Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Sociology and Anthropology


The problem of soil erosion persists despite 50 years of public programs, costing over 20 billion. This study approaches this problem by examining the frequency of interaction among organizations involved in promoting soil conservation and providing farmers with assistance. Interorganizational relationships (IOR) are thought to have an important influence on the effectiveness of local conservation programs;Relationships among four federal (USDA) agencies involved with soil conservation at the local (county) level are studied: the Soil Conservation Service (SCS), the Cooperative Extension Service (CES); the Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service (ASCS), and the Farmer's Home Administration (FmHA). Telephone interviews with the local directors of each organization, in each of 17 counties (n = 68), were conducted in Spring 1985;The relative effect of five kinds of barriers on frequency of IOR are examined: perceptions of the organizational environment; perceptions of IOR; perceived resource scarcity; perceived interpersonal conflict with other organizations; and distances between offices. The conceptual framework is built on resource dependency, political economy, and interpersonal conflict theories;Analysis of variance indicates that the organizations differ significantly in their perceptions of many barriers to IOR and reported frequency of many types of IOR behavior. Multiple regression models are tested with three types of IOR as dependent variables: farmer referral, informal interaction, and formal meetings. Barriers are entered individually as independent variables, after controlling on the respondent's type of organization;The most important barriers are: distance between offices, perceived differences in personalities, and perceptions that others are unwilling to cooperate. Barriers having a moderate effect on IOR, include perceptions of: lack of time, changing guidelines from above, uncertainty of future funding, and fear of lost credit or visibility for one's own programs because of IOR. The type of organization has an important controlling influence on the relationship of certain barriers to some types of IOR with different organizations.



Digital Repository @ Iowa State University,

Copyright Owner

Thomas Jefferson Hoban, IV



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190 pages