Date of Award

1985

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Abstract

The major focus of this dissertation study was on the self-expectations of Minnesota County Extension Agents as they carry out nine change agent roles in their educational work. Impetus for the study came from a 1984 report that indicated 70.5 percent of these agents felt emotional strain due to "expect too much of self.". Data was collected regarding the nine roles and six work-related variables by mail questionnaire. A total of 230 usable responses were received from the 248 agents on active duty during May, 1985. The major findings of the study were generalized as follows: (1) The most positive aspects of agent self-expectations come from carrying out the roles of teaching problem solving skills, good program development, working with volunteers, and remaining flexible to meet the needs of Extension clientele. (2) The most negative aspects of agent self-expectations come from attempting to deal with issue education and accessing the total University; while perceptions regarding alternative delivery systems tend to remain ambiguous. (3) Agent self-expectations regarding self-development and risk taking can be either positive or negative as a personal motivator depending upon past experiences in the Extension organization. (4) Agent strain and reports of "expect too much of self" can be anticipated when there is a combination of high levels of commitment to the organization, involvement with their jobs, internal work motivation, and feelings of intrinsic reward from task accomplishment. (5) Lack of feedback on goal effort may be contributing to the feelings of strain associated with agent self-expectations, despite specific and difficult goals, and good participation in goal setting, which should aid in the agents achieving their work expectations. It was concluded that administrators should consider the high level of self-expectations as a positive indicator of dedication to the Extension organization, and rather than focus on the strain, there is need to give leadership that clarifies the mission and goals with each agent. Concerns and pressures regarding accountability could be reduced by improved communication and counseling techniques between supervisor and agent. Recommendation was made for more research on agent feedback.

Pages

159

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