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The influence of personal factors on the use of evaluation information by upper and middle level administrators

Vlahov, Leonard P. (1989) The influence of personal factors on the use of evaluation information by upper and middle level administrators. PhD thesis, Murdoch University.

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The main purpose of the research reported in this thesis was to investigate the influence of 'personal factors' on the use of evaluation information by middle and upper level administrators in government and semi-government organisations. The concept of a personal factor as identified by Patton et al (1978) and investigated by Dickey (1980) was further developed and defined here as the combined influence of several personal factors namely an administrator's attitude to use of the evaluation information', 'social subjective norm', 'personal subjective norm' and 'commitment'.

An Evaluation Utilization Model was developed which was based upon the theoretical framework provided by Fishbein and Ajzen's (1975) 'theory of reasoned action', Janis and Mann's (1977) 'conflict model' of decision making and Hammond's (1983) concept of a 'personal knowledge factor'. This model expressed the influence of the four 'personal' factors on the administrators' behavioural intention to use evaluation information which was measured in terms of an index of use.

A number of preliminary studies were undertaken for the purpose of obtaining details of the kinds of matters administrators consider when deliberating about the use of evaluation information, determining the best procedures for obtaining information from executive level administrators and establishing the reliability and validity of the final instrument.

The Evaluation Utilization Model was tested in the context of seven evaluation studies using fifty-five administrators from five organizations. Each person responded to an extensive structured. face-to-face interview.

The main findings of the study show that the four personal factors in the proposed model account for 24 per cent of the variance in the intention to use evaluation information. In partitioning the variance only the commitment variable was found to be significant. When the nine components of the four personal factors were used as independent variables, the amount of variance accounted for increased to 31 per cent. The significant components were commitment to the evaluation study, attitude to use in terms of consequences for others and the motivation to comply with a social norm.

Administrators from upper and middle levels of management do not differ in their intention to use the evaluation information. However, administrators concerned with different studies do differ in their intention to use the evaluation information.

The main purpose for which administrators intended to use the evaluation information was to achieve some 'personal' rather than 'organisational' ends, and they intended to use the evaluation information more in an 'indirect' rather than a 'direct' way.

The implications of the results of the study are discussed.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Education
Notes: Note to the author: If you would like to make your thesis openly available on Murdoch University Library's Research Repository, please contact: Thank you.
Supervisor(s): Straton, Ralph
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