|Abstract or Summary
- The purpose of this study was to identify the critical factors for
effective quality management in the Cooperative Extension System (CES)
and develop an instrument that measured quality management
performance in selected CES organizations as a means of identifying
organizational training needs.
Three procedures were applied in this study. First, critical factors of
quality management were identified through a literature review and
verified by an expert panel. Second, performance measures defining
each critical factor were generated from the literature, approved by an
iterative panel and assigned to scales. Finally, an instrument was
developed and administered to a test population for purposes of
establishing reliability and validity of the scales.
Seven critical factors were identified that contributed to effective
organization-wide quality management in the CES: (a) Administrative
Support for Quality, (b) Strategic Quality Planning, (c) Continuous Quality
Improvement, (d) Strategic Human Resources Management, (e) Quality
Information and Analysis, (f) Clientele Satisfaction, and (g) Quality in
Education and Training.
Performance measures characterizing quality management were
operationally defined from the literature, and approved by the iterative
panel. An instrument, comprised of 69 performance measures, was
designed and administered to a test population of Extension professionals,
achieving a 91% response rate.
Five of the critical factors including: (a) Administrative Support for
Quality, (b) Strategic Quality Planning, (c) Strategic Human Resources
Management, (d) Clientele Satisfaction, and (e) Quality in Education and
Training, and seven of their corresponding scales, showed evidence of
reliability and validity.
The critical factors of Quality Information and Analysis and Clientele
Satisfaction each had a scale that were reliable, but construct validity was
The critical factors of Strategic Human Resources Management,
and Quality in Education and Training each had a scale that did not show
evidence of empirical utility. All three scales within the critical factor of
Continuous Quality Improvement did not show evidence of empirical utility.
This study offers a promising model for subsequent theory building
and for more systematic research in assessing organization-wide training
needs preceding the introduction of quality management technology in the
Cooperative Extension System.