Public Administration ETDs

Publication Date



One of the limiting factors to the successful implementation of a citizen participation program in a public agency is the attitudes of the decision makers within that agency toward the involvement of citizens in their planning and decision making activities. The purpose of this research was to learn these attitudes toward citizen participation among decision makers in four federal natural resource management agencies and to identify any relationships which might exist between those attitudes and the decision makers' attitudes toward and perceptions of other elements of their administrative environment. Discovery of these relationships could be helpful in (a) evaluating the possible impact of those attitudes upon a future attempt to implement a citizen participation program, and (b) designing a program which might bring about any needed attitudinal changes to create a more receptive climate for a citizen participation program. The method of determining these perceptions and attitudes was a small questionnaire survey. The decision makers at the national, regional, area, state, and local levels of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, and U.S. Forest Service were identified and a random sample selected for questioning. The sample represented about 35 per cent of all the decision makers in these four agencies. The total number in the sample was 657 individuals. Since 605 usable responses were received, the response rate was 92 per cent. The results of the study showed that 85.6 per cent of the decision makers in these agencies had a favorable attitude toward citizen participation. Only 3.3 per cent expressed an unfavorable attitude. The remaining 11.1 per cent were neutral on the issue. Eight of the twelve independent variables contained in the hypothesis showed a significant relationship with the dependent variable--attitude toward citizen participation. The strongest relationships were found between this dependent variable and (a) the decision makers' perceptions of the attitudes of other decision makers, (b) the amount of the decision makers' experience in citizen participation, and (c) the decision makers' perceptions of their past experience with the public.

Degree Name

Public Administration

Level of Degree


Department Name

School of Public Administration

First Committee Member (Chair)

Albert H. Rosenthal

Second Committee Member

James E. Bickel

Third Committee Member

Terry J. Edgmore



Document Type