Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department / School

Rural Sociology

First Advisor

Donna J. Hess


Using Richard Emerson's exchange network analysis, exchange relations in the South Dakota 4-H program were examined. South Dakota 4-H is comprised of both paid staff and volunteer leaders. It is currently undergoing structural change through the implementation of the Key Leader System. The Key Leader System involves appointing county level Key Leaders and club level Project Leaders to disseminate information to 4-H members and to assist them with their projects. Survey data, interviews, and State Fair results were collected to test hypotheses generated by exchange network analysis. Both clubs and counties varied in the degree to which they had implemented the Key Leader System. A relationship was found between the number of 4-H members in a club and the number of Project Leaders appointed in those clubs. The number of State Fair exhibitors per county in a Key Leader System Project remained unchanged over time whereas the number of exhibitors per county in a non-Key Leader System project dropped. Rewards of exchange relations were directly related to attitudes toward the Key Leader System by County Extension Staff and volunteer leaders. Rewards of exchange relations included decreased time commitments, favorable role changes, belief in Key Leader System's ability to retain 4-H members and volunteer leaders and to improve 4-H members' projects. Rewards of exchange relations and implementation of the Key Leader System were not related. No relationships were found between rewards of exchange relations and volunteer leaders' retention plans. Neither Project Leaders' power, the number of 4-H members in a club, nor residence was related to Organizational Leaders' retention plans. Refinements of exchange network analysis are implied by the study's findings. Extended networks affect immediate networks. Different network planes influence actors' behavior in other network planes. Multiple roles played by a person in a network will affect the dynamics of that network.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Exchange theory (Sociology)
Organizational change
Organizational behavior
Organizational effectiveness
Volunteers -- South Dakota -- Attitudes




South Dakota State University