Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Family and Consumer Sciences Education and Studies


The public has been increasingly demanding accountability from educational institutions over the past 20 years. In occupational programs, business representatives expect graduates to possess certain knowledge and skills and graduates expect to be well-prepared when they enter the job market. Thus, the curriculum development process has become very complex. Using competencies, which are based on occupational roles, to develop curricular content is one method to enhance the accountability of a program;The main purpose of this study was to determine which competencies were perceived as important for entry and midmanagement positions in fashion merchandising. Variability in response was examined between educators and business personnel, among respondents from different store types, and among respondents with varying demographic characteristics;The sample consisted of fashion merchandising postsecondary educators and business personnel in independent department specialty, and chain department stores. Respondents rated each of 51 competency statements on importance for both entry and midmanagement level positions. There was a total of 221 respondents, which represented a 70% response rate;Analysis of data included: (1) examination of transformed mean scores to determine important competencies, (2) using scattergrams to examine variability in response between educators and business personnel and among respondents in the three store types, (3) factor analyses on entry and midmanagement items, (4) correlation of factor scores with demographic variables associated with respondents, (5) a comparison of the designation of positions as entry and midmanagement by store type, and (6) a comparison on the number of two-year graduates hired by store type;All 51 competencies were perceived to be important for midmanagement level positions and 16 were perceived as important for entry level. Educators and business personnel agreed on the importance of competencies, although educators did tend to rate all competencies slightly higher;Entry level factors included planning and control, relations with customers, personnel management, and various aspects in textiles and clothing. Factors for midmanagement included relations with customers, budgeting, personnel management, various aspects in textiles and clothing, external business influences, developing assortment plans, adjusting store plans, and understanding the fashion industry. Very few significant relationships were found between demographic variables of respondents and factor scores;Respondents in specialty stores tended to rate all items more important than did respondents in independent department stores. Personnel in chain department and specialty stores were in fairly high agreement on the importance of competencies;Hiring practices in the three types of stores were similar for two-year merchandising graduates. The three types of stores were in agreement on their designations of merchandising positions as entry or midmanagement.



Digital Repository @ Iowa State University,

Copyright Owner

Kathleen Greenley Beery



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223 pages