Date of Award


Publication Type

Doctoral Thesis

Degree Name




First Advisor

Wong-Reiger, Durhane,


Psychology, Industrial.




Human service organizations (HSOs) are increasingly being called upon to demonstrate their effectiveness. Yet there is both an absence of appropriate management models for HSOs and often a lack of recognition of inherent differences among HSOs. One important dimension on which HSOs can be differentiated is operational certainty, defined here as environmental certainty, technological determinacy and formal structuralization. Two descriptions of office skills-training programs were developed, to represent each end of the operational certainty dimension. A college-based office skills-training program was described with high environmental certainty, high technological determinacy and high formal structuralization and a community-based office skills-training program was described with low environmental certainty, low technological determinacy and low formal structuralization. It was hypothesized that while effectiveness in all organizations may be characterized by a single set of dimensions, the priority of the dimensions and the content and quantity of specific criteria used to define each dimension would be perceived to vary as a function of operational certainty. The purpose of the first part of the study was to empirically identify, using a group of experts, the most essential criteria for low and high operational certainty organizations. The goals of the second part of the study were to validate the initial findings with a group reduce the number of indicators to a more meaningful set. As hypothesized, both participant groups identified more indicators as essential for the effectiveness of the community-based organization than for the college. Rather than two distinct sets of indicators, participants perceived numerous indicators as highly important to the community-based organization and a small subset of these indicators as moderately important to the college. Further, the indicators perceived as most important on each dimension varied for the two organizations. Although the relative priority of dimensions tended to vary, HSO staff and managers unexpectedly identified Human Relations as the overriding priority for both described organizations. The overall perception appeared to be that achieving effectiveness in low operational certainty organizations, such as the described community-based organization, requires attention to far greater detail than in high operational certainty organizations, such as the described college. In this latter case, monitoring of a few indicators was perceived as an acceptable approach. Implications for the evaluation and development of programs are discussed.Dept. of Psychology. Paper copy at Leddy Library: Theses & Major Papers - Basement, West Bldg. / Call Number: Thesis1994 .P56. Source: Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 56-11, Section: B, page: 6437. Adviser: Durhane Wong-Reiger. Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Windsor (Canada), 1995.