges of adult education in rural leadership

development, quality research must be performed and utilized, but that research has been

lacking. A variety of publications exists on the topic of rural community development, and

many of the publications use the phrase "leadership development." However, little research has

focused on programmatic efforts for the development of rural leaders. In fact, an extensive

review of literature in Cambridge Scientific Abstracts yielded only 15 relevant research articles

over a decade (1994-2004) of publication (Kaufman & Rudd, in press). Among the articles

found, sub-topic areas identified included Partnerships, Political Shifts, Safety & Health, Gender

Equity, Public Discourse, Statewide Program Impact, and Continuing Education. However, each

area lacked adequate saturation of research. The effectiveness of leadership development in rural

areas is severely threatened by this lack of published research. With increasingly limited









resources, those pursuing rural leadership development must address significant deficiencies in

the research and share findings for the betterment of all (Kaufman & Rudd, in press).

For practitioners in rural leadership development, a helpful guide has been published by

Hustedde and Woodward (1996) through the University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension

Service. According to the report, "many social scientists, business leaders, and others recognize

that the key to addressing rural problems is the 'capacity building' of local leaders and citizens"

(.1.The model proposed for capacity building starts with the development of clear goals

around which activities can be structured. In addition, Hustedde and Woodward suggest basing

leadership programs on the concept of "community trusteeship." Community trustees are

servant-leaders who make "an active and caring commitment to the community" (p. 2). Essential

public skills to be taught in a rural leadership development program might include: active

listening, collaboration, conflict resolution, deliberation, evaluation, facilitation, imagination,

interviewing, negotiation, power analysis, strategic planning, team building, vigilance, visioning,

and volunteer management. Hustedde and Woodward caution against lecture formats in rural

leadership development programs and instead advocate for activities that stimulate critical

thinking.

Dhanakumar, Rossing, and Campbell (1996) also advocate for activities that involve

critical thinking, and have observed concrete benefits from these activities. In their evaluation of

the Wisconsin Rural Leaders Program, they found that "rural leaders learn best by a process of

action and reflection" (p. 6). Previous studies on civic participation and socio-economic status

suggest that rural citizens, as a lower socio-economic class, might not engage in civic activities.

However, the research by Dhanakumar, Rossing, and Campbell found that the Wisconsin Rural

Leaders Program improved civic engagement among rural citizens. This finding provides









confirmation for previous research by Martin and Wilkinson (1985) who concluded that

leadership development mediates the relationship between public affairs participation and

socioeconomic background. Accordingly, "leadership development programs can have an

important redistributive effect," providing real economic benefits to rural citizens and

communities (Martin & Wilkinson, p. 106)

Agricultural Leadership Development

Agricultural leadership can encompass a broad reach of topics and programs. In reviewing

research with keywords of "agricultural" and "leadership," we Eind that subj ect areas include

leadership programs for rural youth, leadership education programs in colleges of agriculture,

adult agricultural leadership programs, governmental agricultural agency positions, and general

rural community development efforts. Among these topics, all require additional research to

further the Hield and scholarship of agricultural leadership (E. Osborne, 2007; Rudd et al., 2004).

Fortunately, the Hield has found a home and increased acceptance in the discipline of agricultural

education. More and more, research conferences and journals related to agricultural education

are welcoming research in the area of agricultural leadership. In addition, collegiate departments

of agricultural education are increasingly offering courses and programs in agricultural

leadership (F. W. Brown & Fritz, 1994; S. Fritz, Hoover, Weeks, Townsend, & Carter, 2003; S.

Fritz, Townsend et al., 2003; S. M. Fritz & Brown, 1998).

Although many agricultural leadership efforts are taking place throughout the world, the

research Eindings related to these efforts are too often unpublished. Fortunately, individuals

engaged in the Hield of agricultural leadership development are a collegial group and often share

unpublished research Eindings. For example, the Arkansas LeadAR program recently conducted

a full review of their efforts, summarizing all of their program materials and conducting focus

group interviews with program graduates and stakeholders (Black, Day, Roberts, Roseleip, &









Singletary, 2005). Although these research findings have not been formally published, they were

shared informally at the 2005 International Association of Programs for Agricultural Leaders

(IAPAL) conference. IAPAL members were invited to request additional details from the

research, and the LeadAR program director mailed full research findings to individuals who

requested them.

Another example of adult agricultural leadership program research being shared informally

is recent research evaluating the Ohio LEAD program. Black, the Ohio LEAD program director,

informally shared some of her research design at the 2005 IAPAL conference. She has since

completed her evaluation and provided an executive summary of the findings to select IAPAL

members (Black, 2006). Black observed that 86% of participants recognized personal changes

as a result of program participation. Those changes were observed at three different levels:

individual, organizational, and community. Respondents reported being most affected by the

program at the individual level. The most highly reported change was in networking, with 63%

of respondents reporting an increase in their use of social networks. The benefits of this

increased networking carried over into their business activities, thus providing change at the

organizational level. In addition, respondents indicated that the program improved their

decision-making skills and their ability to facilitate change. At the community level, 75% of

respondents reported an increased appreciation for cultural diversity and 45% of respondents

reported increased involvement in local proj ects and/or organizations. Black and Earnest (2006)

presented some of the findings at the annual conference of the International Leadership

Association. As of February 2007, the findings of the study had not been published in any

research j ournals that might allow the information to be more widely used.









One evaluation of the agricultural leadership program in Florida has been published, while

other evaluation findings and efforts have been distributed only to a limited degree. Based on

interviews with program participants, spouses, and associates, Carter and Rudd (2000) found that

consistent program outcomes included: "networking, a broader perspective of the issues, an

increased knowledge of people's personalities, and a continued desire to learn and keep learning

throughout their life" (p. 203). A few years later, Carter and Ladewig (2004), completed an

unpublished evaluation that provided some confirmation of these findings. Program alumni were

asked to identify "outstanding features of this program that make it attractive for someone in

agriculture and natural resources." The top three findings included: (1) increased contacts and

networking opportunities, (2) exposure to different people, places, and ideas, and (3) leadership

development. In addition, study participants reported the program improved their

communication skills and caused them to be more involved in organizations (agriculture and

others) on a community, state and national level. Carter and Ladewig also asked program alumni

to identify areas for program improvement. Based on responses in questionnaires and small

group discussions, four themes were identified where the program needs to incorporate changes

and continue to monitor for progress. The four theme areas were: alumni involvement, program

design, program persona, and life after the leadership program experience. Recommendations

for changes were specific to the program, and the importance of context in the recommendations

may be why the Carter and Ladewig study was unpublished.

Grassroots Leadership Development

Scholars that study grassroots associations argue that leadership in grassroots situations

"tends to be very different from work organization management, especially business and

government organization management" (Smith, 2000, p. 150). Based on an exploration of 23










organizations involved with grassroots leaders, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation (2000) has

identified five key characteristics of grassroots leadership:

1. They have different motivations and needs than those of traditional "positional" leaders;

2. Investing in grassroots leadership development encourages long-term problem-solving;

3. In developing grassroots leaders, the best results are achieved by using a triple focus on
the individual leaders, the involved organization, and the community or issue of concern;

4. Programs work best when the investment in grassroots leadership is deliberate; and

5. Grassroots leaders encourage further support of grassroots leadership. (p. 6)

Although formal training of grassroots leaders has been limited (Smith, 2000), such efforts

have been increasing, especially since the late 1990s (Behrens & Benham, 2007). The W.K.

Kellogg Foundation (1999) has identified key results or characteristics of effective grassroots

leadership development programs. Those include:

1. Connect individuals and organizations to an overarching vision or goal for the
community;

2. Assist leaders in moving from single issue or isolated problem-solving to an
understanding of the interrelationship of issues, power and change strategies in a
community;

3. Expand ability to work through differing positions and across divisive boundaries to
achieve results for the community;

4. Foster networking within and outside the community; and

5. Offer follow-up to support leaders in using new skills or strategies. (W.K. Kellogg
Foundation, 1999, p. 8)

The Center for Participatory Change has proposed eight core elements for achieving

success in grassroots efforts: (1) relationships and fun, (2) mission and vision, (3) values, (4)

community work, (5) building the organization, (6) resources, (7) networks and partnerships, and

(8) growth and learning (White, Castelloe, Butterworth, & Watson, 2003). These elements

should be considered when planning grassroots leadership development programs.









Although leadership development efforts in rural and agricultural settings are in some

ways unique, they are not necessarily distinct from grassroots leadership development. Efforts to

improve leadership development programs for agricultural and rural constituents would benefit

from taking a grassroots approach and applying the findings associated with grassroots

leadership development (Burgraff, 1999; Fluharty, 2004; W.K. Kellogg Foundation, 1999). One

resource for guiding efforts to improve leadership development programming is The Handbook

for Leadership Development Evaheation, published by the Center for Creative Leadership and

edited by Hannum, Martineau, and Reinelt (2007).

Nonprofit Organizations

Overview

Many leadership development programs are conducted through nonprofit organizations.

The nonprofit sector is thriving, and the opportunities facing nonprofit organizations present a

promising future for those that are able to adapt appropriately.

The number of Americans employed in the nonprofit sector has doubled in the last 25

years (Independent Sector, 2004, p. 1). Based on 1997-2001 figures from the United States

Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual growth rate for employment in nonprofits is 2.5

percent, which is well above that for business (1.8%) and government (1.6%). Total

employment in the nonprofit sector is 12.5 million, 9.5 percent of total all employment in the

United States (Independent Sector, 2004).

Based on a 2002 report published by Rollins College, Florida' s nonprofit sector is a maj or

contributor to the state economy. According to the report, Florida' s nonprofit organizations:

* Number more than 50,000;

* Directly employ approximately 430,000 people;










* Generate an additional 360,000 jobs as a result of spending by the organizations and their
employees;

* Comprise the state's sixth largest source of employment among all industry sectors;

* Hold assets exceeding $63 billion;

* Receive more than $43 billion in annual income;

* Generate more than $22 billion in total personal income;

* Generate more than $61 billion in total economic activity;

* Have grown faster than the state's overall economy; and

*Attract 88 million hours of volunteer time, equal to the work of more than 42,000 full-time
employees. (Public Sector Consultants, 2002, p. 7)

With respect to jobs in Florida, the report indicates that "approximately 6 percent of all

employment in Florida is based in the nonprofit sector" (Public Sector Consultants, 2002, p. 11).

Florida's nonprofit organizations employ more people than many other employment sectors,

including the construction; wholesale trade; transportation, communication, and utilities; and

mining sectors. Employees in Florida' s nonprofit organizations are paid an average wage of

$26,197. By applying a model developed by the U. S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, researchers

determined that 30.4 jobs are created for every $1 million in nonprofit expenditures. In total, it is

estimated that the nonprofit sector generated an additional 360,415 jobs in Florida in 1999

(Public Sector Consultants, 2002, p. 23).

One reason for the nonprofit sector' s strong growth in the United States is the success they

have had in the political arena. Although nonprofits represent only 7 percent of the interest

groups in Washington DC, from the 1960s through the 1990s nonprofit groups "accounted for

anywhere from 24 to 32 percent of the congressional testimony, generated between 29 and 40

percent of the press coverage of pending legislation, and were nearly 80 percent as effective in










passing legislation they favored as the business lobbies against which they were often arrayed"

(Salamon, 2002b, p. 43-44).

Crucial nonprofit opportunities are social and demographic shifts, new philanthropic

resources, greater visibility and policy salience, and growth of government social welfare

spending (Salamon, 2002b). Demographic shifts in the world's population have allowed

nonprofits to tap into the resources (both financial and human) of an aging population. Retirees

are now an important source from which to draw volunteers. New philanthropic resources are

another area of opportunity, including intergenerational transfer of wealth, new wealth, and

corporate partnership s/coll ab orati ons (Salamon, 2002b). In relati on to these prospects, the

financial industry has created new avenues for securing private donations, such as trusts,

annuities, etc. Nonprofit organizations must capitalize on these new philanthropic resources.

For many nonprofits, recent tragedies in the form of natural disasters and terrorist attacks have

resulted in greater visibility and policy salience. How a nonprofit organization responds to such

issues can have significant impacts on its future reputation and support. Many social welfare

programs have capitalized on opportunity areas and have received larger government

investments in recent years.

The opportunities facing the nonprofit sector present a promising future for those

organizations that are able to adapt appropriately. The nonprofit response has generally been "a

story of resilience," but it requires a balance "between the steps nonprofits must take to survive

and those they must take to remain distinctive" (Salamon, 2002a, p. 5).

Leadership

One significant deficiency on the horizon for the nonprofit sector is leadership. In a

nationwide study, Tierney (2006) found that nonprofit organizations will need 640,000 new

senior-level managers in the next decade. This number is 2.4 times the number currently










employed. By the year 2016, America' s nonprofit organizations are expected to need about

80,000 new senior managers per year. According to Tierney, "the leadership deficit looms as the

greatest challenge facing nonprofits over the next ten years" (p. 4).

Although leadership in the form of paid staff is critical for most nonprofit organizations,

leadership from volunteer board members is also a topic worthy of consideration. The nonprofit

literature consistently identifies positive relationship between organizational effectiveness and

overall board performance (Carver, 1997; Drucker, 1990; Herman & Renz, 2002; Herman, Renz,

& Heimovics, 1996). Furthermore, research suggests that nonprofit organizations can take

intentional steps to improve board performance (Brudney & Murray, 1998; J. C. Green &

Griesinger, 1996; Herman & Renz, 1998, 2004; Holland, Chait, & Taylor, 1989; Holland &

Jackson, 1998). "The generally accepted view is that boards that follow the right practices or use

more of the practices will be more effective than boards that do not, and that more effective

boards will result in more effective organizations" (Herman & Renz, 1999, p. 113). This is not

to say that there is one best way to create effective boards, but it does suggest that "there are

likely to be improvements in both board and organizational effectiveness from efforts to improve

how boards do their work" (Herman & Renz, 1997, p. 14)

Holland and Jackson (1998) have identified six dimensions of board competency that they

suggest capture the foundational elements of nonprofit governance:

Contextual: the board understands and takes into account the culture, values, mission, and
norms of the organization it governs.
Educational: the board takes the necessary steps to ensure that members are well informed
about the organization, the professions working there, and the board's own roles,
responsibilities, and performance.
Interpersonal: the board nurtures the development of its members as a group, attends to the
board's collective welfare, and fosters a sense of cohesiveness and teamwork.
Analytical: the board recognizes complexities and subtleties in the issues it faces, and it
draws upon multiple perspectives to dissect complex problems and to synthesize
appropriate responses.









Political: the board accepts that one of its primary responsibilities is to develop and
maintain healthy two-way communications and positive relationships with key
constituencies.
Strategic: the board helps envision and shape institutional direction and helps ensure a
strategic approach to the organization's future. (p. 122-123)

These dimensions of board competence are a helpful starting point for understanding

nonprofit board performance in general, but they should be considered in context. Most of the

research on nonprofit board development and organizational effectiveness highlights charitable

organizations with paid staff members, leaving out membership organizations and volunteer

managed organizations. Smith and Shen (1996) conducted a study of thirty-nine volunteer-

managed organizations and found that "many hypotheses suggested by others for nonprofit

organizations with paid staff do not seem to transfer to volunteer nonprofit groups" (p. 271).

Smith and Shen did find that volunteer nonprofit organizational governance significantly effects

reputational effectiveness. However, they urge additional research with volunteer nonprofit

organizations, and they encourage the investigation of other measures of effectiveness.

More empirical evidence is needed to determine if the overriding hypotheses on nonprofit

organizational effectiveness are applicable in nonprofit membership organizations.

Unfortunately, "the more general tendency of nonprofit scholars is to ignore membership

organizations, especially grass-roots associations" (Smith & Shen, 1996, p. 285). The Florida

Farm Bureau Federation (FFBF) is such an organization and provides the context for this

research study.

Florida Farm Bureau Federation

The Florida Farm Bureau Federation (FFBF) is a nonprofit organization that is closely

associated with grassroots, agricultural, and rural leadership development. A program conducted

by FFBF for its local leaders is the focus of this study.









History

In the 1800s, the earliest organizations of farmers began to develop, organizing under a

variety of names and philosophies, including The Grange, The Farmer'sFFF~~~~FFF~~~FFF Alliance, The

Agricultural Wheel, The Ancient Order ofGleaners, and the Equity. The Hatch Act of 1862

established the land grant university system and agricultural experiment stations. The

Cooperative Extension Service soon provided agricultural agents in each county (American Farm

Bureau Federation, 2005).

Continued challenges in the agricultural sector encouraged the formation of county farm

bureaus in the early 1900s. The first representation was in 1911 when John Barron was hired as

a "farm bureau" representative within New York' s Broome County Cooperative Extension

Service. Missouri formed the first statewide Farm Bureau organization in 1915, and the

American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) was organized in 1919 (AFBF, 2005).

In 1941, Florida Citrus Growers (FCG) contacted AFBF in Chicago and AFBF sent a

representative to the next FCG directors meeting. A general farmers meeting was called in

Orlando, attended by "Cap'n Ed" O'Neal, president of AFBF, and it was decided that FCG would

be laid to rest and resurrected as the heart of a new Farm Bureau organization affiliated with

AFBF. The first FFBF convention was held on November 15, 1941. About 100 farmers

attended and elected George L. Fullerton as FFBF's first president. The charter outlined the

goals of the Federation: (1) give Florida farmers a special identity; (2) study and promote better

cultural and research practices, product quality improvement, improved marketing methods and

market stabilization; (3) represent farmers in the Legislature, (4) compile and disseminate

agricultural and market data to farmers; and (5) organize county Farm Bureau units. On March

13, 1942 the first county Farm Bureau was formed in Dade County. By the time Florida Farm

Bureau celebrated its first birthday, membership had reached 1,180 and 17 county Farm Bureaus









had been established. By the end of the 1950s, membership in FFBF had more than tripled.

More than half of FFBF counties had their own offices, many staffed with full-time secretaries

(FFBF, 2007a).

Mission, Vision, and Goals

The FFBF mission is "to increase the net income of farmers and ranchers, and to improve

the quality of rural life" (personal communication, Rod Hemphill, November 9, 2005). The

FFBF board of directors have adopted the following vision: "Florida Farm Bureau will be the

most effective, influential and respected Farm Bureau in the nation and will be recognized as

Florida's 'Voice of Agriculture'" (FFBF, 2006a). The mission of the American Farm Bureau

Federation is "to implement policies that are developed by members and provide programs that

will improve the financial well-being and quality of life for farmers and ranchers" (American

Farm Bureau Federation, 2006).

The FFBF Goals, as outlined by the elected leadership, include:

1. Continue to increase membership and maintain a strong financial base;

2. Continue to build stronger relationships with the county Farm Bureaus;

3. Have a strong PR program to promote Farm Bureau and the value of agriculture to the
citizens of Florida;

4. Have our members, policy makers, agricultural organizations and governmental agencies
view Farm Bureau as a dependable source of factual, reliable and timely information on
agricultural issues;

5. Continue to encourage Farm Bureau members to become involved in the political process
and seek public office;

6. Strengthen our committee system Women, Young Farmer & Rancher, Advisory
Committees, Ag in the Classroom, etc. and increase opportunities to involve more
people in Farm Bureau;

7. Work closely with the other agricultural groups, IFAS and the regulatory agencies;

8. Keep up our lobbying efforts in Tallahassee and increase our efforts in Washington;










9. Provide educational programs for members, county leaders, staff & agents; and

10. Seek ways to provide added services and benefits to our members. (Loop, 2004)

Local Farm Bureau Units

According to the FFBF (2006b) County President' s Desk Book, "the county Farm Bureau

is the most important unit of Farm Bureau" (p. 68). These local groups are organized to:

1. Solve the problems of the farm, the farm home, and the rural community through the
advantages of organized action. Why? So that those engaged in agriculture may have the
opportunity for economic prosperity in their chosen work.

2. Cultivate free enterprise and citizenship by instilling in Americans those ideals and
principles which are the foundations of our agricultural heritage.

3. Help the Florida Farm Bureau Federation, the Florida Department of Agriculture and
Consumer Services, and the Agricultural Extension Service develop better methods and
practices in farming and farm management, thus improving the conditions of rural life.

4. Unite the farmers of the county into an organization for the promotion and protection of
their common interests without regard to political or religious affiliation.

5. Foster and encourage the development of commodity marketing, and the purchase of
farm supplies on a cooperative non-profit basis.

6. Cooperate in the achievement of common aims and purposes with other county Farm
Bureaus, the Florida Farm Bureau Federation, and the American Farm Bureau
Federation. (FFBF, 2006b, p. 68)

These local tasks are intended to be carried out through two formal structures: the Farm

Bureau committee system and the Board of Directors (FFBF, 2006b). Although county Farm

Bureaus may involve these structures separately, the local committee system is often embedded

within the Board of Directors. As a result, efforts for change need to be channeled through the

directors on the local board.

Local Boards of Directors

"The success of a county Farm Bureau depends largely upon the interest shown by its

Board of Directors" (FFBF, 2006b, p. 51). In this capacity, FFBF has over 700 local board

members, grouped into 61 local boards (FFBF, 2006c). These board members are elected by the









local membership and assigned the task of providing leadership for local Farm Bureau initiatives

and issues. Although the local boards vary considerably in size and structure, some

generalizations about board members can be drawn from Carter's 2004 study of FFBF. "On

average, Farm Bureau board members spend 8.4 hours per month on Farm Bureau activities,

which includes participating in meetings, activities, events and conventions and reading

information in support of these activities" (Carter, p. 86). FFBF local board members attend an

average of one Farm Bureau event per month. In 2004, the average tenure of FFBF local board

members was 1 1.5 years, with 14% having served more than 20 years. One-third of the board

members had served as president of the local FFBF board. They were also active in other

organizations, with 71% actively involved in other agricultural organizations and 64% actively

involved in other civic organizations. More than half of the FFBF board members were serving

on boards of other organizations. The average length of Farm Bureau membership for local

FFBF board members was more than 20 years. Nearly three-fourths of these board members

were raised by parents who were also Farm Bureau members. The maj ority were male (88%),

married (86%), over 45 years old (54%), and had children (94%).

Board member selection and rotation varies from one local board to another. Some local

boards have specific guidelines and restrictions while other board members

Field Staff

FFBF field staff members are the paid employees of the state federation who serve as

liaisons between the county Farm Bureau unit and the state organization (Carter, 2004; FFBF,

2006a). FFBF divides Florida into eight geographic districts, and one field staff member is

assigned to each district. FFBF field staff members serve in the official capacity of "Assistant

Director of Field Services." Accordingly, field staff members are "responsible for working

closely with the County Farm Bureau unit to accomplish goals and obj ectives of the Florida









Farm Bureau Federation" (FFBF, 2005a, p. 1). They generally meet on a monthly basis with

each of the local FFBF boards within their district. Field staff members provide support in the

implementation of Farm Bureau programs and activities.

Prior to the Strengthening the Voice" program the FFBF field staff members' role in

leadership development lacked any formal structure. However, a traditional responsibility of the

field staff has always been to surface grassroots leaders for the organization. The actual methods

of recruiting and training these leaders varied from one field staff member to another (personal

communication, Ray Crawford, February 2, 2007).

Delivery of the Farm Bureau Found'ations program was shared by field staff and other

FFBF staff. The preparation for this delivery included a three-day train-the-trainer session. In

addition to this preparation, FFBF field staff members are in the best position to provide

obj ective observation of changes in local board behavior, including implementation of the Farm

Bureau Found'ations Best Practices. The primary advantage of the field staff members is their

regular interaction with local FFBF boards and members.

Summary

Chapter 2 provided the theoretical and conceptual framework for the study. Goal setting

theory was highlighted, and it was connected with the belief that conscious goals affect action.

Goal specificity and difficulty are important goal components that affect outcomes. According

to goal setting theory, goals affect performance through four mechanisms: (1) choice/direction,

(2) effort, (3) persistence, and (4) strategies. In addition, goal performance is explained by three

moderators: (1) goal commitment, (2) feedback, and (3) task complexity. Findings on the effect

of demographic variables on goal outcomes have not been consistent. However, some findings

suggest the need to control for education level, ethnicity, job tenure, age, and gender.









Adult education literature was discussed, including research on adult motivation to learn.

W10dkowski (1999) suggests that adult motivation to learn is the sum of four factors: success,

volition, value, and enjoyment. Appropriate program planning models for adult education

include: the Andragogy in Practice Model (Knowles et al., 2005) and the Conceptual

Programming Model (Boone et al., 2002). Kirkpatrick' s (1998) Four Levels is helpful for

evaluation, but opportunities to calculate return on investment should also be considered.

Research Eindings related to rural leadership development were discussed. Published

research specific to rural leadership development is limited. However, an evaluation of the

Wisconsin Rural Leaders program suggests that "rural leaders learn best by a process of action

and reflection" (Dhanakumar et al., 1996, p. 6). A model for rural leadership development

programming advocated for activities that stimulate critical thinking. Research on agricultural

leadership development programs hold relevance for rural leadership development, but few

published studies exists. Studies from the Kellogg Foundation and the Center for Participatory

Change provide guidance for grassroots leadership development programs, and these Eindings

have application in the area of rural leadership development.

Many leadership development programs are conducted through nonprofit organizations.

The nonprofit sector is thriving, and the opportunities facing nonprofit organizations present a

promising future for those that are able to adapt appropriately. A Florida nonprofit organization

that is closely associated with grassroots, agricultural, and rural leadership development is the

Florida Farm Bureau Federation (FFBF). FFBF is the focus organization of this research study.

Delivery of the Farm Bureau Foundations training program was shared by FFBF field staff and

other FFBF staff. Recipients of the training were FFBF local board members. Job duties and

demographics of these groups were discussed.



































Figure 2-1. Theory of planned behavior. Note. From "TpB Model," by I. Ajzen, 2006, Online
at http ://people.umass.edu/aizen/tpb .html. Copyright 2006 by Icek Aizen. Reprinted
with permission.


_












Goals and Purposes for Learning


Z ~individual and Situational Differences
Ir ~Andragogy:
i ~Core Adult Learning Principles \



1. Learners Need to Know
why
what
how
2. Self-Concept of the Learner
autonomous
8 self-directing
3.Prior Experience of the Learner a)
resource
mental models
4. Readiness to Learn T
9 life related ~
developmental task
R 7 5. Orientation to Learning
problem centered
contextual
6. Motivation to Learn
intrinsic value
personal payoff







Individual Learner Differences

Individual Growth

Figure 2-2. Andragogy in Practice Model. Note. From "The Adult Learner," by M. S. Knowles,
E. F. Holton, and R. A. Swanson, 2005, p. 149. Copyright 2005 by Elsevier.
Reprinted with permission.









CHAPTER 3
METHOD S

Research Design

Although the study involved collection of qualitative support data, the overall design of the

study was primarily quantitative. Quantitative research starts with a more specific problem than

qualitative research; it is generally considered deductive in nature, used to test a preexisting

theory. Quantitative research is characterized by its use of obj ective measurement and statistical

analysis of numeric data (Ary et al., 2002).

Quantitative research involves the use of standardized instruments. Although preexisting

instruments can be quite useful, especially in providing comparison data, often social science

researchers develop quantitative instruments that are designed to measure more specifically the

variables involved in a particular situation. At the time of this study, no standardized

instruments had been developed for testing goal-setting theory in a universal setting (personal

communication, Edwin Locke, May 4, 2006). The researcher and proj ect administrators

developed three different questionnaires to collect data for this study.

Ary et al. (2002) describe a survey as a research technique in which data are gathered by

asking questions of a group of individuals. Survey research asks questions about the nature,

incidence, or distribution of variables and/or the relationships among those variables. No

manipulation is attempted on the variables, only descriptions of variables and their relationships

as they naturally occur.

Descriptive research was used to accomplish research obj ectives one through three:

1. Describe select demographics of local Florida Farm Bureau board members and program
participants;

2. Measure the engagement level of local Florida Farm Bureau board members in FarmFFFFF~~~~~~~FFFFFF Bureau
Foundations Best Practices; and









3. Measure the goal attributes experienced by program participants with their Farm Bureau
Foundations Best Practices goal.

According to Ary and others (2002), descriptive research is used to "summarize, organize, and

describe observations" (p. 118). The descriptive statistics relevant to objectives one through

three will be summarized by arranging the measures into frequency distributions and presenting

them in graphic form.

A correlational and causal-comparative or ex post facto design was employed to

accomplish obj ectives four and five:

4. Explain individual-level performance with best practices identified in the FarmFFFFF~~~~~~~FFFFFF Bureau
Foundations program; and

5. Explain board-level performance with best practices identified in the Farm Bureau
Foundations program.

In an ex post facto design, the researcher does not have direct control over the independent

variable(s) and any variations in the independent variable(s) have already been determined prior

to the research being conducted (Ary et al., 2002).

With respect to obj ectives four and five, the dependent variable was Farm Bureau

Foundations Best Practices performance. Performance at the individual level was self-reported,

whereas performance at the board-level was evaluated as the mean of ratings among local board

members. In addition, board performance was rated by a FFBF staff member familiar with the

local board. A more detailed description about how performance was measured and indexed is

provided later in this chapter.

Independent variables analyzed for obj ectives four and five were demographic and

program-related variables. The demographic variables included: county of residence, age,

gender, ethnicity, education level, and Farm Bureau tenure. Program-related variables included:










program participation, perceptions of the goal-setting process, and perceptions of engagement in

board practices.

This study was conducted over the course of one year. Figure 3-1 outlines a complete

timeline for the procedures involved in this study.

Populations

This study was a census of two separate groups: FFBF local board members and FFBF

field staff. Although the local board members were a complete population in and of themselves,

they were further divided into sub-groups based on participation in the Farm Bureau

Foundations program. During this study, different survey instruments were administered to each

population and/or sub-group. Data from this study were analyzed at two different levels of unit

analysis: individual and local board of directors. The following sections describe the selection of

individuals for participation in the study. The response rates are described in the data collection

procedures section of this chapter.

Participant Selection: FFBF Local Board Members

FFBF has over 700 local board members serving 61 county-level membership groups

(FFBF, 2006c). These local board members were the target population for the Suengthenll~lingl the

Voice program. This research study includes all FFBF local board members because program

participants and non-participants alike can provide valuable information on best practices

adoption. In order to compare effects of program participation, the population of FFBF local

board members was divided into three sub-groups. The first sub-group, labeled the "treatment

group," included local FFBF board members who participated in the Farm Bureau Found'ations

program. The second sub-group, labeled the "control group," included board members in

counties where no one participated in the FarmFFFFF~~~~~~~FFFFFF Bureau Found'ations program. The third sub-

group, labeled the "spillover treatment group," included board members who did not participate









in the Farm Bureau Found'ations program but were members of a local FFBF board in which

another director participated in the program. (Note: Local boards are generally identified by

county, with the exception that Palm Beach County has two local boards Palm Beach and West

Palm Beach.)

For the treatment group, a list of FarmFFFF~~~~~~~FFFFFF Bureau Found'ations program participants was

obtained from the FFBF Field Services office. The participant list included contact information

and was used as the population frame. Some of the individuals on the list could not be matched

to FFBF's current list of local board members. However, the researcher made the decision to

include everyone on the participant list rather than exclude individuals who fit the true

population yet were missing from the FFBF list of current local board members. The initial list

of participants identified 121 program participants. However, additional investigation and

communication with program presenters suggested that program participation totaled 156. Of

those 156, though, not all were local FFBF board members. FFBF staff members were able to

provide contact information for 138 program participants. An invitation to participate in the

study was mailed to those individuals on the updated program participation list (n=138).

Initially, the control group and the spillover treatment group were combined based on their

common attribute their absence from participation in the FarmFFFFF~~~~~~~FFFFFF Bureau Found'ations workshop.

A database of local board members was obtained from FFBF and identified workshop

participants were removed from the list. The remaining 611 local board members represented

the most comprehensive list available to serve as the population frame for local FFBF board

members who did not participate in the FarmFFFFF~~~~~~~FFFFFF Bureau Found'ations workshop. This aggregate of

the control group and the spillover treatment group is referred to as the non-attendee group

(n= 61 1).









Although the initial division of the population by workshop attendance was considered

accurate, based on Farm Bureau' s records, survey evidence collected during the course of this

study revealed some discrepancies. From the non-attendee group, 10 survey respondents

revealed that they had in fact participated in the workshop. In addition, one survey respondent

from the treatment group indicated absence from the workshop. Other information collected

through letters and phone calls revealed that some individuals were duplicated or were not in the

target population. Specifically, one duplicate was removed from the treatment group and three

duplicates were removed from the non-attendee group. In addition, three individuals from the

non-attendee group were identified as deceased. From the treatment group, one individual was

dropped after contacts questioned the accuracy of the name on record, and another was dropped

after no credible contact information was obtained. Responses from 22 individuals revealed that

they either were no longer members of the local FFBF board or served in an ex-officio capacity

and therefore did not meet the criteria for study participation. Among those non-board-members,

six were from the treatment group and sixteen were from the non-attendee group.

After the larger population of FFBF local board members was divided by workshop

attendance, the distinction between the control group and the spillover treatment group was made

using the board member database provided by FFBF. Once the database was sorted by county,

board members in counties that had a participant in the Farm Bureau Found'ations program were

removed from the list. The remaining individuals in FFBF's list of board members represented

the most comprehensive list available to serve as the population frame for the control group. For

the spillover treatment group, board members in counties that had participants in the program

were identified, and then actual participants were removed from that list. The resulting










population frame was the most comprehensive list available to represent the population of the

spillover treatment group. A final summary of the sub-groups is presented in Table 3-1.

Participant Selection: FFBF Field Staff

Because of their regular interaction with local FFBF boards, the FFBF assistant directors

of field services (a.k.a. field staff) are in the best position to observe changes in local board

behavior, including implementation of the FarmFFFFF~~~~~~~FFFFFF Bureau Found'ations Best Practices (personal

communication, Ray Crawford, February 12, 2007). FFBF divides Florida into eight geographic

districts, and one field staff member is assigned to each district. On average, field staff members

work with eight different counties. The researcher sought a census of FFBF field staff members

in order to obtain a perspective of local FFBF board behavior relative to other local FFBF

boards. The FFBF Field Services office supplied contact information for the FFBF field staff

members, and all were invited to participate in the study.

Instrumentation

The study used three different self-administered mail questionnaires to collect information

relevant to the study objectives. The researcher and project advisory committee worked

collaboratively to design all three instruments. The "Local Board Practices Survey" (Appendix

D) assesses local FFBF boards of directors' current and recent application of FarmFFFF~~~~~~~FFFFFF Bureau

Foundations Best Practices. The "Best Practices Goal Survey" (Appendix E) assesses the FarmFFFFF~~~~~~~FFFFFF

Bureau Found'ations Best Practices adoption and goal achievement by Farm Bureau

Foundations program participants. The "Field Staff Perceptions Survey" (Appendix F) collects

information from FFBF field staff regarding their observations of Farm Bureau Found'ations

Best Practices being implemented by local FFBF boards of directors.

The reliability and validity of the instruments are important aspects to consider in all

research studies utilizing survey instruments. Validity is a concept that refers to whether or not









an instrument measures what it is intended to measure (Ary et al., 2002). In an effort to improve

validity of the researcher developed instruments, a panel of experts reviewed each instrument.

This panel included individuals with research expertise at the University of Florida and

individuals with organizational expertise in FFBF. The researcher applied feedback from the

panel of experts and made appropriate revisions to the survey instruments.

The researcher pilot tested the survey instruments using cognitive interviews. Cognitive

interviewing is not without its limitations. However, there is general agreement in the social

sciences that cognitive interviewing is a valuable tool for testing and evaluating survey questions

(Presser et al., 2004). For this study, five FFBF state board members served as the subjects in

the cognitive interviewing process. The protocol applied in the cognitive interviews can be

found in Appendix G. The researcher used feedback from the cognitive interviews to further

strengthen the validity and reliability of the instruments. The most significant concern that

surfaced during the cognitive interviews related to survey length. As a result, the researcher

eliminated a few questions that were deemed unnecessary. In addition, a change was made in the

numbering of the questions. Rather than using consecutive numbers throughout, questions were

identified by sections and numbering was restarted at the beginning of each section. Although

the change in numbering did not actually reduce the practical length of the survey, it may have

provided a reduction in the perceived length. Additional research is needed to validate the use of

this practice.

As an additional effort to strengthen and provide support for the validity of the survey

instruments, the researcher asked his PhD committee to review the Einal instruments before

mailing them to the study population. During this step, no additional changes to the instruments

were suggested.










Local Board Practices Survey

The "Local Board Practices Survey" (Appendix D) is a researcher-developed instrument

designed for use as a mailed questionnaire to local-level FFBF board members. The instrument

evaluates local FFBF boards of directors' current and recent application of FarmFFFF~~~~~~~FFFFFF Bureau

Foundations Best Practices. The "Local Board Practices Survey" has four sections:


A) "Board practices during the past six months...,"
B) "Comparison with other six-month periods...,"
C) "Limits to engagement in board member during the past six months...," and
D) "Please tell us about yourself..."

Section A includes both individual and board-level assessment of 17 local Farm Bureau board

practices. These practices were taken directly from the Farm Bureau Found'ations curriculum.

Section B includes two questions that ask participants to identify to what degree their individual

engagement-level and the local board's individual engagement-level has been more or less than

usual. Section C includes four questions related to confounding factors that may have limited

individual engagement in board practices. Specifically, the questions ask respondents to identify

limits to engagement due to personal and professional factors. Section D includes nine

demographic-related questions, including county of residence, age, gender, ethnicity, education-

level, length of membership in FFBF, FFBF board tenure, recent meeting attendance, and Farm

Bureau Found'ations workshop attendance. The question about workshop attendance is included

to check for discrepancies in population sub-grouping. In addition to the specific questions,

space is provided in the questionnaire for study participants to add additional comments and

qualitative information.

Best Practices Goal Survey

The "Best Practices Goal Survey" (Appendix E) is a researcher-developed instrument

designed for use as a mailed questionnaire to Farm Bureau Found'ations program participants










(the treatment group). The instrument is intended to be used to evaluate the relationship between

goal-setting theory components and application of the Farm Bureau Found'ations Best Practices.

The "Best Practices Goal Survey" includes the same sections as the "Local Board Practices

Survey," and it adds an additional section: "Best practices goal setting process..." This

additional section includes 24 questions related to constructs associated with goal setting theory

and the high performance cycle. Constructs represented include: goal specifieity, goal difficulty,

goal commitment, goal-related self-efficacy, and performance. This section is appropriate for

Farm Bureau Found'ations program participants because they set individual goals for best

practice adoption and should be able to reflect on that process. This instrument is not

appropriate for those who did not participate in the program since they are not likely to have a

goal on which to base their answers. In addition, the demographic section of the survey

instrument asks participants to indicate the current availability and use of materials distributed at

the FarmFFFFF~~~~~~~FFFFFF Bureau Found'ations workshop.

Field Staff Perceptions Survey

The "Field Staff Perceptions Survey" (Appendix F) is a researcher-developed instrument

designed for use as a mailed questionnaire to FFBF Hield staff. The instrument is intended to be

used as an external assessment of local FFBF boards of directors' current and recent application

of Farm Bureau Found'ations Best Practices. In addition, the instrument collects data on the

Hield staff member' s tenure with Farm Bureau and their overall perceptions of local board

members' general application of Farm Bureau knowledge. The researcher designed the "Field

Staff Perceptions Survey" for assessment of local boards where directors completed the FarmFFFFF~~~~~~~FFFFFF

Bureau Found'ations program and also of local boards where no directors participated in the

FarmFFFFF~~~~~~~FFFFFF Bureau Found'ations program. The external assessment of participants and non-

participants allows for additional comparison data for evaluating the impact of the Farm Bureau









Foundations program. The "Field Staff Perceptions Survey" includes 17 questions related to

local board application of FarmFFFFF~~~~~~~FFFFFF Bureau Foundations Best Practices. These questions are

repeated for each local board the Hield staff member oversees. Space is provided for study

participants to provide additional comments and qualitative information.

Data Collection Procedures

Institutional Review Board Approval

Prior to data collection, the Institutional Review Board (IRB-02) at the University of

Florida reviewed the study procedures and evaluated the ethical soundness of the study. Copies

of the informed consent letters for study participants and a proposal to conduct the study were

submitted to the IRB-02. The informed consent letters described the study and the voluntary

nature of participation (Appendix I). The IRB-02 approved the research protocol and assigned

an IRB protocol number: 2006-U-824. Once approval was granted, data were collected and

analyzed by the researcher.

Collection Procedures with FFBF Local Board Members

The contact procedures for this study employed strategies for achieving high response

rates. Czaj a and Blair (2005) have identified a number of researcher practice aspects that

improve unit non-response: prior notification about the survey, efforts to reach the respondent,

initial contact and respondent selection intermediary (gatekeeper), requesting participation,

follow-up efforts, and refusal conversation (p. 199). These practices are reflected in Dillman's

(2000) Tailored Design M~ethod. Specific elements of the method include: "(1) a respondent-

friendly questionnaire, (2) up to five contacts with questionnaire recipient, (3) inclusion of

stamped return envelopes, (4) personalized correspondence, and (5) a token financial incentive

that is sent with the survey request" (p. 150). Dillman recommends financial incentives of one to

five dollars be included with requests to respond to a mailed questionnaire. In the case of Farm










Bureau, such an incentive could be perceived by study participants as a waste of their Farm

Bureau membership dollars. As an alternative, FFBF planned to include a lapel pin in the

mailings. Unfortunately, the design and production of the pins took longer than FFBF

anticipated, so the pins were not available for inclusion in the survey mailings. Consequently,

Dillman's fifth element recommended for improving response rates was not implemented.

The researcher collected data during October and November of 2006. In an effort to

improve credibility of the study, FFBF coordinated all mailings to participants, using FFBF

stationary and envelopes. On October 6, 2006, FFBF mailed a brief a pre-notice letter to study

participants. The letter was sent from the FFBF president and indicated to recipients that they

would soon be receiving survey materials. As suggested by Dillman (2000), the letter was

"brief, personalized, positively worded, and aimed at building anticipation rather than providing

the details or conditions for participation in the survey" (p. 156). The template for the pre-notice

is in Appendix H.

Three days after the pre-notice letter was mailed, the questionnaire packets were mailed to

participants. The cover letter template for the survey mail-out was the informed consent letter

approved by IRB-02. The cover letter included critical elements identified by Dillman (2000) to

motivate response behavior:

* Date,
* Inside name and address,
* Salutations,
* What is this letter about?,
* Why this request is useful and important,
* Answers are confidential,
* Voluntary participation,
* Enclosure of stamped return envelope, and
* Who to contact with questions.










Due to the volume of mailings, real signatures were not applied. However, Dillman (2000)

offers that personalization, including use of individual names and letterhead, "may compensate

to some extent for being unable to apply real signatures" (p. 165). The template applied for the

questionnaire cover letters is displayed in Appendix I.

Seven days after the questionnaire mail out, post cards (Appendix J) were mailed to

participants, thanking them for their participation and reminding them to return their completed

questionnaires. Such a postcard is recommended by Dillman's (2000) TailoredDesign Method.

Research by Dillman, Clark, and Sinclair (1995) suggests that use of reminder postcard increases

total response rates by eight percentage points.

At the time of the initial survey mailing, each study participant was assigned an individual

identification number and all instruments were coded with these individual identification

numbers. As the researcher received the completed instruments, the identification numbers were

used to eliminate respondents from future requests for participation.

Two weeks after the reminder postcards were mailed, replacement questionnaires were

mailed to study participants from whom a completed questionnaire had not yet been received.

As encouraged by Dillman' s (2000) TailoredDesign method, the cover letter for this fourth

contact expressed increased urgency and brought a tone of insistence beyond that of the previous

contacts. In addition to components included in the cover letter of the initial questionnaire mail

out, the cover letter for the replacement questionnaire included feedback indicating others have

responded, yet we haven 't heard fiom you. These feedback additions are consistent with

Dillman' s TailoredDesign method. The template applied for the replacement questionnaire

cover letters is displayed in Appendix K.









Dillman (2000) recommends that researchers follow up with survey non-respondents for a

fifth contact, invoking special procedures. The insistent nature and effectiveness of this request

"stems from the simple fact that it is a fifth request, and it is being made by special mail or by

telephone" (Dillman, p. 184). Certified mail, special delivery, and telephone follow-up phone

calls are all effective ways to handle this "invoking of special procedures." Research by Moore

and Dillman (1980, cited in Dillman, 2000, p. 186) suggests that any one of these methods has

return advantages over sending another first-class mailing. However, these special procedures

also come with an increased cost, and that cost noticeably increases for every non-respondent

included in this fifth contact.

For this study, the fifth contact was a telephone follow-up with randomly selected non-

respondents. Rather than urge these non-respondents to find and complete the mailed survey, the

researcher asked them to answer a subset of questions over the phone. The primary use for this

telephone collected data was to investigate the potential for unit non-response bias with the

mailed questionnaires. Miller and Smith (1983) refer to this technique as a "double-dip" of non-

respondents (p. 48). The script applied in the telephone follow-ups for this study is found in

Appendix L.

For the phone follow-ups, the researcher used SPSS@ 12.0 for WindowsTM to randomly

select FFBF Local Board Members who had not responded within four weeks after the

replacement questionnaires were mailed. Non-respondents who had participated in the Farm

Bureau Found'ations program component were over-sampled so that half of the telephone

contacts would be with program participants and half would be with program non-participants.

This over-sampling of program participants was done because the program participants were the

group of primary interest in this study. In order to obtain phone numbers for the selected non-










respondents, the researcher referenced the FFBF membership database and used the "reverse

address phone number look-up" tool on WhitePages.com. Initially, 60 non-respondents were

randomly selected for phone follow-ups. However, a high rate of failed call attempts prompted

the researcher to randomly select an additional 30 non-respondents. After two weeks of phone

call attempts, with multiple attempts for each individual, the researcher had telephone-collected

data from 32 FFBF Board Members, 15 workshop attendees and 17 non-attendees.

In addition to the value of questionnaire responses, the phone calls in this fifth contact

helped to highlight reasons for non-response to the mailed questionnaires. In some cases, an

individual shared over the telephone that they do not respond to any surveys. (Surprisingly, one

person who indicated that she never participates in surveys was willing to answer questions over

the phone.) In other cases, telephone calls revealed that the person identified for participation in

the study is outside of the target population because he/she is no longer a member of the local

FFBF board. Some telephone respondents shared that they thought they had already returned the

questionnaire. After further investigation, the researcher determined that some respondents had

returned a questionnaire for a different survey being conducted by FFBF. Unfortunately, this

other FFBF survey overlapped the survey discussed in this dissertation. It may be that a

significant portion of non-respondents confused the two surveys, which in turn impacted the

response rate for this study.

Re-group and additional mailing

As data were collected, responses suggested that 41 study participants had participated in

the FarmFFFFF~~~~~~~FFFFFF Bureau Foundations program component, even though their names were not on

FFBF's list of participants. As a result of pre-mailing grouping, these program participants were

completing the shorter questionnaire, the "Local Board Practices Survey," rather than the "Best

Practices Goal Survey" that included additional questions for program participants. In order to









obtain these additional data, the researcher conducted a follow-up mailing with these survey

respondents. The cover letter asked participants to complete the incomplete questions of the

enclosed "Best Practices Goal Survey," which was pre-filled with their originally submitted

answers to the "Local Board Practices" survey. This follow-up with 41 potentially mis-grouped

study participants yielded responses from 16 individuals. Ten of those individuals provided at

least a portion of the additionally requested data. The other six responding individuals indicated

that they had made an error on their previous questionnaire and were not in fact in attendance at

a FarmFFFFF~~~~~~~FFFFFF Bureau Foundations workshop. This evidence, in combination with FFBF's

participation records, suggested that regrouping was appropriate for only those who provided

questionnaire data in response to the additional mailing of the "Best Practices Goal Survey."

Individuals who reported program participation on the "Local Board Practices Survey" but did

not return the "Best Practices Goal Survey" were kept in their original group of non-attendees.

Unit response rate

In the end, the data collection procedures in this study yielded 85 responses from the

treatment group (n=138). This corresponds to a unit response rate of 61.6% for the treatment

group. The researcher obtained 82 responses from the control group (n=138), for a response rate

of 59.4%. The researcher obtained 244 responses from the spillover treatment group (n=442),

for a response rate of 55.2%. For the larger population of all FFBF local board members

(N=718), survey responses were obtained from 411 individuals for an overall response rate of

57.2%. When considering the local board as a level of unit analysis, responses were received

from at least one board member in 60 of the 61 local boards. This corresponds to a local board

response rate of 98.4%. The percent of counties reaching increasing levels of individual

response is displayed in Figure 3-2.









Additional data from FFBF

The mailed questionnaires asked respondents to identify their county and the number of

years they had been a Farm Bureau member. When respondents did not answer these questions,

the researcher worked with FFBF staff to obtain this information from FFBF membership

records. In order to save time, these questions were not asked in the telephone calls to non-

respondents. Instead, the researcher relied directly upon the FFBF membership records to obtain

data on respondents' county and years of Farm Bureau membership.

Although the membership records were a reliable source of information, some concerns

exist regarding the validity of the years of membership data. For less tenured members, the

FFBF database identified a specific date joined. However, for members who originally joined

before the current computer system was in place, no date joined was available. Instead, FFBF

staff estimated the years of membership based on years of paid dues, as recorded in FFBF

records. This would be a valid estimate of years of Farm Bureau membership for many study

participants. However, FFBF staff shared that if a member was late in paying their annual dues,

the number of years paid would start back at zero, causing an invalid estimate of years of

membership. This error was noticeable for respondents who reported their number of years on

the local FFBF board to be greater than FFBF's record of consecutive years of dues paid. In

these observations, the researcher increased the years of membership to the equivalent number of

years served on the local FFBF board. While this recoding was likely an under-estimation of

actual length of membership, it was the best estimation available to the researcher.

FFBF records were also used to provide information about the size of each local board.

Board size was determined manually by counting the number of board members identified with

each local board. This information was then available as an independent variable in the data

analy si s.









FFBF Field Staff

On November 3, 2006, the researcher E-mailed the FFBF assistant directors of field

services to request a brief phone interview. The template used for the E-mails may be found in

Appendix M. Attached to the E-mail was a copy of the appropriate IRB informed consent form

(Appendix N). As field staff members responded to the E-mail, the researcher scheduled and

conducted brief telephone interviews. The intent of these interviews was twofold: (1) to collect

rich qualitative data regarding field members' perceptions of the program and its impacts, and

(2) prompt field staff members to begin thinking about program related board practices, so that

they would be prepared to supply valid responses to the "Field Staff Perceptions Survey." Each

interview included two broad questions:

1. In what ways has board behavior changed or been reinforced as a result of participation in the
Socligthenl~lila the Voice program?

2. In what ways do you believe the Sor cigthenl~lila the Voice could be improved?

At the conclusion of each interview, the researcher followed up with an E-mail that

included the "Field Staff Perceptions Survey" as an attachment. The E-mail asked the field staff

member to complete each section of the questionnaire and return it to the researcher by the end

of the month. One field staff member promptly completed the questionnaire and returned it by

mail. During a FFBF field staff meeting at the end of the month, other field members said that

they never received the questionnaire. Hard copies of the questionnaire were immediately made,

and these field staff members completed the questionnaires at that time.

In November 2006, when data were being collected from FFBF field staff members, one

field staff person was on extended medical leave and another field staff position was vacant. For

both of these circumstances, the FFBF director of field services indicated that no one on staff

was qualified to answer questions about county-level board practices in the individual district










(personal communication, Ray Crawford, November 20, 2006). The researcher did obtain

survey responses from FFBF Hield staff members representing the six other districts. Data from

six of the eight regions represents a response rate of 75%. When considering the local board as a

level of unit analysis, data from FFBF Hield staff members provided ratings for 43 of the 61 local

boards. This corresponds to a response rate of 70.5% at the local board unit-level of analysis.

Data Analysis Procedures

Data collected from the survey instruments was analyzed using SAS@ 8.2 and 9. 1.2 for

WindowsTM

Unit Non-Response

According to Dillman (2000), "non-response error occurs when a significant number of

people in the survey sample do not respond to the questionnaire and have different

characteristics from those who do respond, when these characteristics are important to the

study"(p. 10). Anytime a response rate falls below 100%, a non-response bias may exist and can

be a threat to the external validity of a study (Lindner, Murphy, & Briers, 2001). When evidence

of non-response bias exists, caution must be exercised in generalizing findings beyond those who

fully participated in the study.

In order to test for unit non-response bias in data from the mailed questionnaires, the

researcher conducted tests of ANOVA to identify differences in mean responses between the

data collected from the mailed questionnaires and data collected from the telephone follow-up

interviews. Specific demographic variables considered in this comparison included: age, gender,

level of education, year of membership in FFBF, years of service on the local FFBF board, and

number of local FFBF board meetings attended in the last six months. Tests for ANOVA

showed no significant different between the two groups on the variables of age, gender, level of

education, years of service on the local FFBF board, and number of local FFBF board meetings









attended in the last six months. However, ANOVA revealed that significant differences existed

between mail respondents and phone respondents on years of membership in Farm Bureau. The

mean years of membership for mail respondents was 23.4 years, with a standard deviation of

14.3. The mean years of membership for phone respondents was 17. 1 years, with a standard

deviation of 11.8. It is possible that this difference was due to measurement error, since years of

membership for mail respondents was collected from the mailed questionnaire, whereas years of

membership for phone respondents was collected from FFBF membership records. FFBF staff

members recognize that the membership database is likely to under represent true years of

membership, since it is based on consecutive years paid. (As previously mentioned, if a member

was late on paying annual membership dues, the count of consecutive years of membership

would start back at one.)

The difference between mail and phone respondents could be attributed to measurement

error and survey respondents considered representative of non-respondents. However, ANOVA

tests on ratings of performance for select best practices also revealed significant difference

between mail respondents and phone respondents. The most extreme difference was in board

performance ratings on the best practice of "share Farm Bureau facts and history in public

relations activities." The mean rating for the mail respondents was 2.20, with a standard

deviation of 0.75, while the mean rating for phone respondents was 1.67, with a standard

deviation of 0.76. Analysis of variance revealed a significant difference, F(1, 412) = 14. 16,

p<.000. Statistical differences were observed with four other practices, but those differences

were less extreme (i.e. p>.001).

Such differences between groups could be attributed to differences in survey mode (self-

administered mail questionnaire vs. telephone interview). Dillman (2000) and others have










recognized consequences of mixed-mode designs. Several researchers have noted differences in

answers provided over the telephone compared to answers provided in a self-administered mail

questionnaire (Dillman, 2000; Schwarz, Strack, Hippler, & Bishop, 1991). The results of the

tests comparing mail respondents and phone respondents casts some doubt on assumed

similarities between respondents and non-respondents. Further investigation is warranted.

In order to further investigate possible differences between respondents and non-

respondents, the researcher compared early respondents to late respondents. The method is

based on research that shows late respondents are often similar to non-respondents (Ary et al.,

2002; Clausen & Ford, 1947; Lindner et al., 2001; Miller & Smith, 1983). For this study, early

and later respondents were classified by waves of response, a strategy that has been supported by

other researchers (Israel, 1992; Lindner et al., 2001). As questionnaires were mailed, each was

given a number, and this number was used to identify each "wave." The second wave of

questionnaires mailed to non-respondents was numbered beginning with a "2" (either 200 or

2000, depending in which instrument). By distinguishing early and late respondents based on the

questionnaire number, evidence suggests that late respondents were not only late respondents,

but they were further persuaded to respond by the additional attempt to reach them. In fact,

many may have discarded the first questionnaire but responded to the second questionnaire in

order to avoid the nuisance of additional contacts. The early-late analysis compared 298 early

respondents with 113 late respondents. Tests for ANOVA revealed no significant difference on

the following demographics: age, gender, level of education, year of membership in FFBF, years

of service on the local FFBF board, and number of local FFBF board meetings attended in the

last six months. In addition, ANOVA test on ratings of performance for select best practices

revealed no significant difference between early respondents and late respondents. The results of









these tests suggest that no significant difference exists between study respondents and non-

respondents.

Although the early to late comparison method suggest that no significant difference exists

between respondents and non-respondents, caution should still be exercised in generalizing

beyond the sample. In their discussion of the early to late comparison method, Clausen and Ford

(1947) concede that "the estimate for non-respondents is clearly in the nature of a guess, but it is

an informed guess" (p. 507). Some doubt remains, particularly since phone respondents, as a

representation of non-respondents, showed some significant differences from mail respondents.

The difference may be a function of the difference in survey mode (self-administered mail

questionnaire vs. telephone interview) (Dillman, 2000; Schwarz et al., 1991). The caution

required for extending findings from the study to the larger population may depend on the

severity of consequences that might result in doing so. In other words, the data from this study

can be assumed to be representative of the larger population provided that doing so is not likely

to have negative effects on the population.

Item Non-Response

Early in the data collection period, the researcher noticed item non-response among

multiple returned questionnaires. Item non-response can prevent observations from being

included in the data analysis, which in turn reduces statistical power (Gravetter & Wallnau,

2000) and can introduce bias in the data (Israel, 1992; Miller & Smith, 1983; Ognibene, 1971).

Among the returned questionnaires in this study, 269 (65.6%) were complete, while 141

(34.4%) had missing data for one or more variables. Of the questionnaires with missing data, 13

were considered extreme in that they failed to answer more than half of the questions. The

missing data from these observations would have limited the practical value of including them in

the data analysis. As a result, the 13 observations with extreme missing data were treated as unit










non-response and dropped from additional analysis. The resulting sampling population included

397 study participants, 81 from the treatment group, 76 from the control group, and 240 from the

spillover treatment group. Item non-response by group is outlined in Table 3-2. A final usable

response rate for each group is identified in Table 3-3.

Dependent Variable Indexes

Individual-level dependent variable

As previously stated, the dependent variable for this study was performance on Farm

Bureau related practices. On an individual level, this performance was measured by the survey

instrument as a self-rating. This variable was created as an index of the individual ratings of the

17 best practices identified in the survey instrument. Study participants were asked to indicate to

what extent they implemented each practice during the preceding six months. Response options

included: not at all, somewhat, mostly, and completely. These responses were coded "O", "1",

"2", and "3", respectively. The researcher used these ratings to form an index for overall

individual performance on the Farm Bureau practices. In order to minimize the effects of

missing data, the index score was calculated as an average of the ratings provided by the

respondent. For example, if a respondent marked "somewhat" for eight practices and "mostly"

for eight other practices but failed to provide a response to the remaining practice, the

respondent' s average rating of 1.5 would be kept in the analysis, virtually unaffected by the

missing value. If, however, a respondent failed to provide ratings for at least half of the

practices, that respondent' s index score was coded as missing and not included in further

analysis. This was done to prevent excessive missing data from providing added weight to the

responses that were provided. The researcher evaluated the final index for reliability and found a

Cronbach's alpha (a) of 0.89. According to Traub (1994), indexes in the social sciences that









have a reliability coefficient of 0.8 or larger are often considered well-constructed and relatively

precise. As a result, this index was considered reliable.

Although self-assessments of performance deserve some skepticism for their potential bias,

they have been widely used in research with nonprofit organizations. Preston and Brown (2004)

put it simply when they said, "to measure individual performance effectively is a challenge" (p.

227). This challenge is further complicated in organizations like Farm Bureau, that rely heavily

on volunteer performance without regular supervision. In a study that investigates short-term

changes in personal performance, as was the case for this study, few options exist for obj ective

evaluation, and it may be that the most valid evaluation is a self-assessment.

Board-level dependent variable

Board level performance was also measured in the survey instruments. As a dependent

variable, board level performance was calculated as an aggregate of individual board members'

average assessment of their board' s implementation of the 17 best practices identified in the

questionnaire. The individual average rating of the board was calculated in a similar manner as

was done for each individual's self-performance rating. If a respondent failed to provide board

ratings for at least half of the practices, that respondent' s index score for board performance was

coded as missing and not included in further analysis. Once individual ratings of board

performance were calculated, those ratings were sorted and averaged by the local board (i.e.

county) associated with the rating. If a local board had an individual board rating from only one

board member, that board's performance rating was equated to the one available rating.

However, most local boards had multiple respondents, so the board's performance rating was an

average of several board members' assessments of board performance among the 17 practices.

The researcher evaluated the index for reliability and found a Cronbach' s alpha (a) of 0.91. As a

result, the index was considered reliable.









Local board performance among the 17 best practices was also evaluated by FFBF staff

through the "Field Staff Perceptions Survey." The field staff members' assessments of local

board practices were averaged for each county/local board to create an index of overall board

performance. The researcher evaluated the index for reliability and found a Cronbach's alpha (a)

of 0.93. As a result, the index was considered reliable. In addition, the researcher investigated

the relationship between the board performance rating by the field staff and the board

performance aggregate rating from the local board members. The researcher found a correlation

of .343, with a p-value of .026. This statistic suggests a moderate relationship between the two

ratings (Cohen, 1988, pp. 82-83; Penfield, 2003, p. 185). The relationship is important to

consider, because the data analysis in this study relies heavily upon subj ective ratings and the

field staff ratings represent the only data available as an obj ective evaluation that provides a

comparison across local/county boards. One of the reasons why the FFBF field staff member

ratings were not included in final regression models as a dependent variable is because the

ratings were not provided for 18 of the 61 counties, thus limiting the analysis of data available

from those counties. Instead, the local board members' aggregate rating of board performance

was the dependent variable associated with board-level performance.

Once again, concerns about potential bias from self-assessment should be considered.

However, the differences in performance ratings between board members and FFBF field staff

do not necessarily suggest problems with validity. Local board members and field staff members

can be considered different stakeholder groups, and previous research with nonprofit boards has

shown that "stakeholders do not judge organizational effectiveness similarly" (Herman & Renz,

2004, p. 699). In a study of 44 nonprofit organizations, Herman and Renz found that, "for board

members, the use of correct management practices is strongly and positively correlated to










organizational effectiveness judgments" (p. 700), whereas the same situation failed to have a

significant impact on organizational effectiveness judgments by funders and senior staff (p. 701).

Another reason for the differences in performance ratings between board members and Hield staff

is that "nonprofit organizational effectiveness is always a matter of comparison" (Herman &

Renz, 2002, p. 3). This comparison is likely to occur even when attempts are made to objectify

the measures. Because of their knowledge of other local boards, the Hield staff members are

likely to rate individual board performance on the local Farm Bureau practices as compared to

other local boards. Board members, on the other hand, are likely to rate individual board

performance on the local Farm Bureau practices as compared to earlier observations.

Several nonprofit researchers have worked to develop a standardized self-assessment

instrument, the Board Self-Assessment Questionnaire (BSAQ), to evaluate board performance

across organizations (Holland, 1991; Jackson & Holland, 1998). The BSAQ has been used with

more than 100 nonprofit boards and has shown strong validity when examined by knowledgeable

raters of board and organizational performance. The BSAQ was not appropriate for this study

with FFBF local boards because it was not designed and validated for use with smaller nonprofit

organizations that are staffed mainly by volunteers.

Part of the reason why empirical evidence on nonprofit board performance relies heavily

on self-assessment may be due to the belief that "nonprofit organizational effectiveness is a

social construction" (Herman & Renz, 2002, p. 4). "How to conceive and measure

organizational effectiveness is an issue about which there is no scholarly consensus" (Herman &

Renz, 1997, p. 13). Instead, researchers rely on stakeholders to judge organizational

effectiveness. In the case of grassroots organizations, like Farm Bureau, the local leaders are key

stakeholders and therefore should be a primary resource for evaluating effectiveness.










Independent Variable Indexes

Goal attributes

As previously mentioned, independent variables analyzed in this study included constructs

associated with goal theory. These constructs were measured in the "Best Practices Goal

Survey," administered to .So eigthenl~lila the Voice program participants. The section titled, "Best

Practices Goal Setting Process..." included 24 goal-related questions, all measured on a Likert-

type scale that included: "strongly disagree," "disagree," "neither agree nor disagree," "agree,"

and "strongly agree." When item nonresponse was observed, the researcher left the nonresponse

out of the analysis for the individual items. However, after the analysis of descriptive statistics,

the approach to nonresponse changed. For the purpose of keeping observations in the goal

constructs, the researcher coded item nonresponse as "neither agree nor disagree." Although this

practice increases the potential for measurement error, the researcher assumed that such effects

would be minimal and that the benefits of recoding the data would outweigh the consequences.

An ideal research study of goal setting theory would measure all 12 constructs suggested

by the theory and the high performance cycle. However, measuring all 12 constructs exceeded

the limitations of the instrument and the sample size. The instrument did measure two key

components of the goals: content and intensity. The goal content was expressed in two aspects:

specificity and difficulty. Goal intensity was measured through goal commitment and self-

efficacy. An addition, the instrument measured a construct for perceived goal performance.

Once the data were collected, the researcher conducted factor analyses to analyze and

refine the item components of each construct. Tests of reliability were conducted using

Cronbach's alpha. When considered as a group, the estimated reliability of all goal-related

questions was .877. For the individual constructs, specificity had a reliability of .738, difficulty









had a reliability of .763, commitment had a reliability of .838, and self-efficacy had a reliability

of .708. The goal performance construct had a reliability of .889.

According to Penfield (2001, cited in Moore, 2003, p. 65), reliability coefficients that

exceed .90 are considered high, those that exceed .80 are considered moderate to high, and those

between .70 and .80 are considered low. With this classification, the overall goal ratings had a

moderate to high reliability, while some of the constructs had low reliability. However, as Traub

(1994) points out, the primary standard for judging acceptable reliability is the reliability of

available alternative measures. With this in mind, the researcher continued analysis with the less

reliable constructs, recognizing that measures of improved reliability should be sought in future

research. The final reliability and factor loadings of each construct are displayed in Tables 3-4

through 3-8.

The constructs measured in this study were arranged in a hypothesized path model.

Consistent with goal setting theory, the researcher hypothesized that the goal core (specificity

and difficulty) would have a positive impact on performance (Figure 3-3). In addition, the

researcher hypothesized that goal specificity would positively impact goal commitment and self-

efficacy (as related to the goal), while goal difficulty would negatively impact self-efficacy.

Self-efficacy, in-turn, was expected to positively impact goal commitment, and goal commitment

was expected to positively impact goal performance. Although goal mechanisms were not

measured in this study, goal setting theory would suggest that goal mechanisms also mediate

these impacts on performance.

Farm Bureau Foundations program participation

Individual attendance at the FarmFFFFF~~~~~~~FFFFFF Bureau Foundations workshops was recorded by FFBF

and either validated or corrected by survey respondents. The number of participants from each

local board was then investigated for various levels of participation. The most basic level of










participation was a simple count of local board attendees. However, in order to investigate

possible non-linear relationships, this count was also dummy coded for participation levels of

one or more, two or more, three or more, four or more, five or more, and six or more. In

addition, the percent of local board members attending the workshops was calculated by dividing

the number of local board member attendees by the total number of directors for that local board.

In order to investigate for non-linear relationships, this percentage was also dummy-coded for

participation levels of 10%, 25%, 33%, and 50%. The raw numbers and dummy codes were both

analyzed when investigating the effects of workshop attendance by a local board.

Weighted goal theory constructs

In order to include goal theory constructs at a local board unit of analysis, the ratings on

these constructs needed to be considered across all directors in a given local board. However,

since not all board members participated in the goal setting process and therefore did not have

ratings for the goal constructs, the available ratings needed to be weighted in a way that

considered level of participation. In order to accomplish this, the aggregate ratings for a local

board were multiplied by the percentage of board members who participated in the FarmFFFFF~~~~~~~FFFFFF Bureau

Foundations workshops, and thus were engaged in the goal setting exercise. Because the goal

construct ratings were centered on zero, with a range of negative two to positive two, this

weighting system equated non-participation as rating of zero (neither agree nor disagree) on the

goal constructs.

While this weighted rating was a synthetic representation of actual individual ratings, the

researcher believed it to be the best approach for considering the goal constructs at a local board

unit of analysis. If an individual had responded "neither agree nor disagree" for all goal-related

variables, the information would have no influence on the aggregate board rating for the goal

constructs. In another instance, if an individual had responded "strongly agree" for all of the










goal-related variables, but that board member was the only director engaged in the process, the

goal construct rating would be attenuated by the lack of participation among the entire board.

On the other hand, if the entire board participated in the FarmFFFFF~~~~~~~FFFFFF Bureau Foundations program

component and had similar ratings about their experience with the best practices goals, then this

fact would carry more weight in the analysis. This method of weighting the ratings is somewhat

experimental and should be considered when interpreting the data.

Board demographics

Few of the board demographics considered in this study were directly measured. The total

number of local board members was derived from the FFBF field services directory. However,

data on other board-level independent variables were calculated from information provided by

survey respondents. For local boards that had high response rates in this study, the calculated

demographics are highly valid estimates of the local board's true demographics. However, for

local boards with lower response rates the calculated demographics may be less representative.

An extreme example is a local board that had one survey respondent, and the board member was

female. It is highly unlikely that the local board is comprised entirely of female directors, so the

estimate of 100% female board members likely contains measurement error. However, the

calculated demographics were the best available source for this information. In addition,

because the board-level dependent variable was based entirely upon ratings from survey

respondents, the observed relationship between the board demographics (independent variables)

and the rated board performance (dependent variable) were expected to be similar to what would

be observed for the true population. Even still, some caution should be exercised in interpreting

the effects of board demographics analyzed in this study.










Analysis for Objectives One Through Three

Descriptive statistics, including frequencies and measures of central tendency, were used to

organize and summarize the individual item response data from the collected questionnaires.

Findings for obj ectives one through three were obtained primarily through the use of descriptive

statistics. When appropriate, analysis of variance (ANOVA) was used to investigate differences

between groups.

Analysis for Objectives Four and Five

Goal-related hypotheses

The goal-related hypotheses to be tested in obj ectives four and five are as follows:

1. Units with higher perceived levels of goal specificity will also have higher levels of
performance .

2. Units with higher perceived levels of goal difficulty will also have higher levels of
performance .

3. Units with higher perceived levels of goal specificity will also have higher levels of goal-
related self-efficacy.

4. Units with higher perceived levels of goal specificity will also have higher levels of goal
commitment.

5. Units with higher perceived levels of goal difficulty will have lower levels of goal-related
self-efficacy.

6. Units with higher perceived levels of goal-related self-efficacy will also have higher levels of
goal commitment.

7. Units with higher perceived levels of goal commitment will also have higher levels of
performance .

These hypotheses are graphically displayed in Figure 3-3.

Correlational analysis

Correlations between the independent and dependent variables were analyzed to examine

the effect of the independent variables on the dependent variables on an individual basis. The

magnitudes of the correlations were described using terms and classification appropriate for the










context of social science research. A correlation of 0. 10 is described as a small effect size (weak

relationship), a correlation of 0.30 is described as a medium effect size (moderate relationship),

and a correlation of 0.50 is described as a large effect size (strong relationship) (Cohen, 1988, pp.

82-83; Penfield, 2003, p. 185).

Regression analysis

In an attempt to explain the influence of demographic and program variables on best

practices goal achievement, the researcher used multiple regression to build explanatory models.

According to Gliem (2003), multiple regression is "a method of analyzing the variance of a

dependent variable (Y) by using information available on two or more independent variables" (p.

1). The basic model may be expressed as:

E(Y) = a + P1X1 + P2X2 PkXk

In this equation, a, pr,..., Pk are parameters (properties of the population) and X1, X2,... Xk

are explanatory (independent) variables, where k denotes the number of predictors. Y is the

response (or dependent) variable, and E indicates that it is an estimate or prediction. In this

study, the Y variable is the best practices adoption score. Important assumptions associated with

the use of multiple regression include: independence, linearity, normality, and equal variances

(Algina, 2005, p. 391). An alpha level of 0.05 was set a priori for the statistical analysis.

However, varying levels of alpha were considered and reported because the knowledge of these

variations improved the exploratory value of the study.

One practical issue to consider in the implementation of multiple regression analysis is the

ratio of cases to independent variables. "Numerous rules-of-thumb have been suggested for

determining the minimum number of subj ects required to conduct multiple regression analyses"

(S. B. Green, 1991, p. 499). Green has compared these methods and argues that the rules-of-









thumb that specify some constant, such as a minimum number of subj ects or a minimum ratio of

subjects to predictors, are not sufficient because they do not consider effect size and its

contribution to statistical power. Green recommends a more complex rule-of-thumb that

"estimates minimum sample size as a function of effect size as well as the number of predictors"

(p. 499). However, Green's recommendation is based on a power analytic framework that is

used to ensure a reasonable chance of rej ecting null hypotheses involving regression parameters.

Since this is an exploratory study that was a census of the population, the researcher did not

apply Green's more complex recommendation. Instead, the researcher chose to follow a more

generous standard, proposed by Tabachnick and Fidell (1989), setting the minimum number of

cases or subj ects for each independent variable at five to one.

The usefulness of regression models is evaluated by the coefficient of determination,

denoted by R-Square (R2). The coefficient of determination represents "the proportion of

information in the dependent variable that is explained or accounted for by the independent

variable" (Penfield, 2003, p. 231). In the context of social science, researchers have provided

general "rules of thumb" for interpreting the value of R2. An R2 Of 0.01 represents a weak

relationship (small effect size), an R2 Of 0.09 represents a moderate relationship (medium effect

size), and an R2 Of 0.25 represents a strong relationship (large effect size) (Cohen, 1988, pp. 79-

81; Penfield, 2003, p. 232). This classification was applied in interpreting the coefficient of

determination (R2) in this study. Adjusted R-Square values, rather than the raw coefficients, will

be reported because they offer a less biased estimate for analyses with a small number of

observations and numerous independent variables (Agresti & Finlay, 1997; Tabachnick & Fidell,

1996).