American University
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posted on 2023-08-04, 12:27 authored by Richard Thomas Bertucco

The dissertation investigates the effects of government funding on a private and voluntary organization's development assistance programs. The central hypothesis is that government funding dependence increases the professionalization of the voluntary agency staff. Professionalization is used in the dissertation to refer to the process by which an individual becomes technologically or scientifically educated and specialized. The professional applies skills or expertise for a salary or fee for service rendered, is oriented to service for the public good, strives to be objective and unbiased, is responsive to the professional peer group as the primary source of normative behavior and control, and has a tendency toward preserving the status quo. In contrast to the professionalized approach to development represented by the government is the missionary approach represented by the voluntary agency. The values of the missionary are related to religion and philosophy not to science and technology. The missionary is a generalist serving the total person in a community. While the missionary is also paid, the low salary levels are an indication that there is other motivation for their work. While the modern-day staff of the voluntary agency cannot be equated to the missionary predecessor, attitudes and behaviors of that past persist. Professionalism at its extreme stands in juxtaposition to the attitudes and behaviors of the missionary. The research is based on personal observation and responses to a questionnaire administered to forty (40) staff working in the YMCA world development assistance program. The relationship between the YMCA and the Agency for International Development under the New Directions program is used as the case study. Multiple regression analysis and cross tabulations were used to analyze the data. Government funding dependence was measured by the percent of AID funding to the total project funding and the number of years AID funding had been used. Personal characteristics of the staff were also studied. The personal characteristics analyzed were: religion, age, education, previous YMCA experience, staff position in the organization, and country of the staff member. Government funding at any level increases professionalization. The percent of government funding dependence is a better measure of government funding dependence than the number of years of that funding. The personal characteristics have an effect on professionalism though not statistically significant. The strongest personal characteristic variable influencing professionalism is religion. The other personal characteristics have only weak relationships to professionalism. A key issue raised by the research is whether the voluntary agency can maintain its unique development approach as it increasingly becomes dependent on government funds? If attitudes and behaviors of the voluntary agency staff become professionalized, how will that approach to development be distinguished from the government? The danger is that the values of the missionary past will be lost as staff become more professionalized. Government funding provides money for needed development projects and introduces modern management and technology. Will an increasingly professionalized staff become less identified with the people they are assisting and less dedicated to the changes required at the grass-roots level? The challenge is to maintain a balance between the values approach to development inherent in the tradition of the voluntary agency and the utilization of the tools of modern technology that comes with increased professionalization.



American University




Source: Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 42-09, Section: A, page: 4141.; Ph.D. American University 1981.; English


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