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Access Type

WSU Access

Date of Award

1-1-2010

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph.D.

Department

Instructional Technology

First Advisor

James L. Moseley

Abstract

A comprehensive needs assessment method was used in this empirical and evidence base research. The design, development and implementation of this study focused on answering two overarching questions: (1) What finance knowledge do HPT practitioners possess? and (2) How do HPT practitioners use their finance knowledge and skills in their work? An online survey was administered to obtain answers directly from practicing HPT professionals. Sixty seven HPT practitioners participated in the online survey. Every question in the survey, except the demographic and the three open ended questions, sought two levels of answers: Current State (What) and Future Importance (How) of knowledge, skills and use of finance by HPT practitioners.

HPT practitioners who are members and non members of the International Society of Performance Improvement (ISPI) were the target population of this research. The sampling frame of this study was the 18,000 subscribers of the ISPI monthly newsletter - PerformanceXpress. An Invitation To Participate was published in PerformanceXpress twice, in January and February, 2010 issues. A prize drawing of five $50.00 VISA gift cards was offered to entice participation. Zoomerang, the Web based online survey software, was used to collect data from participants. According to the Zoomerang final report, there were 330 visits, 89 complete and 14 incomplete surveys. After screening the raw data, there were 67 usable cases for quantitative analysis. This sample size equated to a 95% Confidence Level and +/- 11.95% margin of error to the sample frame population.

Survey questions for this research were adapted from Rothwell's Self-Assessment Inventory in the ASTD Models for Human Performance (Alexandria, VA, The American Society for Training and Development, 1999). The content of the online instrument was validated by three expert HPT practitioners. Followed by two reliability tests, (1) five practicing HPT professionals participated in the pilot and (2) a statistical reliability test was conducted to check the internal consistency of survey questions after the closing of the online survey. All feedback from practitioners was considered and changes were made to the survey questions. Changes made were mainly cosmetic and confusing wordings so that the originality of questions was maintained. The IBM Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) version 18 was used to conduct the second reliability test. Cronbach's alpha of .985 of Current State N=38 and .975 of Future Importance N=38 were obtained. Further, Cronbach's alpha ranged from .825 to .957 and was obtained for the 10 dependent variables.

Principal factors extraction with Varimax rotation was performed by using SPSS version 18 on 38 items for the sample of 67 in this study. Principal components extraction was used to extract estimated factor components. The sample of this study obtained the Kaiser-Meyer-Olkin Measure of Adequacy score of .95 and the Bartlet's Test of Sphericity score of χ2 (703) = 6205.66, ρ˂ .01 Three components were extracted. The cumulative variance of 79.53% was explained. With a cutoff of .30, all of the variables were loaded in 3 factor components. Although a few survey questions could be combined, eliminated and/or distributed differently among the 3 factor components, after careful consideration, the researcher decided to maintain all the variables as planned and proceeded with the Gap Analysis. This decision was influenced mostly by (1) the small sample size, (2) the high consistency and reliability of the sample responses, and (3) the suggested factor loadings in each component which were congruent with the overarching questions of this research.

The gap analysis was conducted by using Stata Data Analysis and Statistical (Stata) software version 10 Hotelling T2 on the ten dependant variables. All of the ten dependent variables obtained the result of T2 = 146.64; F (10,12) = 13.66, p˂ .001, which confirmed and supported the significance of difference between Current State and Future Importance collectively. Next, SPSS version 18 t-test was conducted to obtain individual scores for each of the ten variables. All ten variables obtained statistical significant results ranging from mean scores of -6.03 to -9.82. These results confirmed the need of finance competencies of HPT practitioners. Further, SPSS version 18 was used to conduct a MANCOVA procedure on finding the effect of participants' primary job role and their answers. There was no statistical significance of MANCOVA found. Lastly, the participant feedback on the 3 open ended questions were reviewed and examined. Themes that emerged from the responses to the open-ended questions emphasized the need to link performance to corporate finance, to measure human capital, and to speak the language of finance.

The statistical results of this research suggested immediate attention and future research in knowledge, skills and use of finance, not only by HPT practitioners, but also by instructional designers and training professionals. The significance and implications of this research in instructional design, training and HPT were discussed thoroughly in Chapter 5. Most of all, the researcher highlighted and emphasized the pivotal need for the balance of research and practice in our field. Various suggestions were made for future implementations and studies in HPT practice and evidence based research: (1) understand thoroughly what practitioners have to face daily in the workplace, (2) link practice to the theory and research, (3) strengthen the practice with empirical based research, (4) uncover new areas, and (5) arm practitioners with repeatable and practical principles.