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Identifying Career Barriers in Agriculture

Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UFE0044171/00001

Material Information

Title: Identifying Career Barriers in Agriculture
Physical Description: 1 online resource (106 p.)
Language: english
Creator: Conklin, Ryan C
Publisher: University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 2012

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords: agriculture -- barriers -- leadership -- organizations -- promotion -- underepresentation
Agricultural Education and Communication -- Dissertations, Academic -- UF
Genre: Agricultural Education and Communication thesis, M.S.
bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
born-digital   ( sobekcm )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation

Notes

Abstract: The agriculture industry, much like many other industries, possesses a unique set of career obstacles that can hinder the advancement of leaders within agricultural organizations. The purpose of this study was to determine leader perceptions of the top career barriers in the agriculture industry. Special emphasis was placed on barriers pertaining to underrepresented group and the hardships they encounter. Leaders of agricultural organizations in the southeastern region of the United States served as this study's population. From this population a sample group of leaders associated with the University of Florida's Wedgworth Leadership Institute for Agriculture and Natural Resources (WLIANR) was selected. In accordance with the Delphi method of data collection, participants were surveyed using three rounds of questionnaires in order to form consensus around the top career barriers in agriculture. Career barrier responses for the first round were categorized and placed into barrier theme groups. In the second round, participants provided their level of agreement with the barriers submitted in the first round. In the final iteration, participants indicated with a "yes" or "no" response whether or not they agreed with each barrier's presence in the agriculture industry. Consensus around a particular barrier was deemed to have been met if a 75% level of agreement was met among the responses. Study results suggested an applicant's skill set was the primary barrier to promotion within the agriculture industry. These results also indicate career barriers for underrepresented group members are not widespread throughout organizations in the agriculture industry.
General Note: In the series University of Florida Digital Collections.
General Note: Includes vita.
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description: Description based on online resource; title from PDF title page.
Source of Description: This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The University of Florida Libraries, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Statement of Responsibility: by Ryan C Conklin.
Thesis: Thesis (M.S.)--University of Florida, 2012.
Local: Adviser: Stedman, Nicole Lamee Perez.

Record Information

Source Institution: UFRGP
Rights Management: Applicable rights reserved.
Classification: lcc - LD1780 2012
System ID: UFE0044171:00001

Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UFE0044171/00001

Material Information

Title: Identifying Career Barriers in Agriculture
Physical Description: 1 online resource (106 p.)
Language: english
Creator: Conklin, Ryan C
Publisher: University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 2012

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords: agriculture -- barriers -- leadership -- organizations -- promotion -- underepresentation
Agricultural Education and Communication -- Dissertations, Academic -- UF
Genre: Agricultural Education and Communication thesis, M.S.
bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
born-digital   ( sobekcm )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation

Notes

Abstract: The agriculture industry, much like many other industries, possesses a unique set of career obstacles that can hinder the advancement of leaders within agricultural organizations. The purpose of this study was to determine leader perceptions of the top career barriers in the agriculture industry. Special emphasis was placed on barriers pertaining to underrepresented group and the hardships they encounter. Leaders of agricultural organizations in the southeastern region of the United States served as this study's population. From this population a sample group of leaders associated with the University of Florida's Wedgworth Leadership Institute for Agriculture and Natural Resources (WLIANR) was selected. In accordance with the Delphi method of data collection, participants were surveyed using three rounds of questionnaires in order to form consensus around the top career barriers in agriculture. Career barrier responses for the first round were categorized and placed into barrier theme groups. In the second round, participants provided their level of agreement with the barriers submitted in the first round. In the final iteration, participants indicated with a "yes" or "no" response whether or not they agreed with each barrier's presence in the agriculture industry. Consensus around a particular barrier was deemed to have been met if a 75% level of agreement was met among the responses. Study results suggested an applicant's skill set was the primary barrier to promotion within the agriculture industry. These results also indicate career barriers for underrepresented group members are not widespread throughout organizations in the agriculture industry.
General Note: In the series University of Florida Digital Collections.
General Note: Includes vita.
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description: Description based on online resource; title from PDF title page.
Source of Description: This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The University of Florida Libraries, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Statement of Responsibility: by Ryan C Conklin.
Thesis: Thesis (M.S.)--University of Florida, 2012.
Local: Adviser: Stedman, Nicole Lamee Perez.

Record Information

Source Institution: UFRGP
Rights Management: Applicable rights reserved.
Classification: lcc - LD1780 2012
System ID: UFE0044171:00001


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1 IDENTIFYING CAREER BARRIERS IN AGRICULTURE By RYAN CHRISTOPHER CONKLIN A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF SCIENCE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2012

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2 2012 Ryan Christopher Conklin

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3 To Mom, Dad, Al, and Sally B, the four of you were the hardest part about leaving Ohio

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4 ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS First and foremost, thank you to my family, friends and mentors in Ohio. They have he lped me develop in unimaginable ways and have made it possible for me to come to Florida and find success. You were all indescribably missed but none more than my mom, dad, Al, and Sally B. I am grateful for the guidance provided by commi ttee chair 1A, Dr. Greg Gifford, during my first year of graduate school Having no experience whatsoever in leadership studies or being a teaching assistant, he showed tremendous fortitude with me and I am grateful to have learned so much from him I hope that he continue s to positively impact the leaders of our government for years to come. Thank you committee chair 1 B, Dr. Nicole Stedman, for taking in thi s orphaned graduate student. He r creativity and expertise with research ultimately led to the creation of the methodology for my study, so this thesis wa s her creation as much as it wa s mine. Dr. Stedman juggle d so many responsibilities in a graceful manner, truth be told I tried m y best to make it easier by submitting C hapter 2 as late as possible. Many thank to Dr. Stedman for the patience she displayed when working with me. Thank to Dr. Hannah Carter for being so active in helping with my data collection for agreeing to be on my committee The Wedgworth C lasses were the perfect sample group for this study, and surveying this collection of leaders would not have been possible without her help. Tha nk you to Dr. Michael Olexa, his advice and insight during the law school application process was incomparable. I ho pe that someday I can rival his contribution to the legal profession.

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5 Dr. Elaine Turner, than k you for making such a positive contribution to my with me as a graduate student was as memorable as my exp erience with her as an adviser and a mentor To Mrs. Charlotte Emerso n, Copper Monkey is neither co pper, nor a monkey. Discuss! Thank you to Dr. Ed Osbo rne. I will always remember his phone call two days before I move d to Florida letting me know he had found assistantship funding for me. I thoroughly enjoyed learning from you as a student and as a lead er. To the faculty and staff of the Department of Agricultural Education and Communication, whether it was through working on a project, taking a class, or passin g each other in the hallway, they have all taught me something valuable. What do a Puerto Ric an, a 36 year old father of four girls, a journalism student, and a kid from Ohio have in common? Absolutely nothing (except an affinity for New York style pizza!), but I think that is what made our office so special My heartfelt thanks to Laura, Jason, a nd Viviana for making it fun to come to work each day (except for those days when you made fun of Ohio, or my face). To Micah Scanga, Kate Shoulders assigned him as my mentor Adrienne, Andrea, and Melissa, whether it was weekly impor tant meetings, dinner at Stubbies, or setting up the department tailgate at 1am, I cherished every second I was able to spend with all three of you. Sarah Bush, Viviana and I definitely got lucky when you agreed to move in with us ( except for when you mad e the Crawfish potatoes). Brittany and Tony, thank you for letting me be your Dupree and for allowing me to babysit the children. To all of the other graduate students, you were the source of many good times and much laughter.

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6 TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS ................................ ................................ ............................... 4 LIST OF TABLES ................................ ................................ ................................ ............ 9 LIST OF FIGURES ................................ ................................ ................................ ........ 10 LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS ................................ ................................ ........................... 11 ABSTRACT ................................ ................................ ................................ ................... 12 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 14 Overview ................................ ................................ ................................ ................. 14 Change in the Workplace ................................ ................................ ................. 14 Underrepresented Groups in Leadership Roles ................................ ............... 16 Underrepresented Groups as Leaders in Agricultural Organizations ............... 17 Research Question ................................ ................................ ................................ 19 Purpose and Objectives ................................ ................................ .......................... 19 Significance of the Study ................................ ................................ ........................ 20 Definition of Terms ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 21 Limitations ................................ ................................ ................................ ............... 22 Assumptions ................................ ................................ ................................ ........... 23 Chapter Summary ................................ ................................ ................................ ... 23 2 LITERATURE REVIEW ................................ ................................ .......................... 24 Chapter Introduction ................................ ................................ ............................... 24 Theoretical Framework ................................ ................................ ........................... 25 Social Cognitive Career Theory (SCCT) ................................ ........................... 25 Leader Member Exchange (LMX) ................................ ................................ .... 27 Carrier Barriers ................................ ................................ ................................ 28 Conceptual Model ................................ ................................ ................................ ... 30 Agricultural Leadership ................................ ................................ ........................... 32 Agricultural Leadership in Practice ................................ ................................ ... 33 Teaching Agricultural Leadership ................................ ................................ ..... 34 Chapter Summary ................................ ................................ ................................ ... 36 3 METHODOLOGY ................................ ................................ ................................ ... 38 Chapter Introduction ................................ ................................ ............................... 38 Research Design ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 38 Population and Sample ................................ ................................ ........................... 42

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7 Instrumentation ................................ ................................ ................................ ....... 43 Data Collection ................................ ................................ ................................ ....... 45 Data Analysi s ................................ ................................ ................................ .......... 47 Definition of Career Barrier Themes ................................ ................................ 48 Chapter Summary ................................ ................................ ................................ ... 50 4 RESULTS ................................ ................................ ................................ ............... 51 Chapter Introduction ................................ ................................ ............................... 51 Demograp hics of Respondents ................................ ................................ ............... 52 Response Rate ................................ ................................ ................................ ....... 54 Objective Results ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 55 Objective One: To develop a cumulative list of perceived career barriers to promotion in the agriculture industry by surveying agricultural organization leade rs ................................ ................................ ................................ .......... 55 Objective Two: To gauge the level of agreement for each perceived barrier to promotion according to the same group of leader s in the agriculture industry ................................ ................................ ................................ .......... 56 Objective Three: To form consensus around the top perceived barriers to promotion in the agricul ture industry ................................ ............................. 63 Objective Four: To determine leader perceptions towards career barriers involving underrepresented group ................................ ................................ 68 Chapter Summary ................................ ................................ ................................ ... 70 5 CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS ................................ ....................... 71 Chapter Introduction ................................ ................................ ............................... 71 Purpose and Objectives ................................ ................................ ................... 72 Methodology ................................ ................................ ................................ ..... 72 Summary of Findi ngs ................................ ................................ .............................. 73 Demographics of Respondents ................................ ................................ ........ 73 Response Rate ................................ ................................ ................................ 73 Objective One: To develop a cumulative list of perceived career barriers to promotion in the agriculture industry by surveying agricultural organization leaders ................................ ................................ ................................ .......... 74 Objective Two: To gauge the level of agree ment for each perceived barrier to promotion according to the same group of leaders in the agriculture industry ................................ ................................ ................................ .......... 74 Objective Thre e: To form consensus around the top perceived barriers to promotion in the agriculture industry ................................ ............................. 75 Objective Four: To determine l eader perceptions towards career barriers involving underrepresented groups ................................ ............................... 76 Objective Conclusions ................................ ................................ ............................ 76 Objective One: To develop a cumulative list of perceived career barriers to promotion in the agriculture industry by surveying agricultural organization l eaders ................................ ................................ ................................ .......... 77

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8 Objective Two: To gauge the level of agreement for each perceived barrier to promotion according to the same group of le aders in the agriculture industry ................................ ................................ ................................ .......... 77 Objective Three: To form consensus around the top perceived barriers to promotion in the agr iculture industry ................................ ............................. 77 Objective Four: To determine leader perceptions towards career barriers involving underrepresented groups ................................ ............................... 77 Discussion and Implications ................................ ................................ .................... 78 National Research Agenda ................................ ................................ ..................... 83 Reco mmendations ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 84 Recommendations for Practice ................................ ................................ ........ 85 Recommendations for Research ................................ ................................ ...... 85 Chapter Summary ................................ ................................ ................................ ... 86 APPENDIX A UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARD PROTOCOL APPROVAL LETTER ................................ ................................ .............................. 87 B UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARD I NFORMED CONSENT FORM ................................ ................................ ................................ ... 88 C DIRECTIONS AND QUESTIONS FOR FIRST ROUND QUESTIONNAIRE ........... 90 D ROUND TWO RESULTS IN ALPHABETICAL ORDER ................................ .......... 92 E ROUND THREE RESULTS IN ALPHABETICAL ORDER ................................ ...... 96 LIST OF REFERENCES ................................ ................................ ............................. 100 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH ................................ ................................ .......................... 106

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9 L IST OF TABLES Table page 4 1 Frequency and percentage of respondents by demographic characteristics ...... 53 4 2 Response rate per round ................................ ................................ .................... 54 4 3 Round one results ................................ ................................ .............................. 56 4 4 Number of items for each barrier theme in round two questionnaire .................. 57 4 5 Round two results ................................ ................................ ............................... 58 4 6 Nu mber of items for each barrier theme in round three questionnaire ................ 63 4 7 Round three results ................................ ................................ ............................ 64 4 8 Frequency for each barrier theme in final career barriers list ............................. 68 4 9 Examination of barriers for underrepresented groups ................................ ........ 68 4 10 Third round demographic data ................................ ................................ ............ 69

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10 LIST OF FIGURES Figure page 2 1 Factors influencing leader promotion conceptual model ................................ ..... 31 3 1 Flowchart of Delphi model as applied to this study ................................ ............. 41 5 1 Factors influencing leader promotion conceptual model ................................ ..... 79 5 2 Categorization of barrier themes into appropriate factor groups ......................... 80

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11 LIST OF ABBREVIATION S LMX Leader Member Exchange NRA National Research Agenda SCCT Social Cognitive Career Theory WLIANR Wedgworth Leadership Institute for Agriculture and Natural Resources

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12 Abstract of Thesis Presented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements fo r the Degree of Master of Science IDENTIFYING CAREER B ARRIERS IN AGRICULTU RE By Ryan Christopher Conklin May 2012 Chair: Nicole LaMee Perez Stedman Major: Agricultural Education and Communication The agriculture industry, much like many other industries, possesses a unique set of career obstacles that can hinder the advancement of leaders within organizations. The purpose of this study was to determine leader percepti ons of the top career barriers in the agriculture industry. Special emphasis was placed on barriers pertaining to underrepresented group s and the hardships they encounter. Leaders of agricultural organizations in the southeastern region of the United Stat Wedgworth Leadership Institute for Agriculture and Natural Resources ( WLIANR ) was selected. In accordance with the Delphi metho d of data collection, participants were surveyed using three rounds of questionnaires in order to form consensus around the top perceived career barriers to promotion in agriculture. Career barrier responses for the first round were categorized and place d into barrier theme groups. In the second round, participants provided their level of agreement with the barriers submitted in the first round. In the final iteration, participants

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13 prese nce in the agriculture industry. Consensus around a particular barrier was deemed to have been met if a 75% level of agreement was met among the responses. promo tion within the agriculture industry. These results also indicate career barriers for underrepresented group members are not widespread throughout organizations in the agriculture industry.

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14 C HAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION Overview Despite immense efforts to promote equality in the workplace, underrepresentation of certain minor ity groups On June 20, 2011, the United States Supreme Court ruled against 1.6 million female former employees of Wal Mart in a class action laws uit (Fox News). The plaintiffs submitted that they were passed over for promotions in place of male counterparts (Fox News). Publix, a large supermarket chain heavily rooted in Florida retailing, settled a lawsuit under similar conditions in 1997 (Jacksonv ille Business Journal, 1997). In March, 2011, Auburn University, another large Land Grant university located in the southeastern region of the United States, was charged with racial discrimination stemming from the firing of ten African American employees (Zenor, 2011). Each lawsuit is an example of how underrepresented groups have encountered hardships in Change in the Workplace Workplace diversity is most commonly seen as beneficial for the employers as well as employees (Green, Lopez, Wysocki, & Kepner, 2002). Diversity can help an organization become more acclimated with the global business world and can help a firm be more amenable to change (Green, Lopez, Wysocki, & Kepner, 2002). Other benefits include but are not limited to; increased productivity, reduced number of lawsuits, increased marketing potential, and improved recruitment, retention, creativity,

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15 and busin ess image (Esty, Griffin, & Schorr Hirsh, 1995). The organizational benefits of diverse workforces are clearly difficult to ignore. The last decade has been a period of substantial change for many organizations in terms of diversifying their workforce (Goo ding, 2011). Most of these shifts have come in the areas of gender, age, and race representation in the workplace (Gooding, 2011). Between 2001 and 2010, female employment in the United States grew by 3.3%, compared to the .33% increase experienced by thei r male counterparts (Gooding, 2011). However in spite of the fact that female employment has increased, evidence still suggests that women are only compensated 70 cents for every dollar of compensation that males receive (Gooding, 2011). Women have also b egun to break into traditionally male dominated professions, such as construction (Haner Dorr, 2001). As of 1999, women made up 11% of the construction workforce, with an increase of 30% coming between the years of 1993 and 1999 (Haner Dorr, 2001). In term s of male dominance, the construction industry could draw several similarities to agriculture. Workplace diversity in terms of race has also experienced similar proliferation (Gooding, 2011). In the first ten years of the 21st century, African, Asian, and Hispanic Americans have all experienced improved employment representation (Gooding, 2011). On the contrary, Caucasians have seen their employment numbers drop from 113.88 million to 112.75 million jobs (Gooding, 2011). Robinson, Pfeffer, and Buccigrossi (2003) make a strong case for diversity in the United States workplace. Corporate buy in from top management is required in order for a diversity initiative to be fully implemented, and for all of the benefits to be received

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16 (Robinson, Pfeffer, & Buccigro ssi, 2003). Research also indicated that the racial demographics of the American workplace were changing quickly. The ratio of Caucasians to people of color in individuals aged 70 and older was 5:1 in 2000 (Robinson, Pfeffer, & Buccigrossi, 2003). However, in individuals aged 40 and under, that ratio plummets to 2:1 (Robinson, Pfeffer, & Buccigrossi, 2003). While changes in the workplace have shown promise for underrepresented groups, statistics regarding underrepresentation in leadership roles tell a n en tirely different story. Underrepresented Groups in Leadership Roles The issue of women in leadership or management positions remains a highly barrier that prevents th e advancement of qualified yet diverse groups of people in organizations (Federal Glass Ceiling Commission, 1995). The glass ceiling concept is normally associated with lack of access to management or leadership positions for minority groups within organiz ations. Due to their improved wages, increased level of job autonomy and better employment experience overall, access to management positions are a crucial goal in the push towards leadership equality (Cohen, Huffman, & Knauer, 2009). Cohen, Huffman, and towards having equal representation of females in management positions seems to have stalled The slowness could either be attributed to an actual reduction in the number of management jobs offered to women, or it could be the cause of the staggering improvements that had been made in previous decades.

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17 out of every 10 chief executives are women. The same study stated that only 13.5% of all Fortune 500 executive officer positions are occupied by females, with 30% of all Fortune 500 firms having no female executives whatsoever. Racial diversity in the workplace has also undergone a similar shift in the last fifty years, but r esearchers assert that the glass ceiling is still in place for underrepresented racial and ethnic groups. Although people of color comprise 41% of the population in the ten most diverse cities in Massachusetts, they only hold 10% of the municipal leadershi p positions (Bolduc, Kurtz, Meredith Warren, & Resende, 2007). Bolduc, Kurtz, Meredith Warren, and Resende (2007) also found that Caucasians occupied 61% of available leadership positions, whereas people of color only held 39%. The United States military s uffers from the same racial underrepresentation as other organizations. African and Hispanic Americans represent 8% and 5% of the officers in the United States Military, respectively (Sagalyn, 2011). Both percentages are below their respective portions of the general populous (Sagalyn, 2011). The Military Leadership Diversity Commission offered several explanations as to why minorities are change the fact that the imbalanc e exists. Underrepresented Groups as Leaders in Agricultural Organizations An incident in 2010 involving a United States Department of Agriculture employee sparked a national controversy when some remarks at a meeting of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People were taken out of context (Condon, 2010). Shirley Sherrod was accused of making several racist comments regarding a white farmer in Georgia and was abruptly forced to resign (Condon, 2010).

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18 As the turn of events unfolded, it w as revealed that the comments were taken out of context and that Sherrod was actually trying help the farmer avoid bankruptcy (Condon, 2010). Sherrod was serving as the Director of Rural Development for the state of Georgia when she was ousted (Condon, 201 0). Even though this may be an extreme situation, the Sherrod scandal still serves as a testament of how tension still exists regarding underrepresented groups in agricultural organizations. Trends re lated to underrepresented group members as leaders in agricultural organizations in the United States are very difficult to locate. Most analyses regarding the inadequate representation of women in agricultural groups have been conducted in Australia. Pini (2008) submitted that agricultural organizations worl dwide are still operated by white males, verifying the existence of a glass ceiling at the global level. This trend of female absence in the management of agricultural organizations has certainly withstood the test of time. Carter and Rudd (2006) asserted that incumbent leaders gravitate towards other potential leaders who share their background, experiences, and characteristics. Given the vast dominance exhibited by white males in agricultural organizations and the fact that such leaders tend to favor pote ntial leaders most like themselves, promising leaders can easily be bypassed due to differences in gender, race, or cultural, educational, socioeconomic, or geographical background (Sorcher & Brant, 2002). Factors, be it personal or environmental, can prev ent an individual from advancing in their chosen profession. These factors often manifest in the form of career barriers and can prevent potential leaders from attaining a promotion within an organization. Career barriers may exist for all demographic grou ps, organization types, and

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19 industries. Identifying the existing barriers in a particular organization or industry is the first step towards understanding how to engage in more efficient and effective promotion practices. Research Question This study soug career barriers encountered by leaders seeking promotion career barriers en countered by members of underrepresented groups when seeking promotion in a question s are being addressed by surveying a group of established leaders from a diverse array of organizations in the agriculture industry. Purpos e and Objectives The purpose of this study in agricultural organizations in the southeastern region of the United States This study sought to identify the top perceived barriers to promotion within the agriculture industry by surveying a panel of experts. Furthermore, leader perceptions of barriers related to underrepresented groups, if submitted by the sample group, will be examined in greater detail. Collection of basic demographic data will provid e a profile of leaders within the agriculture industry in the southeastern region of the United States. This study was guided by the following objectives: To develop a cumulative list of perceived career barriers to promotion in the agriculture industry by surveying agricultural organization leaders To gauge the level of ag reement for each perceived barrier to promotion according to the same group of lead ers in the agriculture industry

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20 To form consensus around the top perceived barriers to promotion in the agriculture industry To determine leader perceptions towards career barriers involving underrepresented groups Significance of the Study Item #3 of the National Research Agenda pertains to the development of a force that addresses the challenges of the 21 st also fall under the umb rella of this section of the National Research Agenda Research leading to the full a wareness of the pr omotion practices of the agriculture industry wo uld be significant and valuable to leaders of agricultural firms. This line of research may also initiate an internal re view of the role gender and ethnicity play in the leadership of these groups. Results fr om this study could be also be used to provide a demographic profile of the leaders of agricultural organizations. Furthermore, future leaders would benefit greatly by having knowledge of the barriers they may encounter when seeking promotion in future pro fessions. This area of interest has further relevance because a research gap currently exists pertaining to the identification of career barriers in the agriculture industry. Career barriers have been researched in a variety of organizations and contexts, none of them involving agriculture. Leadership scholars have not extensively analyzed these types of firms in research studies so there are still many questions yet to be answered pertaining to the perceived factors which influence a promotion decision F urthermore, the role of underrepresented group members in agricultural organizations has not been extensively analyzed. Agricultural organizations in the southeastern region of the United

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21 States would benefit greatly from the successful execution of this s tudy given the lack of research connected to promotion practices in these groups. Definition of Terms Defi ning the following terms are crucial to understanding the theories surrounding this study and the pending results. AGRICULTURAL ORGANIZATION For the purpose of this study, agricultural organizations are defined as organizations, public, private, and non profit, whose primary purpose is to serve, promote, sell an agricultural good, or provide an agricultural service to individuals involved in the agricu lture, horticulture, aquaculture, forestry, and turf industries. BARRIER THEME For ease of presentation, specific career barriers sharing a common subject or central idea will be placed into barrier theme groups. For example, career barriers discussing h ow family might prevent promotion would be categorized under the family barrier theme. In essence, barrier themes are comprised of specific career barrier items. CAREER BARRIER A career barrier is defined as an event or condition, either within a person o r in his/her environment that may make ascension or promotion difficult (Lent, Brown, & Hackett, 2000). FACTOR GROUP Barrier themes are categorized based on one of three factor groups; person, contextual, and experiential. These factor groups are based on the researcher developed conceptual model and previous research conducted by Lent, Brown, and Hackett (1994). GLASS CEILING. The term nthetic advancement barriers for women and minorities to leadership and management positions (Federal Glass Ceiling Commission, 1995). LEADER PROMOTION The rise of an organizational leader to a higher leadership position within the same company, or the advancement of a non leader employee to a leadership position. NATIONAL RESEARCH AGENDA. The Na tional Research Agenda (NRA) was assembled to provide a list of priorities for researchers in the fields of agricultural education, agricultural communication, and agricultural leadership to address. The second version was released in 2011 and highlights s ix areas of research interest for these disciplines. UNDERREPRESENTED GROUPS Mehra, Kilduff, and Brass (1998) imply that underrepresented groups refer to minorities that have representation within a

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22 group that is disproportionate to the greater population Traditionally, underrepresented groups have been comprised of individuals from diverse racial or ethnic backgrounds (Mehra, Kilduff, & Brass, 1998). Recently, this term has grown to include women (Mehra, Kilduff, & Brass, 1998). Limitations Several limi tations exist within this study. First, due to the fact that specific criteri a were used to choose the sample group, results are not g eneralizable past organizatio ns within the agriculture industry This stems from the convenience and purposeful sampling m ethod that was used to select the sample group Furthermor e, the experts selected for this study do not represent agricultural leaders statewide, as these partic ipants were graduates of a leadership development program at the University of Florida. As a re sult, the insight from these individuals might be different from the insight received through surveying other agricultural leaders in the field. Instead, the sample group will form a The sample group will identify career barriers in the agric ulture industry only. Therefore any conclusions should be strictly applied to groups with adequate or inadequate representation in agricultural organizations. Result s are also limited because all participants are located in the southeastern region of the United S tates. Findings will not be applicable to other regions. Due to the fact that a 5 participants may have knowle dge of conditions where the statement could be true or false. It is also important to note that this study examines the perceived career barriers to promotion for leaders in agricultural organizations. Therefore the results should not be us ed to establish a list of barriers that actually prevent promotion in agriculture.

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23 Assumptions The first assumption for this study is the honest completion of all questionnaires by the sample group. The next assumption is that participants will respond to all items conta ined within the questionnaires. Furthermore, it is assumed that respondents will include all perceived career barriers they are aware of in their answers to the first round questionnaire. The final and most substantial assumption is that the participants, having been informed what constitutes a career barrier, qualify as experts based on their personal experiences with career barriers and are therefore eligible to complete the Chapter Summary Chapter 1 introduced the extent to which change has taken place in work environments in recent history. Trends in the selection or hiring of underrepresented group members to leadership positions in agricultural and non agricultural organizations were also examined. Career barriers were posited the obstacles encountered by underrepresented group members when seeking promotion in this type of firm The r esearch question and purpose of the stud y were also identified in C hapter 1 The research question asked, An additional research question was posed regarding leader perceptions of career barriers for underrepresented group members. The purpose of this study was t agricultural organizations in the southeastern region of the United States This study will be used to determine the top perceived career barriers encountered by leaders in the agriculture industry. Sp ecial attention will be paid towards barriers involving underrepresented groups.

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24 CHAPTER 2 LITERATURE REVIEW Chapter Introduction Chapter 1 introduced the need for researching the status of underrepresented groups as leaders in agricultural organizatio ns. The purpose of this study was to determine the perceived career barriers encountered by leaders seeking promotion in perceived career barriers encountered by leader s when seeking promotion in the A secondary research question asked of career barriers encountered by members of underrepresented groups when seeking bjectives were derived from this research question: To develop a cumulative list of perceived career barriers to promotion in the agriculture industry by surveying agricultural organization leaders To gauge the level of agre ement for each perceived barrier to promotion according to the same group of leaders in the agriculture industry To form consensus around the top perceived barriers to promotion in the agriculture industry To determine leader perceptions towards career barriers involving underrepresented groups This C hapter will present past empirical research related to Social Cognitive Career Theory (SCCT) and associated topics. Leader member exchange (LMX) applicability to this line of research is also presented. Existing research regarding c areer barriers in other contexts will be included as well. The researcher developed conceptual model will present several sets of factors that can positively or negatively impact a promotion decision within an agricultural organization. Finally, leadership within an

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25 agricultural context will be examined. Results from this study will inform the agricultural community as of the perceived career barriers faced by leaders in the industry when seeking promotions. Theoretical Framework Social Cognitive Career The ory (SCCT) Social cognitive career theory is a broad framework which explains how interest development, career choice, and performance are influenced by the interactions between self efficacy, outcome expectations, and goals and demographic variables, contextual factors, and life experiences (Lent, Brown, & Hackett, 1994). Lent, Brown, and Hackett (1994) determined three social cognitive mechanisms tied to career development: self efficacy, outcome expectations, and goal representations. Bandura (1986) suggests important reciprocal relationships between all three of these factors. Self efficacy Bandura (1986) defines self to organize and execute courses of action required to attain designated types of efficacy is seen as a dynamic set of self beliefs which interact complexly with certain personal, behavioral, and contextual factors (Lent, Brown, & Hackett, 1994). Self belief sets tend to vary between different social settings (Len t, Brown, & Hackett, 1994). In order to work effectively, social cognitive theory suggests of efficacy (Bandura, 1991). Outcome expectations Outcome expectations refer to what the perceived consequences of a particular action will be (Bandura, 1986) and have been shown to make substantial contribution s

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26 to vocational choice (Lent Brown, & Hackett, 1994). Outcome expectations have been identified as an important componen t of SCCT, despite the fact it has been under researched (Gore & Leuwerke, 2000; Swanson & Gore, 2000). Lindley (2005) examined the relationship between self efficacy and outcome expectations and how these two variables impact career choice. The study sur veyed 225 undergraduate students (111 women, 112 men, and 2 not reporting) in introductory psychology and political sciences classes at a midsized Southern university. Results showed a positive significant relationship between perceived barriers impacting their career development and their outcome expectations, most notably for women. In other words, perceived barriers impacted how desirable females perceived the consequences of pursuing certain vocations would be. Goal representations A goal may be defin ed as the drive to affect a future outcome by participating in certain activities (Bandura, 1986). Goals are the instruments by which individuals can organize and direct their behavior and sustain that behavior over long periods of time subsequently increa sing the likelihood that desired results will be achieved (Lent, Brown, & Hackett, 1994). Social identity Although not considered a vital component by researchers in previous publications, social identity would also factor into social cognitive career th eory. Social component and social component (Gecas, Thomas, & Weigert, 1973). The personal component is a

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27 resultant of personality, physical, and intellectual traits (Ashforth & Mael, 1989). The social component is derived from relevant group memberships including sex, race, class, and nationality (Ashforth & Mael, 1989). Unlike the personal component, the social component involves extensive processes of self categorization into social group ). Leader Member Exchange (LMX) Dansereau, Graen, and Haga (1975) is credited with developing the original theories related to leader member exchange These researchers sought to challenge two key assumptions stemming from extant leadership models in that time period. The f irst assumption submits that followers of a particular leader are so homogenous in relevant dimensions (perceptions, interactions, and reactions) that they can be categorized as a single unit (Dansereau, Graen, & Haga, 1975). The second assumption states that on an individual level, a leader behaves in the same way when interacting with each group member (Dansereau, Graen, & Haga, 1975). Dansereau, Graen, and Haga (1975) cite these two statements as the reasons why leadership research had been so stagnant for twenty years. In order to challenge convention at the time and prove these assumptions were invalid, they offered an alternative explanation of the relationship between leaders and followers. Dansereau, Graen, and Haga (1975) posited that the vertical dyad linkage between leaders and members should be examined to further understand the leadership process. The strength of a vertical dyad grows over time as the leader and member engage in role making activities (Dansereau, Graen, & Haga 1975). Graen and Uhl Bien (1991) discussed leadership making as a subsidiary of LMX theory. Leadership making suggests that a leader should establish high quality LMX

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28 relationships with all employees as oppose to a select few. Leadership making posits t hat the creation of high immediate workgroup and reach an organizational level, allowing for the formation of strong work networks (Graen & Uhl Bien, 1995). In the end, such networks can be extremely h Bien, 1995). Although not explicitly stated in the literature, barriers undoubtedly exist which can promotion as part of the leadership making process. Carrier Barriers A career barrier is defined as an event or condition, either within a person or in his/her environment that may make ascension or promotion difficult (Lent, Brown, & Hackett, 2000). I n the context of socia l cognitive career theory perceived career barriers Even though one may have high self efficacy for a particular career, positive outcome expe ctations for that career, and congruent interests, one may still for three factors to influence the career decision process at the individual level : person (race, g ender, ability), contextual (opportunity structure, support structure, discrimination), and experiential (social persuasion, modeling, prior experiences with su ccess or failure) (Lent, Brown, & Hackett, 1994). Furthermore, these categories were found to mo derate relationships between self efficacy, outcome expectations, and goal representation (Swanson, Daniels, & Tokar, 1996).

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29 Career barriers for underrepresented groups In the past, career barriers have been used to understand the career development of und errepresented groups such as women and people of color (Luzzo, 1993, 1995; Luzzo & McWhirter, 2001; McWhirter, 1997; McWhirter, Torres, & Rasheed, 1998; Swanson, Daniels, & Tokar, 1996). Sorcher and Brant (2002) observed during the promotion or hiring proc ess, leaders tend to prefer other leaders with traits and experiences comparable to their own. As a result, promising individuals are bypassed due to gender, race, ethnic, cultural, academic, geographical, economic, or socioeconomic reasons, hereby uninten tionally creating career barriers for these individuals (Sorcher & Brant, 2002). Although not explicitly designated in previous career barriers studies, organizational demography represents a very potent external career obstacle. Characteristics such as segregation, discrimination and group composition factor into how effectively individuals are able to attach to social groups (Ely, 1995). In several instances, the overrepresentation of white men in leadership positions has devalued the role of women and nonwhite subordinates within those organizations (Konrad & Gutek, 1987; Pfeffer, 1989; Ridgeway, 1988). Other studies confirm that the predominance of white males in high status positions is unfavorable to the expected outcomes for women and ethnic minori ties (Petersik & Schneir, 1980; Tidball, 1974, 1980). McWhirter (1997) surveyed 1,139 Mexican American and Euro American high school juniors and seniors to determine ethnic and gender differences in perceived educational career barriers. Data was found t hypotheses. In regards to their future jobs, females were more likely than males to anticipate gender discrimination as a barrier to their professional ambitions. However,

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30 females were less likely to anticipate eth nic discrimination in comparison to their male counterparts. As for ethnicity, Mexican Americans were more likely than Euro Americans to anticipate gender and ethnic discrimination in their future jobs. Furthermore, Mexican Americans were less confident th an Euro Americans that they could overcome these barriers in order to attain their career goals. Henry (2006) surveyed 97 postgraduate medical students from a Midwestern university. Of the 97 participants, 75 were women, 82 were African Americans, and 15 were Hispanic. Contributors were asked to respond to a 31 item questionnaire pertaining to career barriers encountered during medical school and anticipated barriers when seeking a job (Henry, 2006). Respondents indicated a very strong likelihood that they will experience discrimination because of their race and/or sex as part of their future job as a physician (Henry, 2006). Although respondents were confident they model of car eer intervention with ethnic minorities to help these individuals attain successful careers as physicians. Conceptual Model The researcher developed a conceptual model (Figure 2 1) to show the factors influencing leader promotion This model has split these factors into three distinct categor ies based on work by Lent, Brown, and Hackett (1994). These factor groups include person, contextual, and experiential. Each set of factors can impact leader promotion in a variety of ways. Th e bottom part of the model shows the factors influencing the leader promotion decision. These factor sets were obtained from previous work conducted by Lent, Brown, and Hackett (1994). Lent, Brown, and Hackett (1994) used these same factor

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31 groups to explai n how an individual would make a career decision. However, for this model they have been applied to the promotion decision that would be made by leaders within an organization. Figure 2 1. Factors influencing leader promotion conceptual model Person factors are defined as the individual differences between persons (Lent, Brown, & Hackett, 1994). Although individual differences are given the strongest consideration, cultural dissimilarities are also qualified under this factor group (Lent, Brown, & Hackett, 1994). Contextual factors are de s cribed as the experiences that shape interests and choices and the factors that make up the opportunity and support structure (Lent, Brown, & Hackett, 1994). Certain environmental events such as r choice and could therefore

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32 influence the promotion process as well. Finally, experiential factors are characterized by four sources; personal performance successes or failures, vicarious learning (observation of others or mentorship), social persuasion and certain physiological states and reactions (Lent, Brown, & Hackett, 1994). The chosen outcome for this conceptual model is the promotion of a leader. Leader promotion is defined as the progression of a leader to a higher position within the same organ ization, or the advancement of a non leader employee to a leadership position. as oppose to employee hiring or leader hiring. Within each of these factor groups, there are a multitude of barrier themes that can also be used to categorize specific barriers. Instead of expressing each barrier individually, they will be expressed using the appropriate barrier theme. Agricultural Leadership A line of research within leadership st udies focuses on the agriculture industry, leaders within agriculture, and agricultural organizations. This study falls under the umbrella of for this area of inquiries. For this reason, it is crucial to provide further context to this study by examining a gricultural leadership in greater detail. Programs emphasizing leadership in an agricultural context are approaching eighty years of existence (Kelsey & Wall, 2003). Agricultural leadership programs in the past have aimed to help rural citizens cope with change and foster community involvement within the s ame group (Kelsey & Wall, 2003). In order to fully grasp the scope of leadership in an agricultural context, the concept must be examined from the educational and practical viewpoints.

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33 Agricultural Leader ship in Practice The development of leaders and agriculture begins at a very young age. Park and Dyer (2005) analyzed the relationship between attaining leadership positions in a college of agriculture and previous involvement with 4 H and/or FFA during mi ddle and high school. Results indicated that past 4 H and FFA members exhibited greater leadership potential when compared with the rest of the college of agriculture student population (Park & Dyer, 2005). Furthermore, former 4 H and FFA members indicated heavy involvement in leadership positions within college of agriculture student organization (Park & Dyer, 2005). Park and Dyer (2005) provided a glimpse of how participation in 4 college c areer and beyond. The agriculture industry is laden with advocacy and interest groups which provide unique leadership opportunities, challenges, and development programs. Matthews (2010) examined volunteer leadership in the United States beef industry and found several leadership trends tied to beef producers across many different states. Matthew s (2010) determined that a heart of service was the primary motivation for agricultural leaders Instead of being motivated by power or titles, they are drawn to le adership positions because they care about their ind ustry and they care about their personal livelihood as well as the livelihood of the organization which they are committed to erve as a leader for their industry (Matthews, 2010). Carter and Rudd (2006) explored the leadership expectations of county farm bureau board members in the state of Florida. Researchers assessed county farm and competence of several different

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34 scales. Competency sets considered include; leadership, political process, effective board, and knowledge of farm bureau. Findings from this study were instrumental in determining the development needs of agricultural le aders within grassroots organizations such as Florida Farm Bureau Federation. Teaching Agricultural Leadership A key progression for the expansion of agricultural leadership has been the increased number of academic programs offering classes in this area a long with statewide leadership development programs for practitioners. Agricultural leadership programs in formal education settings Love and Yoder (1989) suggested that colleges of agriculture nationwide were not providing enough leadership development op portunities to students. In order to rectify this leadership development gap for college students, faculty advisors should encourage advisees to participate in such activities, students should secure part time employment that develops their leadership skil ls, and departments within colleges of agriculture should implement required leadership development programs (Schumacher & Swan, 1993). Fritz et al. (2003) determined the extent of leadership education in departments of agricultural education in the United States. Twenty eight departments were found to be offering leadership courses, with two other departments planning to offer such courses in the fut ure. At the time, a total of eighty two leadership courses were being taught in departments of agricultural education. Of these eighty two courses, twenty four of them lead ership has emerged as a context specific area of emphasis within leadership education, which has now become a staple within agricultural education.

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35 Morgan, Rudd, and Kauffman (2004) determined the key elements of undergraduate and graduate agricultural lea dership programs by surveying thirteen experts in the field of agricultural leadership. These elements included specific coursework necessary for a degree, all resources needed to assemble a program, and an internship. Identifying the necessary components of an agricultural leadership was a key step in developing similar programs nationwide. Statewide agricultural leadership development programs In 1970, the California Agricultural Leadership Program (CALP) was established to address several concerns about the competitive of California agriculture and the diverse contingent of leaders involved in the industry (Whent & Leising, 2003). Data indicated that program participants had experienced positive growth in several parts of their lives, including leadershi p development. The CALP also enhanced the abilities of participants to connect with urban audiences when discussing agricultural issues. Another finding from the study showed that the benefits of the CALP were not being received by a large group of women a nd other minorities. In 1996, a similar program was established in New Jersey (Diem & Nikola, 2005). The New Jersey Agricultural Leadership Development Program (NJALDP) is a two year, Extension led program created to improve business, communication, and ma rketing skills and broaden the professional network of agricultural leaders in New Jersey. NJALDP graduates experienced benefits similar to that of the CALP program alumni including the ascension to leadership positions in dozens of organizations throughou t the state. The state of Florida also boasts a comparable program to that of New J ersey and California (Carter & Rudd, 2000)

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36 The benefits of agricultural leadership education for practitioners is evidenced by the numerous departments of agricultural educ ation incorporating agricultural leadership into their curriculum along with the three informal leadership education programs cited above. However, the individuals partaking in these leadership development programs must also apply what they have learned to their respective organizations. Several studies have analyzed agricultural organizations in order to contextualize leadership in an agricultural setting. Chapter Summary This C hapter reviewed the relevant extant literature pertaining career barriers in t he agriculture industry. A theoretical framework, conceptual framework, and study context were all introduced. Social cognitive career theory (SCCT), as developed by Lent, Brown, and Hackett (1994) was selected as the guiding theory for this study. SCCT explains how career decisions are impac ted by personal belief sets, expected outcomes and goal r epresentations (Lent, Brown, & Hackett, 1994 ). A career barrier is defined as an event or condition, either within a person or in his/her environment that ma y make ascension or promotion difficult (Lent, Brown, & Hackett, 2000). Several studies have been used to analyze existing career barriers for underrepresented groups. Dansereau, Graen, and Haga (1975) are credited with the original development of leader m ember exchange (LMX) theory. LMX theory asserts that the leadership process is a product of the relationship between a leader and their followers. The leadership making process as established by Graen and Uhl Bien (1991) was also briefly mentioned.

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37 Finall y, to apply context to the study, leadership was presented in an agricultural perspective. Agricultural leadership has been exemplified by practitioners within the industry, and has been the subject of multiple formal education efforts. Several informal ag ricultural leadership education programs have also been developed in specific states across the country. Furthermore, colleges and universities have begun teaching agricultural leadership in formal education settings within the last twenty years.

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38 CHAPTER 3 METHODOLOGY Chapter Introduction Chapter 1 discussed the underrepresentation of certain minority groups in today n the agricultu re industry. Also addressed in C hapter 1 is addresses the challenges of the 21 st ch objectives fulfill this need Chapter 2 introduced the theoretical and conceptual foundations for this study. The theoretical framework centers on social cognitive career theory and its connection to career barriers. A researcher developed conceptual mo del was presen ted based on a review of career barriers research. The link between leadersh ip and agriculture was discussed to provide context. This C instrumentation used, and how data was collected and analyzed. The purpose of the study was to determine existing career barriers within the agriculture industry. Research Design Consensus research methods have become an increasingly popular tool to help make collective decisions, define levels of agreement within a group, and address inconsistencies with data or findings (Fink, Kosecoff, Chassin, & Brook, 1984). Proponents of such methods assert that consensus techniques provide a structured setting in which experts provide justifiable an d credible information that would not have been extracted otherwise (Fink, Kosecoff, Chassin, & Brook, 1984). The origins of

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39 consensus methods can be traced back to 1948 with the original development of the Delphi method and has since grown to include othe r methods such as nominal group, the state of the art approach, and others (Fink, Kosecoff, Chassin, & Brook, 1984). Even though consensus methods can feature the collection of quantitative data, such studies are classified as qualitative (Jones & Hunter, 1995). After carefully examining all methodological options for consensus studies, the Delphi method was selected as the most appropriate for this study. The Delphi technique turns opinion in consensus by way of group facilitation and a multistage proce ss (Hanson, Keeney, & McKenna, 2000). Under the guise of anonymity, consensus is developed through a series of iterations where participants provide feedback or data on items submitt ed by other group members (Ludwi g, 1994). These iterations are more common ly referred to as rounds (Ludwig, 1994). In theory, the Delphi technique can continue for an indefinite number of rounds until consensus is obtained (Hsu & Sandford, 2007). However, studies have confirmed that three rounds is normally sufficient to achieve consensus ( Ludwig, 1994, 1997; Cyphert & G ant, 1971; Brooks, 1979; Custer, Scarcella, & Stewart, 1999). The first round typically features an open e nded questionnaire soliciting information about a special content area (Hsu & Sandford, 2007). After categ orizing the responses from the first round, panelists are asked to provide their level of agreement for each one in the second round (Moore, 1987). Usually this is measured by using a Likert type scale (Moore, 1987). Finally, priori items for the third round are determined by setting an acceptable mean score standard (Moore, 1987). In the third iteration, experts state if they agree or disagree with the priori from the second round (Moore,

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40 1987). Consensus for an item is reached when the level of agreement surpasses a predetermined threshold (Moore, 1987). Further rounds may be required if consensus cannot be attained (Hsu & Sandford, 2007). In some Delphi studies, participants are asked to provide reasoning for possessing a dissentin g opinion (Hsu & Sandford, 2007). Such was not the case with this study. To illustrate how the Delphi technique was applied to this study, please see Figure 3 1. Another unique component of the Delphi technique is the emphasis placed on proper selection o f a research problem and sample group (Hanson, Keeney, & McKenna, 2000). Subject selection is widely viewed as the most important step in formulating a Delphi study due to the potent link between the topic and the sample group (Judd, 1972; Taylor & Judd, 1 989; Jacobs, 1996). As mentioned previously, the Delphi method involves the gathering of opinions from experts within a specific discipline (Hsu & Sandford, 2007). With this in mind, individuals should be considered eligible for the Delphi study if their b ackgrounds and experiences relate directly to the target issue (Oh, 1974). This is the guiding principle for selecting Delphi subjects since previous literature has not explicitly outlined other criteria to consider during this process (Hsu & Sandford, 200 7). Fink, Kosecoff, Chassin, and Brook (1984) assert that the reliability and validity of the consensus method research has not been empirically confirmed. Reliability refers to the ability to produce the same study results under the same conditions (Agres ti & Finaly, 2009). Very little evidence exists to suggest Delphi studies are reliable (Hanson, Keeney, & McKenna, 2000). Instead, the legitimacy of findings is audited based on the same criteria used to evaluate qualitative r esearch (Lincoln & Guba, 1985)

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41 Figure 3 1. Flowchart of Delphi model as applied to this study A diverse group of leaders representing different ages, genders, organizations, and industry sectors What are the career barriers encountered by leaders in the agriculture industry? Two questions were used to develop initial barrier list What barr iers have you experienced? What barriers have you seen experienced within your firm? Bar riers with a mean less than 2.8 were culled for the final round Participants were asked to indicate their agreement or disagreement All first round responses were included in second round questionnaire Participants asked to rate their level agreement with each barrier on a five point Likert scale Definition of problem First round of Delphi Selection of experts Results analyzed for agreement and degree of consensus Barriers with a level of agreement greater than 75% are made a priori Third round of Delphi Second round of Delphi Pilot Study Study was pilot tested on Class VIII to determine the validity and reliability of responses

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42 These criteria include; credibility, applicability, consistency, and confirmability (Lincoln & Guba, 1985). Validity, on the other hand, refers to the ability of a construct to measure what it is supposed to measure (Agresti & Finaly, 2009). With the Delphi technique, validity is controlled by selecting a sample group with knowledge of the research subject, conducting the study in concurrent rounds, and most importantly by the re sponse rates for each round (Goo dman, 1987). Population and Sample The population for this study was leaders of agricultural organizations in the southeastern region of the United States. Agricultural organizations, as they apply to this study, referred to any public, private, and non profit organization whose primary purpose was to serve, promote, or sell a good or service to individuals involved in the agriculture, horticulture, aquaculture, turf, forestry, or natural resource industries. Leaders for these organizations can be sel f organizational chart. A sample group for this study was purposively selected from the population. Purposive sampling refers to the inclusion of individuals because of specific knowledge they possess regarding a part icular subject (McMillan & Schumacher, 2010).The sample group was the current cohort (C lass VIII) and alumni of the University of ( WLIANR ). This group was selected due to their ease of access for the researcher and s Established in 1991, the Wedgworth Leadership Institute ( WLIANR ) is an agricultural based leadership development program designed to train individuals in the agriculture industry to become more effective leaders. WLIANR is sponsored by the

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43 The initiative two month program involving nine local seminars in the state of Florida, one seminar in Washington, D.C., and an international seminar. The WLIANR has graduated se ven classes, with the Class VIII currently in progress. Participants represent a diverse array of backgrounds, experiences, and organizations which are perfect for researching leaders of agricultural firms in the southeast region of the United States. The two hundred alumni of the WLIANR and thirty members of C lass VIII combine to form a sample group of two hundred and thirty individuals Instrumentation Several questions were prepared in order to acquire basic information about each of the respondents. Gender was classified as male or female, age was identified as a number (in years) entered by participants, and tenure with their respective organization w as also a number (in years) provided by participants. Respondents were also asked to designate whether or not they held a leadership position in their respective organization. Race was self identified as either: Asian Pacific Islander, African American, Hi spanic, Caucasian/Non Hispanic, or Other. Finally, respondents identified which sector of the agriculture industry their organization associates with. Options included: Beef cattle Dairy Poultry Swine Grain Production Horticulture

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44 Forestry Peanuts Lending Seed Fruit and Vegetable Production Agrochemical Interest Groups/Advocacy Other First round questions regarding the barriers participants perceived to have experienced and barriers they have seen expressed in their organization, were both researcher selected ( items can be found in Appendix C ). The first round questionnaire was pilot tested with the WLIANR C lass VIII to determine item validity. Upon review of the pilot test results, the questions garnered anticipated responses and were employed in the study. The following questions were used to gather initial career barrier responses in the first round: Based on your own set of personal promotion experiences (scenarios in which you have been promoted), what barriers did you perceive to have experienced that hindered your promotion or prospects for promotion? Please list the barrier, and provide no more than a one sentence description of the barrier. Example: Family= having two kids at home have prevented me from advancing in my career Based on your own set of personal observations, what barriers have been discussed by other members of your organization during the promotion process or have actually prevented a leader from being promoted within your organization? Please list the barrier, and provide no mor e than a one sentence description of the barrier. Example: Education level= an applicant did not have the appropriate degree required for promotion The second and third round questionnaires were comprised entirely of participant submitted responses from the previous round, a technique consistent with the Delphi design ( items can be found in Appendix D and Appendix E ). In the second round, contributors were asked to rate their level of agreement with the barriers identified in the

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45 first round. A five point around the remaining career barriers. This was accomplished by asking participants if they agreed or disagreed with the responses retained from the second round. Data Collection The items and scales that comprised the questionnaires for all three rounds (Appendix A) were synthesized into electronic format through the use of Qualtrics. Qualtrics is an online surve y development software engine that aids academic researchers, private companies, consulting agencies, and public firms with the creation of internet surveys. The Department of Agricultural Education and Communication at the University of Florida purchased a license to use Qualtrics and made it readily available to graduate students, staff, and faculty for use in research projects. An online survey was selected for multiple reasons. First, compared with hard copy surveys distributed through the mail, online surveys are more cost efficient and easier to distribute. Second, in order to accommodate the busy schedules of the respondents, an online survey permitted individuals to quickly complete the survey or to start the survey and return to complete it later, if necessary. Finally, an online survey allowed for the researcher to easily provide the sample group with reminders to complete the survey. Prior to collecting data, a proposal to conduct this study was submitted to the University of Florida Institutional Review Board (IRB). IRB approval was obtained on October 7, 2011 (Approval of Protocol #U 989) (Appendix A ). In accordance with IRB protocol, an i nformed consent form (Appendix B ) was provided to all respondents, outlining the risks, benefits, protocol, and purpose of the study.

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46 Permission to use the WLIANR alumni and current members was sought from the Wedgworth program director on September 12, 2011. Upon obtaining approval from the program director, email lists were requested for the alumni group and for the current class. Class VIII members were notified of their involvement in the pilot study on September 13, 2011. The questi onnaire link for the pilo t study was distributed to the C lass VIII members on September 16, 2011 and was closed on September 30, 2011 for analysis. Class VIII was selected because of their availability and the frequency of contact between the program direc tor and the class members. Following the guidelines for the Delphi method (Moore, 1987), three rounds of questionnaires were distributed over a two month period dating October, 2011 to December, 2011. The questionnaires for each round were available for a period of two weeks, with a one week intermission between each round to allow time for data analysis and questionnaire construction for the upcoming round. After each link had been available for one week, an email containing a thank you message and frien dly reminder was sent to the participants by the WLIANR program director in order to show gratitude for those who have submitted their responses and encourage further participation by those who have not. An initial email informing the sample group of their participation in the study was sent on October 1, 2011. Informed consent was requested from all study participants prior to beginning the first round only. The first round instrument was distributed to the sample group on October 11, 2011 and closed on Oc tober 26, 2011. The second round questionnaire was prepared after analyzing the barriers conveyed by the sample group in the first round. The link was then distributed on November 4, 2011 and the

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47 questionnaire was closed on November 18, 2011. After culling the responses based on the priori guidelines, the questionnaire for the final round was developed. The last survey was distributed on November 25, 2011 and closed on December 9, 2011. A final thank you message was distributed, along w ith study results, on March 15 2012. Data Analysis Data analysis for this study took place at three different junctures, or more specifically, after each round of data collection. Under the Delphi method, each response provided in the first round was included in the second r ound questionnaire. Since the responses from the pilot study were deemed valid and reliable, they were also included as items in the second round questionnaire. Second round answ ers had to obtain a mean of 2.8 in order to be considered a priori and qualify for the final round. In the third round, consensus was assumed to be reached when a barrier obtained a 75% agreement level. Second and third round responses were summarized using select measures of central tendency, which were mean () and standard deviat common data analysis tools. The mean of a population is the quotient of the sum of all observations divided by the number of observations (Agresti & Finaly, 2009). Standard deviation measures the variability of data from the mean ( Agresti & Finaly, 2009). Demographic items such as age and number of years with an organization were also examined using mean and standard deviation. Other demographic variables such as ethnicity, gender, possession of a leadership role, and agriculture i ndustry sector were described using their frequency ( f ). Frequency is defined as the number of responses for a given value (Agresti & Finaly, 2009).

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48 Definition of Career Barrier Themes After the first round of data collection, each response was analyzed a nd placed into a career barrier them e group. This allowed for the elimination of duplicate barriers, and also resulted in ease of categorization into the factor groups expressed in the researcher developed conceptual model. The following are the criterion and definiti on for 32 barrier themes identified in this study. Definitions were constructed based on the central, recurring ideas that were evident within a barrier theme (in essence, what part of that barrier theme prevented an applicant from being promot ed?). AGRICULTURAL BACKGROUND. B arriers associated with background in the agriculture industry or lack thereof. BUSINESS STRUCTURE F actors associated with the structure of a business, which serve as hindrances to promotion CLIENTLE T he clientele or stakeholders for a firm playing into the decision making process for a promotion COMPANY SIZE T he size of a company, be it too small or too large, act as a barrier to promotion COMPANY SUPPORT A n organization does not offer support or acce ss to resources which can lead to promotion CREDIT RATING C their prospects for promotion DRIVING RECORD C record can reduce prom otion prospects ECONOMY D escribes barriers related to the current state of the national economy and its impact on hiring or promotion decisions EDUCATION B attended, degree received or not r eceived, or lack of specialized training ETHNICITY F EXCLUSION B eing excluded from a particular group within a firm

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49 EXPERIENCE B k of specific work experience, or other professional experience considerations FAMILY F amily obligations which act as barriers FEAR C GENDER F promotion HIRING PRACTICES A IMPORTS D ecreased business volume as a result of foreign imports IMMIGRATION C oncerns over immigration status and/or statutes INDUSTRY STRUCTURE I ndustry characteristics create barriers for promotion JOB PERFORMANCE A merit promotion LACK OF REPLACEMENT C an equivalent replacement if current position is v acated MENTOR B organization, or lack of a mentor NEPOTISM P rimarily affiliated with family operations, nepotism refers to how family members have priority in the promotion process whe n compared with non family members OFFICE POLITICS I ntra office conflict or competition which can act as barriers PERSONAL DECISIONS P ast transgressions and personal errors which work against an applicant in the promotion process PROMOTION CRITERIA. S pecific criteria for promotion acts as a barrier REGULATION G overnment regulations resulting in promotion complications RELOCATION B arriers associated with having to relocate as part of a promotion. RESPONSIBILITY N o desire to have responsibilities as sociated with promotion or concerns over ability to adequately handle such responsibilities SKILL SET L ack of particular skills necessary for promotion TENURE H aving been with an organization for a brief period of time, compared with applicants who hav e been there longer

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50 WORK ENVIRONMENT D esire for a particular work environment (field job versus desk job for example) or trouble meshing with new work team YOUTH C Chapter Summary This C hapter summarized the methodol ogy needed to fulfill th e study objectives outlined in C hapter 1 The research design was described as qualitative and features a consensus method known as the Delphi technique. The population is comprised of agricultural leaders in the southeast region of the United States, from which a Wedgworth Leadership Institute for Agriculture and Natural Resources. After completing a pilot study for the first questionnaire, three it erations of data collection took place over a two month period from October 2011 to December 2011. Data analysis was conducted after each round, with consensus for a group of career barriers being successfully reached after the third round.

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51 CHAPTER 4 RESU LTS Chapter Introduction The purpose of this study was to accrue the first ever list of career barriers encountered by leaders in the agriculture industry. Chapter 1 provided an appraisal of diversity efforts in the 21 st century workplace. The current state of diversity within the agriculture industry was also discussed. The To develop a cumulative list of perceived career barriers to promotion in the a griculture industry by surveying agricultural organization leaders To gauge the level of agreement for each perceived barrier to promotion according to the same group of leaders in th e agriculture industry To form consensus around the top perc eived barriers to promotion in the agriculture industry To determine leader perceptions towards career barriers involving underrepresented groups Chapter 2 introduced the theoretical and conceptual foundations of this study. Social cognitive career theory (SCCT) was identified as the core theory for the study, although SCCT, leader member exchange theory, and career barriers research all contributed to its conceptual model. A review of literature as it relates to agricultural leadership provided context fo r the study. Chapter 3 research design, population and sample, instrumentation, data collection procedures, and techniques for data analysis were discussed.

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52 This C hapter will present the findings of this study. First, the demographics of respondents will be introduced, after which the response rates will be discussed, followed by the presentation of results for each study objective. Demographics of Respondents Six demographic question s were poised to the sample group. Participants were asked their gender, ethnicity, age (in years), tenure with current organization (in years), agriculture industry sector represented, and classification as leader or non leader. Table 4 1 features a summa ry of all demographic data collected for this study. When asked to report their gender, 71% ( n and 29% ( n Participants were asked to report their age (in years) at the time of sampl ing. The average age for all respondents was 44 years, with 79% ( n =47) being older than 35. 14.5% ( n =8) of participants were under the age of 35. Respondents had the opportunity to indicate their ethnicity as; Caucasian/Non Hispanic, Asian/Pacific Island er, African American, Hispanic, or Other (text entry). An overwhelming majority of respondents ( n =54 or 93.1 %) identified themselves as having a Caucasian/Non Hispanic ethnicity, with 5.2% ( n =3) self identifying as Hispanic and the remaining individual ide ntifying with an American ethnicity Study participants have also been with their current organizations for extended periods of time. When asked to enter the number of years respondents have been with their current firm, 86% ( n =50) indicated they have be en with their current organization for more than five years, with the average tenure length being 13.9 years.

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53 Table 4 1. Frequency and percentage of respondents by demographic characteristics Demographic Characteristic f Percentage Gender Male 41 71% Female 17 29% Age Between 25 and 34 8 14.5% Between 35 and 44 23 41.8% Between 45 and 54 21 38.1% 55 and over 3 5.4% Ethnicity Caucasian/Non Hispanic 54 93.1% Hispanic 3 5.2% American 1 1.7% Tenure with Current Organization Under 5 years 8 13.7% Between 5 and 14 years 24 41.3% Between 15 and 24 years 18 31.0% Over 25 years 8 13.7% Agriculture Industry Sector Horticulture 16 28.1% Fruit/Vegetable Production 15 26.3% Agrichemical 5 8.8% Forestry 5 8.8% Beef Cattle 4 7.0% Lending 3 5.3% Advocacy 1 1.8% Dairy 1 1.8% Feed 1 1.8% Pest Management 1 1.8% Publishing 1 1.8% Sales 1 1.8% Seed 1 1.8% Sugar 1 1.8% Wildlife and Natural Resources 1 1.8% Leadership Position in Organization Yes 49 86.0% No 8 14.0% Note: Demographic data was collected after the first and third iterations, the first r ound data is reflected in this T able.

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54 The sample group was provided with a list of common agricultural sectors and asked to select the one their current organization is most affiliated with. As anticipated, the respondents provided a wide distribution of agricultural sectors, with a total of fifteen being represented. Horticulture had the largest contingent within the sample group ( n =16 or 28.1%), followed closely by fruit and vegetable production ( n =15 or 26.3%). When asked whether or not they held a leadership position within their current organization, 86% ( n n =8) indicated they do not. Response Rate The population for this study was leaders of agricultural organizations in the southeastern region of the United States. The current class and previous seven classes of the Wedgworth Leadership Institute for Agriculture and Natural Resources were selected as the sample group to r epresent this population. Following the data collection proce dures described in Chapter 3 the two hundred thirty individuals contained within this sample group were surveyed over a two month period using electronic questionnaires generated through the use of Qualtrics. As indicated in T able 4 2, response rates per round exhibited some variance. Round two showed the greatest number of responses ( n =60) and subsequently the highest response rate of 26.1%. Round three, the iteration that results in consensus amongst the sample group had the lowest number of responses ( n =48). Table 4 2. Response rate per round Round n Response Rate Missing Round One 58 25.2% 172 Round Two 60 26.1% 170 Round Three 48 20.8% 182

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55 Objective Results The following pages will examine the data collection results for each study objective as described in this C Objective One: To develop a cumulative list of perceived career barriers to promotion in the agriculture industry by surveyin g agricultural organization leaders Consistent with the me thods described in Chapter 3 participants were asked two open ended questions in order to identify perceived career barriers they have experienced when seeking promotion and career barriers they h ave seen expressed in their organization when others have been seeking promotion A career barrier is defined as an event or condition, either within a person or in his/her environment that may make ascension or promotion difficult (Lent, Brown, & Hackett, 2000). Respondents were given two weeks to submit their career barriers before the round one questionnaire was closed for analysis. When reviewing the submissions, barriers were categorized based on their theme For example, if a barrier involves family After categorizing the round one results it was found that twelve career barriers appeared m ore than twice. Table 4 3 indicates the most common barrier types discussed by respondents in the first round of data collection. Business structure emerged as the most commonly identified barrier in the first round ( n =16), followed closely by education ( n =14) and experience ( n =14). All career barriers identified in round one were carried over to the second round.

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56 Table 4 3. Round o ne r esults Objective Two : To gauge the level of agreement fo r each perceived barrier to promotion according to the same group of leaders in the agriculture industry In round two, participants were asked to rate their level of agreement with each barrier on a five point Likert Scale with endpoi nts 1 (strongly disagree) and 5 (strongly agree). Barrier duplicates were excluded from the questionnaire, and the phrasing for each one featured the classification from the first round along with the descriptions originally provided by the respondents. Pr ior to beginning the questionnaire, participants agriculture industry as a whole, as oppose to within their specific organization. The sample group was given two weeks to complete their ratings for the second round. Table 4 4 shows the number of each barrier type included in the round two questionnaire. Family was the most frequently aske d barrier in the second round ( f =7), with education, business structure, and gender being second most common barri er types in the questionnaire ( f =6). It is import ant to distinguish the data in Table 4 4 from the data T able 4 3. Table 4 3 presents the number of times a barrier type was Career Barrier Theme Responses* Business Structure 16 Education 14 Relocation 14 Family 11 Experience 11 Skill Set 10 Gender 8 Economy 7 Nepotism 7 Youth 5 Agricultural Background 4 Fear 3 Note. n =58. Career barriers identified by only one or two participants are not included in this list, but were included in Round Two.

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57 mentioned in the first round of sampling. However, if a barrier type was frequently mentioned in the same context, then it would not appear as often in the round two questionnaire. For example, business structure was the common barrier type found in the first round of data collection; however only six items in the round two questionnaire pertained to business structure as a barrier. This suggests the responses in round one used business structure in a similar manner. Table 4 4. Number of i tems for e ach b arrier t heme in r ound t wo q uestionnaire Career Barrier T ype f Family 7 Education 6 Business Structure 6 Gender 6 Experience 5 Skill Set 5 Economy 3 Office Politics 3 Barriers only found once or twice in the round two questionnaire were not included in this table but were included in the questionnaire. Table 4 5 contains the means and standard deviations for all items measured in the second round of data collection. These barriers have been sorted in descending order according to their mean values. Three of the top seven results from round two came from the skill set category. After analyzing the means and standard deviations for all values, it was determined that barriers with a mean below 2.8 should be prohibited from moving on to the final round. After analyzing the second round data, it was determined that seven barriers should be excluded from the final round questionnaire.

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58 Table 4 5. Round t wo r esults Career Barrier Job performance an applicant has not shown the ability to perform in their current job and therefore will not be considered for promotion 4.07 .96 Skill set failure to exhibit good leadership skills was an obstacle for an applicant seeking promotion 4.05 .85 Skill set applicant lacked the necessary people skills in order to succeed in new leadership position 3.95 .98 Family some family members are given preferential treatment within a business 3.90 1.07 Economy due to the economy, baby boomers are staying in their current position instead of retiring, which has limited the available promotion opportunities 3.86 .93 Relocation inability or unwillingness to take a leadership position in a different area within Florida, in a different state, or in another country 3.82 1.00 Skill set applicants did not have the proper skill set or understanding of their job in order to be considered for a promotion 3.82 .96 Company size not much potential for promotion in small companies 3.79 1.03 Nepotism i n a family owned business, advancement of family members has been more rapid than the advancement of other long term, non family employees 3.72 .94 Relocation having other agricultural obligations (land, livestock, or family farm for example) in addition to my career (an 8 5 job) made it difficult to accept a promotion where I would have to relocate 3.68 1.05 Economy my organization is not promoting anyone due to the economy (several have been laid off) 3.68 1.15 Responsibility although worthy of promotion, an applicant lacked specific responsibility traits 3.68 .78 Business structure could not attain promotions because an organization can only have so many leaders before it becomes top heavy and inefficient 3.66 .97 Responsibility employee did not want to take on the responsibilities which came with being promoted 3.66 .92 Experience lack of specific experience in the job I was being considered for 3.65 .9 0 Experience not receiving promotion because I seemingly didn't have eno ugh management experience 3.63 .77

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59 Table 4 5. Continued Career Barrier Economy company clients were closing their businesses because of the economy and as a result there was too much competition in the area 3.61 .93 Experience applicant did not have enough experience to accompany their upper level degree 3.61 .96 Family required travel would have prevented me from spending time with my family 3.58 1.00 Family working for a family owned company and not being a family member made it difficult for me to advance 3.55 1.16 Immigration inability to promote an employee due to immigration status 3.46 1.21 Tenure another employee was selected for a promotion because they had been with the company for a longer period 3.44 .91 Clientele consideration of clientele and/or stakeholders would prevent a person or certain type of person from being promoted 3.43 .83 Skill set poor written and verbal communication skills hindered my ability to advance within an organization and within the i ndustry 3.38 1.43 Business structure company is currently not growing, so my upward mobility is limited 3.38 1.02 Office politics not having the blessing or approval of the incumbent leader prevented my promotion 3.35 .81 Personal decisions poor strategic choices, cash flow difficulties, and failure to exert the required effort hindered my ability to advance 3.33 1.24 Youth young age was a factor in receiving promotions despite having an equal experience level as other applicants who were older 3.32 .95 Education did not possess the appropriate education in necessary fields 3.32 .92 Gender being female, I was the parent primarily responsible for raising children 3.3 0 .85 Imports low prices on foreign agricultural products have hurt my business and the number of promotions available 3.28 1.05 Exclusion applicant was not part of the "in" group within an organization 3.26 .97 Company size don't want to deal with the bureaucratic issues that come with working for a large company in co rporate America 3.25 1.06

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60 Table 4 5. Continued Career Barrier Office politics person being considered for promotion did not have someone in management sponsoring them 3.25 .92 Mentor lack of a mentor within the organization 3.25 1.14 Industry structure agriculture remains a "good ol' boy" network and professional alliances are harder to establish if you are not part of that group 3.25 1.17 Business structure family business has no advancement opportunities available unless a sibli ng resigns 3.24 1.01 Work environment not willing to go from a position in the field to an office job 3.23 .96 Office politics unwillingness to "play the game" and do whatever is possible to advance myself over other people 3.18 .98 Licensing did not have the proper licensing or documentation needed for promotion 3.18 1.12 Job description job description and necessary qualifications were too vague 3.18 .97 Family being primarily responsible for home and child care makes it difficult to dedica te time to my career outside normal business hours 3.15 1.13 Education lack of upper level degree relevant to the position being pursued 3.12 1.03 Experience having strong experiences in one area of agriculture (production for example) and very little experience in another (harvesting) 3.11 .86 Gender women who are pregnant while working will not be promoted as quickly 3.11 .88 Business structure leadership is not willing to promote or develop new upper level positions to make better use of and reward my skill set 3.1 0 1.07 Gender being female in a male dominated industry 3.07 1.06 Driving record having too many points on my license was a challenge 3.07 1.05 Gender lack of female role models in the agriculture industry 3.05 1.1 0 Skill set inability to speak another language which was necessary for a promotion 3.04 1.07 Gender being female makes it more difficult to participate in outside social events (hunting, golfing, and fishing for example) that build business relationships, especially with males. 3.02 1.16

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61 Table 4 5. Continued Career Barrier Youth leaders perceived me as incompetent because I was young and therefore did not consider me for promotion 3 .00 1.02 Business structure organization leader wants to keep all other employees at an equal level, despite drastic differences in skill sets. 2.98 1.08 Business structure not promoting non family employees in order to leave positions open for family members 2.97 1.08 Hiring practices instead of hiring from within, leadership prefers to bring in new employees to provide new ideas and perspectives 2.96 1.03 Experience gaining experience was a challenge for me, despite it being necessary to advance to the next level 2.95 .96 Promotion criteria the requirements for promotion set forth by management are unobtainable and any employees who voice their disagreement with these policies is less likely to be promoted 2.95 1.08 Lack of replacement no one available to replace me in my current position if I accepted a promotion 2.93 1.08 Regulation the massive amounts of government regulation makes promoting employees difficult in some instances 2.93 1.05 Fear afraid to take a big risk by being promoted 2.93 1.15 Education not having a college degree in an agricultural field was an obstacle for me 2.92 .92 Agricultural background not being raised on a farm or with an agricultural background hurt my perceived credibility and hindered my advancement opportunities within the agriculture industry. 2.88 1.09 Education having an upper level degree (masters for instance) when organization leaders did not 2.88 .85 Family wanting to raise a family in a community versus a metropolitan area has limited my advancement opportuniti es 2.88 1.08 Education attending institutions outside of the industry norm 2.83 .77 Company support a company does not support the time or effort required to have an employee be more involved 2.83 1.06 Credit rating possessing a poor credit rating hindered my advancement opportunities 2.69 .96

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62 Table 4 5. Continued Career Barrier Family tending to sick family members has caused me to be bypassed for promotions 2.68 1.03 Ethnicity minority applicants took precedence during the promotion process 2.54 .98 Gender leadership would never seriously consider a female for top position 2.48 1.11 Education 2.44 1.00 Ethnicity applicant was not promoted due to their ethnicity 2.4 0 .86 Family having a relative who has been successful in the industry has challenged my ability to succeed in their shadow 2.33 .91 Note: n = 60

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63 Objective Three: To form consensus around the top perceived barriers to promotion in the agriculture industry The purpose of the final round in Delphi studies is form consensuses around the items submitted in the previous two rounds and eventually settle on the top responses. In round three, participants were asked to ind icate on a dichotomous scale whether or industry. A dichotomous scale in this instance would allow the respondents to form consensus around the top barriers in the agricult ure industry. Table 4 6 indicates the number of items for each barrier type that were included in the final round questionnaire. These barrier themes were counted according to frequency. The family ( n =5), education ( n =5), and gender ( n =5) barrier types al l experienced some attrition between rounds. Business structure ( n =6), experience ( n =5), skill set ( n =5), economy ( n =3), and office politics ( n =3) retained all items related to their respective barrier types. Table 4 6. Number of i tems for e ach b arrier t he me in r ound t hree q uestionnaire Barrier Type f Business Structure 6 Family 5 Education 5 Gender 5 Experience 5 Skill Set 5 Economy 3 Office Politics 3 Note: Barriers only found once or twice in the round three questionnaire were not included in this table but were included in the questionnaire assuming they met the necessary conditions for inclusion.

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64 Table 4 7 contains the agreement percentages for all items evaluated in the final round instrument. A total of 66 barrier s were rated by the sample group with 27 of these barriers reaching the threshold of 75% in order to be considered a priori This percentage was selected in order to achieve a smaller, more select group of top perceived career barriers in agriculture. 66% is another standard used to determine consensus in Delphi studies. If applied to this study, this number would result in 31 top barriers instead of 27. Table 4 7. Round t hree r esults Career Barrier Agreement % Skill set poor written and verbal communication skills is a hindrance to advancement within an organization and within the industry 98% Skill set failure to exhibit good leadership skills was an obstacle for individuals seeking promotion 96% Skill set applicants did not have the proper skill set or understanding of their job in order to be considered for a promotion 95% Experience lack of specific experience in the job individuals are being considered for 93% Skill set applicant lacked the necessary people skills in order to succeed in new leadership position 93% Relocation having other agricultural obligations (land, livestock, or family farm for example) in addition to a career (an 8 5 job) made it difficult to accept a promotion where applicants would have to relocate 9 1% Personal decisions poor strategic choices, cash flow difficulties, and advance 90% Education did not possess the appropriate education in necessary fields 89% Family some family members are given preferential treatment within a business 89% Job performance an applicant has not shown the ability to perform in their current job and therefore will not be considered for promotion 88% Business structure could not attain promotion s because an organization can only have so many leaders before it becomes top heavy and inefficient 87% Company size not much potential for promotion in small companies 86% 86%

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65 Table 4 7. Continued Career Barrier Agreement % Economy organizations are not promoting anyone due to the economy (several have been laid off) 86% Office politics not having the blessing or approval of the incumbent leader can prevent promotion 86% Responsibility although worthy of promotion, an applicant lacked specific responsibility traits 86% Responsibility employee did not want to take on the responsibilities which came with being promoted 86% Nepotism in a family owned business, advancement of family members has been more rapid than the advancement of other long term, non family employees 84% Business structure company is currently not growing, so upward mobility is limited 83% Relocation inability or unwillingness to take a leadership position in a different area within Florida, in a different state, or in another country 83% Experience applicants do not have enough experience to accompany their upper level degree 82% Business structure family business has no advancement opportunities available unless a sibling resigns 80% Ex perience not receiving promotion because of lack of management experience 79% Family working for a family owned company and not being a family member makes it difficult to advance 79% Economy company clients were closing their businesses because of the economy and as a result there was too much competition in the area 77% Family being primarily responsible for home and child care makes it difficult to dedicate time to a career outside normal business hours 77% Family required travel would prev ent applicants from spending time with their families 77% Threshold for priori items Licensing did not have the proper licensing or documentation needed for promotion. 73% Clientele consideration of clientele and/or stakeholders would prevent a person or certain type of person from being promoted. 72% Company size don't want to deal with the bureaucratic issues that come with working for a large company in corporate America. 70%

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66 Table 4 7. Continued Career Barrier Agreement % Work environment not willing to go from a position in the field to an office job. 70% Business structure not promoting non family employees in order to leave positions open for family members. 65% Experience gaining experience is a challenge for individuals seeking promotion, despite it being necessary to advance to the next level. 65% Business structure leadership is not willing to promote or develop new upper level positions to make better use of and reward employees' skill sets. 64% Driving record individual having too many points on their license is a challenge. 64% Education lack of upper level degree relevant to the position being pursued. 64% Gender females being primarily responsible for child care has limited promotion opportun ities. 64% Business structure organization leader wants to keep all other employees at an equal level, despite drastic differences in skill sets. 63% Lack of replacement no one available to replace an employee if they are promoted. 63% Office politics person being considered for promotion did not have someone in management sponsoring them. 63% Imports low prices on foreign agricultural products have hurt business volume and the number of promotions available. 62% Education not having a college degree in an agricultural field is an obstacle for individuals seeking promotion. 61% Gender women who are pregnant while working will not be promoted as quickly. 61% Mentor lack of a mentor within the organization. 61% Skill set inability to speak another language which was necessary for a promotion. 61% Tenure another employee was selected for a promotion because they had been with the company for a longer period. 61% Youth leaders perceived applicants as incompetent because they are young and therefore they were not considered for promotion. 61% Fear afraid to take a big risk by being promoted. 59% Company support a company does not support the time or effort required to have an employee be more involved. 58% Immigration ina bility to promote an employee due to immigration status. 58%

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67 Table 4 7. Continued Career Barrier Agreement % Agricultural background not being raised o n a farm or with an ag. background can hurt a person's credibility and hindered their advancement opportunities within the agriculture industry. 50% Family wanting to raise a family in a community versus a metropolitan area limits advancement opportunities. 50% Youth young age was a factor in receiving promotions despite having an equal experience level as other applicants who were older. 50% Industry structure agriculture remains a "good ol' boy" network and professional alliances are harder to establish if you are not part of that group. 49% Gender being female in a male dominated industry. 47% Hiring practices instead of hiring from within, leadership prefers to bring in new employees to provide new ideas and perspectives. 47% Job description job description and neces sary qualifications were too vague. 45% Exclusion applicant was not part of the "in" group within an organization. 44% Experience having strong experiences in one area of agriculture (production for example) and very little experience in another (ha rvesting). 44% Gender being female makes it more difficult to participate in outside social events (hunting, golfing, and fishing for example) that build business relationships, especially with males. 44% Office politics unwillingness to "play the game" and do whatever is possible to advance themselves over other people. 44% Promotion criteria the requirements for promotion set forth by management are unobtainable and any employees who voice their disagreement with these policies are less likely to be promoted. 43% Gender lack of female role models in the agriculture industry. 42% Regulation the massive amounts of government regulation makes promoting employees difficult in some instances. 40% Education having an upper level degree (masters for instance) when organization leaders did not. 30% Education attending institutions outside of the industry norm. 28% Note: n = 48 Several barrier types were featured multiple times in the final career barriers list. Each barrier type and their respective frequency ar e shown in T able 4 8.

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68 Table 4 8. Frequency for each barrier theme in final career barriers list Barrier Type f Skill Set 4 Family 4 Experience 3 Economy 3 Relocation 2 Business Structure 2 Responsibility 2 Education 1 Personal Decisions 1 Job Performance 1 Company Size 1 Office Politics 1 Nepotism 1 Objective F our: To determine leader perceptions towards career barriers involving underrepresented group Table 4 9. Examination of b arriers for underrepresented g roups Round 2 Round 3 Career Barrier n Agree Agreement % Ethnicity minority applicants took precedence during the promotion process 2.54 .98 N/A N/A Ethnicity applicant was not promoted due to their ethnicity 2.40 .86 N/A N/A Gender being female, I was the parent primarily responsible for raising children 3.30 .85 28 64% Gender women who are pregnant while working will not be promoted as quickly 3.11 .88 27 61% Gender being female in a male dominated industry 3.07 1.06 21 47% Gender lack of female role models in the agriculture industry 3.05 1.10 19 42% Gender being female makes it more difficult to participate in outside social events (hunting, golfing, fishing for example) that build business relationships, especially with males 3.02 1.16 20 44% Gender leadership would never seriously consider a female for top position 2.48 1.11 N/A N/A

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69 Perceived career barriers for underrepresented group members were of particular interest in this study. Table 4 9 examines the perceived career barriers for underrepresented groups in greater detail. The mean and standard deviation statistics from the seco nd iteration are presented along with the third round agreement levels, assuming that the barrier qualified based on the conditions for advancement A mean score of 2.8 was required for inclusion in the final round questionnaire, and an agreement percentag e of 75% was required to be considered a priori Demographic data was collected at two intervals for this study. Demographic data was collected with the first iteration to represent the initial response group and in the final iteration to create a profile of the group providing consensus opinions for each career barrier. More specifically, the third round demographic data was of interest when analyzing the responses to barriers for underrepresented groups. Table 4 10 contains the demographic data for questi ons pertaining to gender and ethnicity. Table 4 10 Third round demographic data Demographic Characteristic f Percentage Gender Male 25 58% Female 18 42% Ethnicity Caucasian 37 86% Hispanic 2 5% Asian/Pacific Islander 1 2% American 1 2% Scottish American 1 2% Caucasian/Hispanic 1 2%

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70 While the number of female participants was almost unchanged from the first round to the third round ( n =17 and n= 18 respectively), the number of make participants fell dramatically from n =41 to n =25. Caucasian remained the dominant ethnicity in the third round ( n =37 or 86%) followed by Hispanic ( n =2 or 5%). Three participants provided alternative ethnicities not included in the questionnaire. Chapter Summary Chapter 4 conveyed the results from data co llection in this study. First, a summary of the previous c hapters was presented, followed by a description of the respondent demographics. Next, response rates for each Delphi round were examined. Finally, each study objective was described in detail befor e presenting the empirical findings for all three objectives Prior to presenting the data t ables in rounds two and three, figures indicating the barrier types that appeared most frequently in each round were provided. Upon completion of the third round, c onsensus had been formed around the top career barriers in the a griculture industry as seen in T able 4 7. Table 4 9 and Table 4 10 examined barriers related to underrepresented groups and the demographics for the final round of data collection.

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71 CHAPTER 5 CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS Chapter Introduction Chapter 1 for this study provided an appraisal of diversity in the United States workforce for employees and leaders alike. Special emphasis was placed on how research question, purpose, objectives significa nce, limitations, and all necessary assumptions were also presented. Chapter 2 summarized the relevant extant literature for this study. Social cognitive career theory (SCCT) was posited as the guiding theory for this study. A review of career barriers res earch leader member exchange (LMX) research was also discussed. A researcher developed conceptual model was presented and leadership in agricultural setting provided context for the study. Chapter 3 outlined the methodology for this research inquiry. The d esign featured three unique rounds of data collection, a trademark of the Delphi technique. Affiliates of the Wedgworth Leadership Institute for Agricu lture and Natural Resources were selected as the sample group for this study. The career barrier theme gr oups used to organize all responses were defined along with the other data analysis methods. Chapter 4 highlighted the results of data collection. The demographics of respondents and response rates were discussed initially, followed by detailed outlines of the results for each study objective. This C hapter will elaborate upon the data collection results. The study objectives will be examined in greater detail followed by implications and recommendations for pra ctitioners and researchers

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72 Purpose and Objectives The purpose of this study in ag ricultural organizations in the southeastern region of the United States This study sought to identify the top perceived barriers to promotion within the agriculture industry by surveying a panel of experts. Furthermore, leader perceptions of barriers rel ated to underrepresented groups, if submitted by the sample group, will be examined in greater detail. Collection of basic demographic data will provide a profile of leaders within the agriculture industry in the southeastern region of the United States. T his study was guided by the following objectives: To develop a cumulative list of perceived career barriers to promotion in the agriculture industry by surveying agricultural organization leaders To gauge the level of agreement for each perceived barrier t o promotion according to the same group of lead ers in the agriculture industry To form consensus around the top perc eived barriers to promotion in the agriculture industry To determine leader perceptions towards career barriers i nvolving underrepresented g roup Methodology The methodology for this study featured the Delphi technique. Data was collected in three iterations over a two month span. The first round consisted of two open ende d questions regarding perceptions of experienced career barriers and obse rved career barriers. All responses from the first round were retained for the second round questionnaire. Upon the completion of the second round, answers that did achieve a mean level of agreement of 2.8 were culled for the final round. After the final i teration items that achieved an agreement percentage of 75% were considered a priori

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73 Individuals affiliated with the Wedgworth Leadership Institute for Agriculture and Natural Resources comprised the sample group for this study. Summary of Findings Demog raphics of Respondents Six demographic questions were poised to the sample group. Participants were asked; their age, gender, ethnicity, number of years with their current organization, which industry sector they were affiliated with, and whether or not th ey were considered a leader within their organization. All demographics data was self reported by this The average age for all respondents was 44 years old, with n= 47, or 79%, being older than the age of 35. A vast majority of respon dents ( n= 41 or 71 %) identified with the male gender. Caucasian was the dominant ethnicity selected by respondents. 95%, or n= 54, fell into this category. The average organization tenure length was 13.9 years, with 86%, or n= 50, indicating they have been with their current organization longer than five years. The largest agriculture industry sectors represented in the sample group were horticulture ( n= 16 or 28.1%) and fruit and vegetable production ( n= 15 or 26.3%). An overwhel ming n= 49 or 86%) indicated they were leaders in their current organization. Response Rate The response rate varied from round to round. It was determined that the entire sample group was comprised of 230 individuals. The largest response rate was experienced in the second round, where 26.1% ( n= 60) of eligible participants completed

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74 the questionnaire. The lowest response rate came in the third round, where 20.8% ( n= 48) of eligible participants responded. Hsu and Sandfo rd (2007) acknowledged the potential for low response rates is a serious shortcoming of the Delphi technique. Most Delphi panels involve between 15 and 35 experts, however the size of the sample group may exceed that threshold (Gordon, 2004). Researchers s hould ultimately strive for a response rate between 35% and 75% (Gordon, 2004). So despite achieving low response rates for this study, the sample group size and number of responses still exceeds the established standard for Delphi studies and should not b Objective One: To develop a cumulative list of perceived career barriers to promotion in the agriculture industry by surveying agricultural organization leaders This objective sought to assemble a comprehensiv e list of perceived career barriers within the agriculture industry. Two open ended questions were asked regarding the career barriers an individual perceived to have experienced, and career barriers they perceived others to have experienced within their o rganization Twelve career barrier themes were expressed more than twice within the responses for the first round. Barriers that fell under the business structure theme were expressed the most by first round participants. Barriers that could be classified according to the educa tion and relocation themes both received 14 responses. The family, experi ence, and skill set themes rec eived 11, 11, and 10 responses respectively. Objective Two : To gauge the level of agreement fo r each perceived barrier to promotion according to the same group of leaders in the agriculture industry First r ound answers were split into 32 distinct barrier theme groups. After all, non duplicate responses within these theme groups were carried over to the second round

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75 questionnaire; participants provided their level of agreement on a five point Likert scale Participants evaluated a total of 73 specific career barriers. Based on their mean scores, the top r ated career barriers came from the job performance, skill set, family, and economy theme groups. Barriers with a mean below 2.8 were culled for the final round questionnaire. This resulted in the removal of seven barriers. Objective Three: To form consensu s around the top perceived barriers to promotion in the agriculture industry Item retention for the final round questionnaire was very high, with 90% of all barriers reaching the mean threshold of 2.8. As a result, the sample group had a total of 66 barri ers to evaluate in the third iteration. All barriers assigned to the business structure, experience, skill set, economy, and office politics theme groups were retained for the final round. These were the only theme groups with three items or more in the qu estionnaire that could make such a claim. In this round, respondents were asked to provide whether they agreed or griculture industry as a whole. Items that obtained an agreement level of 75% or more were deemed a priori The skill set theme group managed to have four of the top five career barriers based on agreement level. Barriers from the experience, relocation, and personal decision theme groups also had barriers which reached a 90% agreement level. A total of 27 career barriers were deemed a priori This means consensus was obtained for 41% of career barriers in the final round questionnaire and 37% of the original career barriers list assembled after the first round.

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76 Objective Four: To determine leade r perceptions towards career barriers involving underrepresented groups Since special emphasis was placed on career barriers related to underrepresented groups, these items were analyzed separate of the other barriers. The applicable theme groups for this objective were gender and ethnicity. Only two barriers were identified for the ethnicity theme group, both of which did not advance to the third round. Furthermore, the two ethnicity items were among the five lowest scoring barriers with means of 2.4 and 2 .54. Six barriers were recognized for the gender theme group, five of which advanced to the final round questionnaire. In the second round, these six items obtained a collective mean of 3.0 However, in the final round, none of the five barriers achieved an agreement level high enough to be considered a priori The average agreement percentage among the five gender items in the final round questionnaire was 51.6%. Demographic data was collected at the end of the third round questionnaire in order create a profile of respondents providing consensus opinions. When compared to the demographic from the first round, gender was the only characteristic that displayed substantial changes. While the number of female participants held steady at 18, the number of male respondents dropped from n= 41 to n= 25, a 29% reduction. Caucasian remained the dominant ethnicity constituting 86% ( n= 37) of the responses. Object ive Conclusions After reviewing the data from this study, the following conclusions were drawn: The majority of leaders within the agriculture industry are male The majority of leaders within the agriculture industry are Caucasian Leaders within the agricu lture industry tend to stay with the same organization for extended periods of time

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77 Objective One: To develop a cumulative list of perceived career barriers to promotion in the agriculture industry by surveying agricultural organization leaders When asked to identify perceived career barriers that have been personally experienced or perceived barriers that have been experienced by others, the business structure theme group was mentioned the most ness to relocate, family, and experience level were cited frequently Participants provided a variety of perceived barriers as responses, leading to a diverse set of barrier theme groups Objective Two : To gauge the level of agreement for each perceived barr ier to promotion according to the same group of leaders in the agriculture industry perceived barrier to promotion in the agriculture industry based on the round two responses Three of the top seven perceived career barriers were from the skill set theme group indicating that this area is held in high regard during the promotion process Objective Three: To form consensus around the top perceived barriers to promotion in the agricultur e industry The highest level of consensus for the entire study was attained by four career barriers within the skill set theme group The skill set and family barrier themes achieved the highest frequency of responses on the final career barriers list Obje ctive Four: To determine leader perceptions towards career barriers involving underrepresented groups Although not mentioned in large quantities, perceived career barriers pertaining to underrepresented group members were acknowledged in some form in the first round of data collection Although five out of six barriers were retained for the third round of sampling, o pinions regard ing the gender theme group were neutral in the second round questionnaire Perceived barriers from the gender theme group are not thought to prevent promotion for leaders within the agriculture industry Perceived b arriers from the ethnicity theme group are not thought to prevent promotion for leaders within the agriculture industry

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78 Discussion and Implications Lent, Brown, and Hackett (1994) asserted that many factors could influence the career decision process at the individual level These factor groups, person, contextual, and experiential, brought together the concept of career barriers for individuals and Social Cognitive Career T heory (SCCT) also developed by Lent, Brown, and Hackett (1994). This theory states that when that when the fore mentioned factor groups interact self efficacy performance outcomes, and goals, the end result is a career choice for the individual (Lent, Brown, & Hackett, 1994). SCCT, although developed to explain career decisions at the individual level, has yet to expand to the organizational level in order to explain Social Cognitive Career Theory was the inspiration fo r the researcher developed conceptual model. This model sought to apply the factor groups identified by Lent, Brown, and Hackett (1994) in an organizational context, with the sole outcome being the promotion of a leader with in an organization. As seen in F igure 5 1, the same factors that were found to influence the career decision process for an individual were also applicable for organizations Furthermore, almost all examples provided by researchers in previous literature were revealed in the data collect ion process. For this study, barrier themes were used to help categorize career barriers with common central ideas. 32 distinct barrier themes were identified in this study, each of which were placed into the appropriate factor groups in accordance with d escriptions provided by Lent, Brown, and Hackett (1994). The fact that each theme could be categorized into these factor groups hel ps to confirm the applicability of Social Cognitiv e Career Theory. Figure 5 2 presents the results of this categorization pro cess.

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79 Figure 5 1. Factors influencing leader promotion conceptual model

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80 Figure 5 2 Categorization of barrier themes into appropriate factor groups

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81 In addition to the advancement of s ocial c ognitive c areer t heory in an organizational setting, this study also revealed other significant findings. Demographically, leaders in agricultural organizations appear to be male and Caucasian by an overwhelming margin based on the data collection While this may have been an unspoken truth within the industry for many decades, research h as yet to empirically confirm this statement. Additionally, leaders tend to remain with these organizations for extended periods. second and third round of this study. More sp ecifically, the experts explicitly stated written and oral communication skills, people skills, and leadership skills were areas of need. Crawford et al. (2011) conducted a study assessing the skill clusters employers are seeking in new baccalaureate degree recipients. Students, faculty, al umni, and employers all stated the communication skill cluster was the most important for new graduates (Crawford et al. 2011). This study corroborates the work by Crawford et al. (2011) in ter ms of the need for soft skill development. Five skill set barriers were identified after the first round of data collection, and all five reached a mean level that was deemed suitable for advancement after the second round. Four out of these five barriers were made a priori in the final round of this study. The level of priority given to these barriers suggests a gap in the abilities of prospective leaders within agricultural organizations. Gender and ethnicity barriers yielded several intriguing findings Perceived b arriers tied to ethnicity were not expressed in abundance in the first round of data collection, receiving only two tallies from all respondents. In the second round, both ethnicity

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82 barriers received very low mean scores, which resulted in the ir removal in the final as a career barrier to potential leaders. However, the lack of diverse racial representation in the sample group suggests this statement should remain inconclusive and not definitive. Responses to gender barriers were much different. Experts identified six career barriers related to gender, five of which advanced to the third iteration. However, none of these five barriers were made a priori. Upo n examining the third responses further, it was determined that the number of agreements for the gender barriers mirrored the number of female respondents. This was not the case for two of these gender barriers, which received higher agreement percentages. However, both items dealt explicitly with females being responsible for childbearing and being the primary care taker of children within a family. This suggests that gender, much like ethnicity, does not act as a career barrier within the agriculture indus try, except when duties related to traditional gender roles are involved. This line of research did not suggest that any of these barriers directly influence the leadership making process, yet leader member exchange theory is still applicable to the result s of this study. Dansereau, Graen, and Haga (1975) suggested that the quality of LMX relationships established between leaders and followers can vary, which can cause the formation of in groups and out groups based on these LMX bonds. Demographics from thi s study suggest leadership within agricultural organizations is relatively homogenous, which can make in group inclusion very difficult to obtain. As the

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83 member of the out group within a team or organization, promotion becomes a much greater challenge. Car eer barriers research as it relates to underrepresented groups was not advanced substantially as a result of this study because the underrepresented groups were not present in large numbers within the sample group. National Research Agenda This research co ntributed to the advancement of priority three of the National Research Agenda. PRIORITY 3 Sufficient scientific and professional workforce that addresses the challenges of the 21 st century (p. 9). The specific areas of scientific focus within this prior ity included: Developing the models, strategies, and tactics that best prepare, promote, and retain new professionals who demonstrate content knowledge, technical competence, moral boundaries, and cultural awareness coupled with communication and interpers onal skills (p.9) Creation of programs that develop the skills and competencies necessary to improve the communications and knowledge sharing effectiveness of all in the agriculture related workforces of societies (p.9). The first area of scientific is tied to this study in several ways. First and most importantly, this focus area emphasizes the preparation promotion and retention of professionals with sound communication and interpersonal skills. This need is echoed within this study by results from the third round of data collection. Experts placed a strong emphasis on leaders being potentially hindered by a lack of communication (both written and oral) and leadership skills. Although this study does not offer models, strategies, or tactics to help with the preparation of new professionals, it certainly

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84 validates the statement that interpersonal and communication skills are a crucial part of becoming an effective leader. Cultural awareness is another area of interest for this research priority. Cultu ral exposure to beliefs, customs, and norms not of their own. Diversity, or lack thereof, is evidenced in this study through the lack of variation in the ethnicity responses, and the dominance of the male gender. Furthermore, consensus was not obtained for any of the ethnicity or gender barriers mentioned in the first round. This suggests a monoculture within the industry. However, it is worth acknowledging that the respondents represented a wide array of education levels, backgrounds, and areas of specialization within agriculture. Content kno wledge and technical competence are the other components of the first area of scientific focus. Both areas are discussed in this study, o ften through the education and experience barrier themes. While several education and experience career barriers achieved the necessary consensus level, their level of agreement could not compete with those achieved by the skill set barriers. In summary, this study showed significant connections to the National Research Agenda based on the mutual importance placed on interpersonal skills, communication skills, diversity, cognitive ability, and technical competence. Recommendations The purpose of this study was to identify the perceived career barriers in the agriculture industry. The results and conclusions for this study have yielded several recommendations for practitioners and researchers.

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85 Recommendations for Practice To address concerns regarding the sk ill set of potential leaders, it is recommended that agricultural organizations expand their leadership development efforts for employees and leaders alike Employers should offer workshops in order to develop the written and oral communication skills of f uture leaders Academic curricula at the college level are not exempt from modification. Such adjustments should focus more on the development of communication, leadership, and people skills as oppose to technical knowledge. To rectify the gap in gender an d ethnic diversity in leadership positions, organizations should actively recruit and retain leaders from these underrepresented groups. Furthermore, the leadership development opportunities available to these individuals should parallel those available to others. In order to generate a more diverse workforce available for hiring, recruitment and retention efforts at the college level should also pursue similar efforts to bring in and graduate more underrepresented group members. Agricultural organizations should explore the hiring prospects at historically black colleges and universities with agricultural science programs in order to spur additional diversification within these firms. Targeted internships would be an excellent tactic for this objective. Int ernal or third party hiring audits would assist specific organizations in determining what factors actually influence a promotion decision if there are companies as oppos ed to family operations Recommendations for Research Future studies should examine the actual career barriers in the agriculture industry as oppose to the perceived barriers. This can be accomplished qualitatively through researcher immersion in the promo tion process or by completing a quantitative assessment of promotion decisions within these organizations. Organization employees should be surveyed to determine the barriers they perceive to their own promotion and then compared with the actual barriers t o their promotion as provided by organization leaders. Such a study could expose a gap between barriers experienced by employees and barriers perceived by leaders. Perceived career barriers for underrepresented groups were of particular interest in this st udy, however they were not targeted. Future research should seek out individuals within this demographic who are leaders in agricultural organizations

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86 and qualitatively determine the barriers they experienced as they ascended to a leadership position. Such a study might require assessment at a national level. The sample group was comprised of agricultural organization leaders affiliated with the Wedgworth Leadership Institute for Agriculture and Natural Resources. In agriculture industry, a future study should be conducted with the sample group being non WLIANR group members Since the agriculture industry is known to vary from region to region across the determine the extent to which its findings can be applied. Researchers should seek to dev elop a model to designate the most effective methods of developing the skill sets of agricultural organization members. Students with degrees in agriculture from historically black colleges and universities should be surveyed to determine what industries t hey are pursuing employment, or more specifically to determine if they are seeking employment outside of the agriculture industry. Chapter Summary This C hapter began with a brief summary of the purpose and objectives that guided this study, along with an overview of the methodology that directed the data collection and analysis. Next, the findings for each study objective were examined in greater detail, w hich leads into conclusions being drawn for each objective. These conclusions we implications as they relate to previous literature on career barriers and the researcher developed conceptual model. The conclusions f or each objective and the implications of this study ultimately resulted in a set of recommendations for practitioners and researchers. The relationship between this study and the National Research Agenda for agricultural education was also mentioned in a minor capacity.

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87 APPENDIX A UNIVERSITY OF FLORID A INSTITUTIONAL REVI EW BOARD PROTOCOL APPROVAL LETTER

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88 APPENDIX B UNIVERSITY OF FLORID A INSTITUTIONAL REVI EW BOARD INFORMED CONSENT FORM CONSENT FORM Purpose of the research study: The purpose of this stud y is to determine career barriers for leaders in the agriculture industry. What you will be asked to do in the study: In order to generate the first ever list of career barriers facing leaders of the agriculture industry; you will be partaking in a Delphi study. Delphi studies, by design, involve surveying a group of experts three times in order to form a consensus around results submitted by other participants. In the first round, you will be asked two open ended question s about career barriers you have encountered when trying for promotions and career barriers you have seen portrayed in your organization when promoting others. In the second round, you will be asked whether or not you agree or disagree with each response s ubmitted by participants in the first round. In the final round, using a five point Likert Scale, you will convey the level of agreement you have with the highest scoring answers from the second round. After the final round, the scores for each response wi ll be ranked in accordance with the values assigned by the participants thereby creating the list of career barriers facing agriculture industry leaders. Time required: 1 hour (cumulative over the span of three rounds). Risks and Benefits: There is mini mal risk involved with completing in this study. Participants will not receive any direct benefits by participating. Compensation: There will be no compensation offered for participation in this study. Confidentiality: Your identity will be kept confiden tial to the extent provided by law. The survey is completed anonymously, so your private information will never be viewed and your responses will only be identifiable through a code number generated by the survey development service. Your name or organizat ion name will not be used in any report.

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89 Voluntary participation: Your participation in this study is completely voluntary. There is no penalty for not participating. Right to withdraw from the study: You have the right to withdraw from the study at an y time without consequence. Whom to contact if you have questions about the study: Ryan Conklin, Graduate Student, Department of Agricultural Education and Communication Dr. Nicole Stedman, Associate Professor, Department of Agricultural Education and Communication Whom to contact about your rights as a research participant in the study: IRB02 Office, Box 112250, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611 2250; phone 392 0433. Agreement: I have read the procedure described above and voluntarily agr ee to participate in the procedure. Please print off a copy of this form for your records. By checking the box below, you consent to participating in all three rounds of this study.

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90 APPENDIX C DIRECTIONS AND QUEST IONS FOR FIRST ROUND QUESTIONNAIRE Thank y ou for agreeing to participate in this study. Your involvement and contribution is greatly appreciated! Organizational research in an agricultural context has not been addressed in great lengths by universities across the country. One area lacking in parti cular pertains to the leaders of agricultural organizations and the challenges they encounter when ascending to leadership positions. More specifically, these obstacles are identified as career barriers. A career barrier is defined as an event or conditi on, either within a person or in his/her environment that may make ascension or promotion difficult. So in promotion situations, leaders may encounter internal and/or external setbacks in seeking to advance their career. Career barrier research has prolife rated to a large number of industries in the United States, with agriculture coming as an exception. Rectifying this void in agricultural organization research can have far reaching benefits for practitioners and researchers in the industry. I am asking you to participate in a Delphi study that is designed to gain your expert opinion regarding existing career barriers within the agriculture industry. A Delphi study is conducted in three phases, normally over a span of three to four weeks. The first phase which is comprised of two open ended questions, is what you will be responding to in this questionnaire. Your answers to these questions will help form the first ever comprehensive list of career barriers facing agricultural leaders and will be crucial i n putting together the other two phases. Keeping in mind the aforementioned definition of a career barrier, please provide responses to the questions based on your unique set of organizational and leadership experiences. There is no minimum number of re quired answers, nor is there a maximum. Rather, it is strongly requested that you think through all possible barriers that you have witnessed or experienced in past promotion situations and provide them as responses. 1. Based on your own set of personal pro motion experiences (scenarios in which you have been promoted), what barriers did you perceive to have experienced that hindered your promotion or prospects for promotion? Please list the barrier, and provide no more than a one sentence description of the barrier. Example: Family= having two kids at home have prevented me from advancing in my career 2. Based on your own set of personal observations, what barriers have been discussed by other members of your organization during the promotion process or have a ctually prevented a leader from being promoted within your organization? Please list the barrier, and provide no more than a one sentence

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91 description of the barrier. Example: Education level= an applicant did not have the appropriate degree required for pr omotion 3. What is your gender? 4. What is your age (in years)? 5. With which ethnic group do you identify? 6. What sector of the agriculture industry does your organization most identify with? 7. How long (in years) have you been with your current organization 8. Do you hold a leadership position within your organization?

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92 APPENDIX D ROUND TWO RESULTS IN ALPHABETICAL ORDER Round two results in alphabetical order Career Barrier Agricultural background not being raised on a farm or with an agricultural background hurt my perceived credibility and hindered my advancement opportunities within the agriculture industry 2.88 1.09 Business structure company is currently not growing, so my upward mobility is limited 3.38 1.02 Business structure could not attain promotions because an organization can only have so many leaders before it becomes top heavy and inefficient. 3.66 .97 Business structure family business has no advancement opportunities available unless a sibling resigns 3.24 1.01 Business stru cture leadership is not willing to promote or develop new upper level positions to make better use of and reward my skill set 3.1 0 1.07 Business structure not promoting non family employees in order to leave positions open for family members 2.97 1.08 Business structure organization leader wants to keep all other employees at an equal level, despite drastic differences in skill sets 2.98 1.08 Clientele consideration of clientele and/or stakeholders would prevent a person or certain type of person from being promoted 3.43 .83 Company size don't want to deal with the bureaucratic issues that come with working for a large company in corporate America 3.25 1.06 Company size not much potential for promotion in small companies 3.79 1.03 Company support a company does not support the time or effort required to have an employee be more involved 2.83 1.06 Credit rating possessing a poor credit rating hindered my advancement opportunities 2.69 .96 Driving record having too many points on my l icense was a challenge 3.07 1.05 Economy company clients were closing their businesses because of the economy and as a result there was too much competition in the area 3.61 .93 Economy due to the economy, baby boomers are staying in their current position instead of retiring, which has limited the available promotion opportunities 3.86 .93 Economy my organization is not promoting anyone due to the economy (several have been laid off) 3.68 1.15 Education attending institutions outside of the industry norm 2.83 .77

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93 Career Barrier Education did not possess the appropriate education in necessary fields 3.32 .92 Education having an upper level degree (masters for instance) when organization leaders did not 2.88 .85 Education lack of upper level degree relevant to the position being pursued 3.12 1.03 Education degree or PhD 2.44 1.00 Education not having a college degree in an agricultural field was an obstacle for me 2 .92 .92 Ethnicity applicant was not promoted due to their ethnicity 2.40 .86 Ethnicity minority applicants took precedence during the promotion process 2.54 .98 Exclusion applicant was not part of the "in" group within an organization 3.26 .97 Experience applicant did not have enough experience to accompany their upper level degree 3.61 .96 Experience gaining experience was a challenge for me, despite it being necessary to advance to the next level 2.95 .96 Experience having strong experiences in one area of agriculture (production for example) and very little experience in another (harvesting) 3.11 .86 Experience lack of specific experience in the job I was being considered for 3.65 .9 Experience not receiving promotion because I seemingly didn't have enough management experience 3.63 .77 Family being primarily responsible for home and child care makes it difficult to dedicate time to my career outside normal business hours 3.15 1.13 Family having a relative who has been successful in the industry has challenged my ability to succeed in their shadow 2.33 .91 Family required travel would have prevented me from spending time with my family 3.58 1.00 Family some family members are given preferential treatment within a business 3.90 1.07 Family tending to sick family members has caused me to be bypassed for promotions 2.68 1.03 Family wanting to raise a family in a community versus a metropolitan area has limited my advancement opportunities 2.88 1.08

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94 Career Barrier Family working for a family owned company and not being a family member made it difficult for me to advance 3.55 1.16 Fear afraid to take a big risk by being promoted 2.93 1.15 Gender being female in a male dominated industry 3.07 1.06 Gender being female makes it more difficult to participate in outside social events (hunting, golfing, fishing for example) that build business relationships, especially with males 3.02 1.16 Gender being female, I was the parent pr imarily responsible for raising children 3.30 .85 Gender lack of female role models in the agriculture industry 3.05 1.1 Gender leadership would never seriously consider a female for top position 2.48 1.11 Gender women who are pregnant while working will not be promoted as quickly 3.11 .88 Hiring practices instead of hiring from within, leadership prefers to bring in new employees to provide new ideas and perspectives 2.96 1.03 Immigration inability to promote an employee due to immigration status 3.46 1.21 Imports low prices on foreign agricultural products have hurt my business and the number of promotions available 3.28 1.05 Industry structure agriculture remains a "good ol' boy" network and professional alliances are har der to establish if you are not part of that group 3.25 1.17 Job description job description and necessary qualifications were too vague. 3.18 .97 Job performance an applicant has not shown the ability to perform in their current job and therefore will not be considered for promotion 4.07 .96 Lack of replacement no one available to replace me in my current position if I accepted a promotion 2.93 1.08 Licensing did not have the proper licensing or documentation needed for promotion 3.18 1.12 M entor lack of a mentor within the organization 3.25 1.14 Nepotism in a family owned business, advancement of family members has been more rapid than the advancement of other long term, non family employees 3.72 .94 Office politics not having the blessing or approval of the incumbent leader prevented my promotion 3.35 .81 Office politics person being considered for promotion did not have someone in management sponsoring them 3.25 .92

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95 Career Barrier Office politics unwillingness to "play the game" and do whatever is possible to advance myself over other people 3.18 .98 Personal decisions poor strategic choices, cash flow difficulties, and failure to exert the required effort hindered my ability to advance 3.33 1.24 Promotion criteria the requirements for promotion set forth by management are unobtainable and any employees who voice their disagreement with these policies is less likely to be promoted 2.95 1.08 Regulation the massive amounts of government regulation makes promoting employees difficult in some instances 2.93 1.05 Relocation having other agricultural obligations (land, livestock, or family farm for example) in addition to my career (an 8 5 job) made it difficult to accept a promotion where I would have to relocate 3.68 1.05 Relocation inability or unwillingness to take a leadership position in a different area within Florida, in a different state, or in another country 3.82 1.00 Responsibility although worthy of promotion, an applicant lacked specific responsibility traits 3.68 .78 Responsibility employee did not want to take on the responsibilities which came with being promoted 3.66 .92 Skill set applicant lacked the necessary people skills in order to succeed in new leadership position 3.95 .98 Skill set applicants did not have the proper skill set or understanding of their job in order to be considered for a promotion 3.82 .96 Skill set failure to exhibit good leadership skills was an obstacle for an applicant seeking promotion 4.05 .85 Skill set poor written and verbal communication skills hindered my ability to advance within an organization and within the industry 3.38 1.43 Skill set inability to speak another language which was necessary for a promotion 3.04 1.07 Tenure an other employee was selected for a promotion because they had been with the company for a longer period 3.44 .91 Work environment not willing to go from a position in the field to an office job 3.23 .96 Youth leaders perceived me as incompetent because I was young and therefore did not consider me for promotion 3.00 1.02 Youth young age was a factor in receiving promotions despite having an equal experience level as other applicants who were older 3.32 .95 Note: n= 57

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96 APPENDIX E ROUND THREE RESULTS IN ALP HABETICAL ORDER Round three results in alphabetical order Career Barrier Agreement % Agricultural background not being raised on a farm or with an agricultural background can hurt a person's credibility and hindered their advancement opportunities within the agriculture industry. 50% Business structure company is currently not growing, so upward mobility is limited 83% Business structure could not attain promotions because an organization can only have so many leaders before it becomes top heavy and inefficient 87% Business structure family business has no advancement opportunities available unless a sibling resigns 80% Business structure leadership is not willing to promote or develop new upper level positions t o make better use of and reward employees' skill sets. 64% Business structure not promoting non family employees in order to leave positions open for family members. 65% Business structure organization leader wants to keep all other employees at an equal level, despite drastic differences in skill sets. 63% Clientele consideration of clientele and/or stakeholders would prevent a person or certain type of person from being promoted. 72% Company size don't want to deal with the bureaucratic issues that come with working for a large company in corporate America. 70% Company size not much potential for promotion in small companies 86% Company support a company does not support the time or effort required to have an employee be more involved. 58% Driving record individual having too many points on their license is a challenge. 64% Economy company clients were closing their businesses because of the economy and as a result there was too much competition in the area 77% Economy due to the economy, baby boomers are staying in their current position instead of retiring, which has limited the available promotion opportunities 86% Economy organizations are not promoting anyone due to the economy (several have been laid off) 86% Education attending institutions outside of the industry norm. 28%

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97 Career Barrier Agreement % Education did not possess the appropriate education in necessary fields 89% Education having an upper level degree (masters for instance) when organization leaders did not. 30% Education lack of upper level degree relevant to the position being pursued. 64% Education not having a college degree in an agricultural field is an obstacle for individuals seeking promotion. 61% Exclusion applicant was not part of the "in" group within an organization. 44% Experience applicants do not have enough experience to accompany their upper level degree 82% Experience gaining experience is a challenge for individuals seeking promotion, despite it being necessary to advance to the next level. 65% Experience having strong experiences in one area of agriculture (production for example) and very little experience in another (har vesting). 44% Experience lack of specific experience in the job individuals are being considered for 93% Experience not receiving promotion because of lack of management experience 79% Family being primarily responsible for home and child care makes it difficult to dedicate time to a career outside normal business hours 77% Family required travel would prevent applicants from spending time with their families 77% Family some family members are given preferential treatment within a business 89% Family wanting to raise a family in a community versus a metropolitan area limits advancement opportunities. 50% Family working for a family owned company and not being a family member makes it difficult to advance 79% Fear afraid to take a big risk by being promoted. 59% Gender being female in a male dominated industry. 47% Gender being female makes it more difficult to participate in outside social events (hunting, golfing, fishing for example) that build business relationships, espec ially with males. 44% Gender females being primarily responsible for child care has limited promotion opportunities. 64%

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98 Career Barrier Agreement % Gender lack of female role models in the agriculture industry. 42% Gender women who are pregnant while working will not be promoted as quickly. 61% Hiring practices instead of hiring from within, leadership prefers to bring in new employees to provide new ideas and perspectives. 47% Immigration inability to promote an employee due to immigration status. 58% Imports low prices on foreign agricultural products have hurt business volume and the number of promotions available. 62% Industry structure agriculture remains a "good ol' boy" network and professional alliances are harder to establish if you are not part of that group. 49% Job description job description and necessary qualifications were too vague. 45% Job performance an applicant has not shown the ability to perform in their current job and therefore will not be considered for promotion 88% Lack of replacement no one available to replace an employee if they are promoted. 63% Licensing did not have the proper licensing or documentation needed for promotion. 73% Mentor lack of a mentor within the organizati on. 61% Nepotism in a family owned business, advancement of family members has been more rapid than the advancement of other long term, non family employees 84% Office politics not having the blessing or approval of the incumbent leader can prevent promotion 86% Office politics person being considered for promotion did not have someone in management sponsoring them. 63% Office politics unwillingness to "play the game" and do whatever is possible to advance themselves over other people. 44% Per sonal decisions poor strategic choices, cash flow difficulties, ability to advance 90% Promotion criteria the requirements for promotion set forth by management are unobtainable and any employees who voice their disagreement with these policies is less likely to be promoted. 43% Regulation the massive amounts of government regulation ma kes promoting employees difficult in some instances. 40%

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99 Career Barrier Agreement % Relocation having other agricultural obligations (land, livestock, or family farm for example) in addition to a career (an 8 5 job) made it difficult to accept a promotion where applicants would have to relocate 91% Relocation inability or unwillingness to take a leadership position in a different area within Florida, in a different state, or in another country 83% Responsibility although worthy of promotion, an applicant lacked specific responsibility traits 86% Responsibility employee did not want to take on the responsibilities which came with being promoted 86% Skill set applicant lacked the necessary people skills in order to succeed in new leadership position 93% Skill set applicants did not have the proper skill set or understanding of their job in order to be considered for a promotion 95% Skill set failure to exhibit good leadership skills was an obstacle for individuals seeking pro motion 96% Skill set poor written and verbal communication skills is a hindrance to advancement within an organization and within the industry 98% Skill set inability to speak another language which was necessary for a promotion. 61% Tenure another employee was selected for a promotion because they had been with the company for a longer period. 61% Work environment not willing to go from a position in the field to an office job. 70% Youth leaders perceived applicants as incompetent because the y are young and therefore they were not considered for promotion. 61% Youth young age was a factor in receiving promotions despite having an equal experience level as other applicants who were older. 50% Note: n= 48

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106 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Ryan Christopher Conklin was born in Columbus, Ohio. He was raised on his ty, OH An avid golf enthusiast, Mr. Conklin was a proud four year member of his high school golf team. Seve ral years of involvement in National Honor Society and FFA prepared him for a five year stint at The Ohio University in Columbus. During his career as a Buckeye, Mr. Conklin became an active member of the student organization community in the College of Fo od, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES), serving as president and/or treasurer for a half agribusiness and applied economics, Mr. Conklin was selected as on e of the outstanding graduating seniors at Ohio State, and one of the top ten seniors in CFAES. Post graduation Mr. Conklin chose to continue his education at the University of communication with an emphasis in leadership development. Mr. Conklin plans on attending law school when his graduate degree has been completed.