Date of Award:

1996

Document Type:

Thesis

Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)

Department:

Natural Resources

Department name when degree awarded

Forestry

Advisor/Chair:

Mark W. Brunson

Abstract

This study examined the attitudes of employees of the United States Department of Agriculture's Animal Damage Control (ADC) Program. This research examined ADC employees' attitudes about wildlife, the ADC program and ADC employment, wildlife damage management methods, euthanasia and the killing process, and the role of various public and private groups on ADC policy. This study also applied the theory of organizational capture to the ADC program to test its utility in explaining the attitudes and behaviors of employees. Results were based on a survey of ADC employees conducted in January 1995.

Survey responses were analyzed to explore associations between employee attitudes and job type or time of service at ADC. Job type was found to be a better indicator of employee attitudes than time of service. Field and management employees tended to have more positive views of ADC and ADC employment compared with research employees. Respondents with different job types perceived different levels of effectiveness and humaneness for wildlife control methods. In general, field employees viewed lethal techniques as more effective and humane than research employees. Similarly, research employees reported nonlethal techniques to be more effective and humane than field employees. Finally, research employees felt that outside interest groups should have more influence on ADC practices than field and management employees felt they should.

ADC employees were found to have some characteristics indicative of organizational capture. They had a homogeneous client base, and were resistant to reaching out to nontraditional clients in the face of opposition from traditional clients. However, they were not deflected from the ADC mission. Because respondents indicated conformity to the ADC mission, ADC was found to be at most variably captured by its traditional farming and ranching clientele.

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