Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Human Resource Education and Workforce Development

First Advisor

Satish Verma


The purpose of the study was to determine communication patterns and effectiveness as perceived by specialists and agents of the Louisiana Cooperative Extension Service, and relate communication effectiveness with selected demographic characteristics. A qualitative component of the study focused on personal communication experiences of the faculty. A total of 210 agents and 106 specialists participated in the study. The survey instrument was validated by an expert panel and administered via a web site with an initial electronic mail contact and personal and electronic mail follow-ups. From a choice of 11 different methods of communication, specialists and agents used email and telephone the most to send and receive information among and between themselves. Perceived effectiveness of communication was determined by factor analyzing a set of 49 statements on a 7-point Likert type agreement-disagreement scale. Five sub-scale factors were identified accounting for 54.3% of the variation in perceived communication effectiveness. Analysis of the sub-scale factors and demographic characteristics revealed statistically significant relationships. Agents who were older, male, and had a smaller 4-H assignment perceived Communication with Immediate Supervisors to be more effective than their respective counterparts. Agents and specialists with more tenure, and older specialists perceived Communication Interactions to be more effective than their respective counterparts. Black agents and specialists perceived Statewide Communication as more effective than their white counterparts. Agents who were black, older, had more tenure, and larger Agriculture and Natural Resources assignment, as well as black, and older specialists perceived Program Planning and Reporting as more effective than their respective counterparts. Agents and specialists with a larger 4-H assignment and specialists with larger administrative assignment perceived Communication Interactions as less effective than their respective counterparts. Agents with larger 4-H assignments perceived Communications with Immediate Supervisor, Statewide Communications, and Program Planning as less effective than their counterparts. Some communication issues expressed by the faculty related to program planning and coordination, cooperation, mutual respect, and open communication. It is recommended that the Louisiana Cooperative Extension Service address these issues within the organization.