The influence of cellular telephone usage on the perceived role and functions of county agents
Jeffrey Clary, Auburn University, United States
Auburn University . Awarded
The purpose of this study was to determine if cellular telephones could help Extension agents become more effective and efficient in their work and thereby improve the quality of their services and the extent of Extension agent contact. Findings of this study could be a factor in deciding to use public dollars for cellular phone purchases.
The research instrument was developed to survey 218 county agents using cellular telephones in their work in Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, and Tennessee. Dependent variables were miles driven per month, minutes talked on cellular phone per month, monthly travel mileage, office contacts, and total contacts. Independent variables included county size, clientele number, county population, area of specialization, number of agents within a particular county, agent's total travel budget, funds for purchase of cellular phone and for monthly charges, years in Extension, age of agents, educational level of agents, city populations, and sex of agent. Differences in total client contacts and monthly mileage before and after the use of cellular phones were evaluated by applying the single-sample analysis to the difference between the before and after measurements. Analysis of variance was used to determine if the independent variables had a statistically significant effect on the dependent variables at the 0.05 level. The Duncan's Multiple Range Test was used to determine which categories within the independent variables were different. The t-test was used to calculate differences between total office contacts and miles traveled before and after the acquisition of cellular telephones.
There were statistically significant effects on the independent variables state, travel budget, county population, sex of agents, number of agents within a county office, agent's primary specialty, and source of funds for purchase of cellular telephones and for payment of monthly cellular phone bills. Although agents are not saving any miles driven, total contacts with clientele were increased significantly with the cellular phone.
Clary, J. The influence of cellular telephone usage on the perceived role and functions of county agents. Ph.D. thesis, Auburn University.
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