The development of an objective survey instrument for diagnosing a learning organization

by Humiston, Randall T., Ph.D., CAPELLA UNIVERSITY, 2009, 144 pages; 3359596


This research was an attempt to develop an objective, behavior-based survey instrument for diagnosing a learning organization. DiBella and Nevis’s (How organizations learn:an integrated strategy for building learning capability, 1998) model provided the framework for the instrument and associated constructs. The constructs were originally used as discussion topics among organizational management and consultants to qualitatively assess an organization’s strengths and weaknesses with respect to the organizational learning cycle described by DiBella and Nevis. Hinkin (Scale development principles and practices. In R. Swanson and E. Holton, III (Eds): Research in organizations: Foundations and methods of inquiry, 2005) developed a methodology for survey instrument development that uses an ANOVA process for establishing construct validity, what he terms content adequacy. The majority of draft items for the DiBella and Nevis constructs failed to meet statistical significance standard for inclusion in the instrument using Hinkin’s methodology. Predominate reasons for the inability to produce a useable instrument include (a) lack of construct differentiation, (b) the large number of constructs being measured (five Learning Orientations and ten Facilitating Factors) meant that the statistical design methodology was not robust enough to produce a statistically valid and reliable instrument—too many potentially false negative draft items were eliminated, (c) participants in the content adequacy determination were not screened for adequate critical analysis skills, and (d) the content adequacy determination data collection session did not account for the limited intellectual stamina of the participants. Several recommendation are made to mitigate the detrimental causes: (a) including a better preliminary review of draft survey items to identify those items that content adequacy participants may find difficult to pair with its intended construct; (b) modification of the statistical methods such as number of draft items per construct, sample selection size, and better understanding of potential for false negative item elimination; (c) better selection and screening of participants for critical analysis skills; (d) employment of methods to better ensure participant objectivity; and (e) better data collection logistics designed to prevent overtaxing of participants.

AdviserPaul Hardt
Source TypeDissertation
SubjectsManagement; Quantitative psychology
Publication Number3359596

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