The perceived role of the youth agent as viewed by 4-H adult and junior leaders

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Caldwell, William E. (William Edward), 1938-
Patton, Don C.
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The major purpose of the study was to analyze perceptions of Area Extension Agents - Youth held by local 4-H adult leaders and junior leaders. In general, the study was designed to ascertain whether differences in perception between the two groups, categorized by age do, in fact, occur. More specifically, the hypotheses and sub-hypotheses were used to analyze differences in perceptions of 4-H adult leaders and junior leaders on; (1) ''real'' and ''ideal'' behavior of the youth agent, and (2) initiating structure and consideration dimensions of leadership behavior.The population for the study was defined as all 4-H adult leaders and junior leaders in Indiana during the year of 1972. Twenty counties were randomly selected from the total 92 Indiana counties for participation in the study. The Area Extension Agents Youth of the sample counties were requested to submit a list of 4-H adult leaders and junior leaders. The list was used to randomly select a sample of fifty 4-H adult leaders and fifty junior leaders for data collection. The LBDQ instrument which measures two dimensions of leadership, initiating structure and consideration, was used to collect data needed for the analysis. Four-H adult leaders and junior leaders were randomly assigned to the 'ideal' and 'real" forms of the questionnaire to maintain unbiased predictions of the population. Instruments completed by the individual respondents were coded by age group and by county.A 2 x 2 factorial analysis of variance design, accompanied by subsequent individual mean comparisons, was employed for analysis of the data. The F test for significance was applied for decision with regard to four major hypotheses and eight sub-hypotheses with an alpha of .05.The following conclusions were supported by the findings of the study: 1. The level of expectations for initiating structure-leadership with respect to clearly delineated relationships between the youth leader and the group, well-defined patterns of organization, channels of communication, and ways of getting the job done--is higher among Indiana 4-H adult leaders than the younger junior leader counterparts. Four-H adult leaders desire a more structured form of leadership.2. Expecations of 4-H adult leaders are the same as expectations of junior leaders with regard to youth agent consideration-leadership behavior indicative of friendship, mutual trust, respect, and warmth. Both groups have high levels of expectations.3. Junior leaders are better satisfied with the leadership of youth agents than are adult leaders with regard to both leadership dimensions, initiating structure and consideration.4. Youth leaders are not meeting the ideal expectations either group, the junior leaders or the adult leaders.