Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Human Resource Education and Workforce Development

First Advisor

Satish Verma


Appraising the performance of employees is a necessary and vital process in the management of organizations. In the Cooperative Extension System, performance appraisal concerns all employees and influences work, motivation, and ultimately educational program impacts. Perceptions of the present and ideal performance appraisal process were obtained from 558 county agents in six selected southern states. The study focused on agent perceptions of the process, as currently followed and as a desired ideal, to see if there were perceptual differences, and to see if perceptions were influenced by personal characteristics, work characteristics and features of the process itself. The performance appraisal form of eleven of the thirteen states in the Southern Region was reviewed and seven states having a numerical scoring system selected. Six states agreed to participate, namely: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Texas. A proportionate random sample of 602 agents were selected from state personnel lists. Data were collected using a mailed questionnaire consisting of 94 items, 67 on a Likert-type scale with 56 of these requiring responses on the present and ideal process. The remaining items were fill-in or fixed response type questions. A return rate of 93.8% was obtained. A telephone sample of non-respondents showed differences in six of twenty items. Significant differences were detected for job classification, interview location and supervisory position by overall mean present perception. Data were analyzed by four appraisal form criteria (weighted scoring system, management by objective, stated use, and appeal process) for 15 categories and agent perceptions of present and ideal performance appraisal system. Significant differences were found for 37 of the criteria by categories. Differences were detected for all 15 of the perceptions of present and ideal systems. Fourteen of the categories favored the ideal system and one the present system. One practical recommendation to the participating state cooperative extension service is that performance appraisal systems should be considered for modification according to the findings of the study. This will require changes in their systems to the extent that the suggestions are relevant, appropriate, and feasible.