Instituions and Civic Participation: The Case of Community Involvement in Program Decision-Making at a Community Center

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Title: Instituions and Civic Participation: The Case of Community Involvement in Program Decision-Making at a Community Center
Author: Hicks, Angela Ann
Advisors: Dr. Craig Brookins, Committee Member
Dr. Conrad Glass, Committee Member
Dr. Wynetta Lee, Committee Member
Dr. John Pettitt, Committee Chair
Abstract: The purpose of the study was to determine if, how, and to what degree the Niger Community Center and its Inter-organizational Relationships (IORs) elicited community participation in program decision-making. The research uses the qualitative methodology, specifically interviews, documentation, and participation-observation. This examination used as a tool the community-based programming (CBP) process developed by Boone (1997). Using CBP processual tasks 1-9 (see Appendix A), as a check-list, the following research questions were framed, described, and analyzed: 1. How did the organization define and use community-based programming? 2. How did the organization network, link, and involve its community to identify issues? 3. How was consensus achieved in defining the selected issues formulated and utilized for programming? The themes, which emerged from the data, included organizational and personal mission: compatibility and conflict, understanding community through social networks, and citizen involvement versus citizen action. Within these three themes, the findings are presented and discussed from an examination of the Niger Community Center (NCC), the inter-organizational relationships (IORs), and the community. The research revealed citizen participation in program decision-making at the NCC. However, citizen participation varies by the emphasis placed on objectives of participation, service delivery and social action. Whereas participation that elicits citizen involvement solicits responsible suggestions from grassroots people and suggestions are meant to improve services, insofar as they do not jeopardize organizational viability. On the other hand, participation that elicits citizen action promotes the needs and wishes of grassroots people, promotes social action, subordinating organizational viability. The research revealed the practice of citizen involvement was overwhelming on the part of the NCC and its IORs. Implication for practice implies service delivery and social action must go hand and hand.
Date: 2003-02-07
Degree: EdD
Discipline: Adult and Community College Education

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