Date of Award

8-2012

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Legacy Department

International Family and Community Studies

Advisor

Holaday, Bonnie

Committee Member

Limber , Susan

Committee Member

Robinson , Kenneth

Abstract

ABSTRACT
Examining attitudes, norms and behavioral control perceptions can aid in predicting the strength of a person's intentions to engage in any kind of major effort, including nonprofit capacity building, according to Aizen's Theory of Planned Behavior (Aizen, 1991, 2002a, 2006). The purpose of this research was to determine whether the attitudes, norms, and perceived behavioral control beliefs of 470 nonprofit leaders' past and future organizational capacity building had significance in explaining their stated intentions to build capacity. It also sought to determine what respondent and organization characteristics, the presence or absence of trust relationships, board governance practices, and organizational effectiveness indicators modified leaders' attitudes, norms, and behavioral control beliefs. The central hypothesis of this study was that when attitudes are positive, subjective norms affirmative, and nonprofit leaders believe that they have adequate control over activities within the organization, the scores on their intention to build capacity are higher (Aizen and Fishbein, 2005; Armitage & Conner, 2001). Light's 2003 study findings were used to help frame some of the survey questions (Light, 2004), along with Aizen's (n.d.) guidelines for creating a Theory of Planned Behavior instrument, and Gill, Flynn & Reissing's (2005) board governance Quick Check list.
In December 2011 and January 2012, an online survey was conducted through the sponsorship of the National Development Institute. Over 52,300 nonprofits leaders from across the United States were invited to participate. Four hundred seventy nonprofit leaders responded. They were asked to indicate what capacity building efforts they had
done in the past five years, and to select one past and one future capacity building effort to evaluate in depth.
The central hypothesis of this study was accepted for future intentions and rejected for examination of past intentions. The model (R2=.152, adjusted R2=.144, p<.01) that significantly predicted respondents' past capacity building intention total scores included one attitude variable (level of agreement that 22 factors were made worse as result of doing the effort, â =.162, p<.01), and two behavioral control variables (level of agreement with the statements 'I was confident I could lead and manage the effort' (â =.399, p<.01) and 'It was easy to lead and management the effort.' (â = -.171 p<.01). Five modifying variables explained the variance in the attitude variable. Four modifying variables explained the variance in the behavioral control variable dealing with confidence levels and four different modifiers explained the variance in the behavioral control variable dealing with how easy respondents thought it was to do the effort.
The model (R2=.337, adjusted R2=.327, p<.01) significantly predicting respondents' future capacity building intention total scores included 1 attitude variable (level of agreement that doing the future effort was a good idea, (â = .389, p<.01), 1 norm variable (level of agreement with the statement 'It will be expected of me that I should do this capacity building effort.' (â =.207, p<.01), and three behavioral control variables (level of agreement with the statements 'I am confident that I can lead this change effort.', (â =.233, p<.01), 'the decision to do this capacity building effort is within my control.' (â =.156, p<.01) and 'Whether or not I do this effort is entirely up to me.' (â =.131, p<.05). Four modifiers explained the variance in the attitude variable. Eight modifiers explained the variance in the norm variable. Six modifiers explained the variance in the behavioral control variable dealing with confident, four modifiers were correlated with the behavioral control variable dealing with feelings of amount of control, and four modifiers explained the variance in respondents degree of agreement that it was entirely up to them as to whether or not they did the future capacity building effort.
Other findings included that the size of the organization made a difference in the types of capacity building done over the past five years. The amount of capacity building done over the past five years was significantly associated with growth or decline over the past five years in programs, budget size, donors, and clients. Those organizations that had done three or four types of capacity building over the past five years showed growth and those that did two or fewer types of capacity building experienced no growth or decline. Respondents who had experienced success in past capacity building indicated they were likely to do a similar effort in the future. This study found some of the same findings as Light (2004) did and many that were different, probably due to the difference in sample characteristics.

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