The management of rural development: The role of agricultural extension agents in the Yemen Arab Republic



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Texas Tech University


This study is an investigation of the delivery of extension services from a comparative perspective. The general goal was to examine job performance of extension agents in the Yemen Arab Republic. The ultimate objective is to address some of the issues related to service delivery in developing countries, and to examine the extent to which Western organization theory will assist in diagnosing and providing remedies for unique problems encountered by extension organizations in these countries.

The study is based on a survey conducted by the author in the Yemen Arab Republic in 1987. The survey was conducted on a representative sample (n = 117) of field personnel working for Yemeni agricultural extension organizations. Job performance, the dependent variable, was measured by: (1) the degree of knowledge of the information the respondents are supposed to transmit. (2) the degree to which they are able to explain this knowledge to the client population, (3) visit effort, that is the amount of time devoted by the respondents to visiting individual farmers, and, (4) "equity' in the distribution of services to different categories of clients (poor, middle, and rich farmers).

The variables hypothesized to have influence on job performance include: (1) supervision which reflects the effectiveness of the respondents' supervisors in monitoring the activities of their subordinates, (2) leadership style as measured by the frequency with which supervisors make use of their disciplinary powers, (3) the respondents' ability as reflected by their educational level and job classification, (4) their motivation as measured by their satisfaction with their job and their commitment to an extension career, and, (5) the size, cohesion and norms of their work groups.

The findings suggest that performance is associated with group norms, close supervision, and discipline. Employee abilities seem to be related to performance through group norms. The influence of motivation on the dependent variable appears to be rather limited. The findings also provide support for the thesis that organization theory is broadly applicable rather than strictly bound by cultural constructs.



Agricultural extension workers -- Yemen (Republic), Organizational behavior, Teams in the workplace -- Cross-cultural studies