Date of Award

12-2009

Degree Name

MS in Agriculture - Recreation, Parks and Tourism Management

Department

Natural Resources Management

Advisor

Dr. Marni Goldenberg

Abstract

Outward Bound and the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) are two of the United State’s largest providers of outdoor education and adventure recreation programs. While many studies have examined the outcomes of the different organizations individually, there is very little comparative research. This study compared the attributes, consequences, and values obtained by 510 participants of courses 14 days or longer in the Rocky Mountain region during the summer of 2006.

Means-end theory was used to analyze data obtained from participants through personal interviews. Means-end theory links the physical objects or services, the means, with the outcomes and the personal values of the individual, the ends (Klenosky, Frauman, Norman, & Gengler 1998). The theory focuses on the interrelationship among attributes, consequences, and values, as three levels of abstraction (Goldenberg, Klenosky, O’Leary, & Templin, 2000).

Data were collected using a convenience sampling method from OB schools in Leadville, Marble, and Silverton, Colorado and the NOLS headquarters in Lander, Wyoming, for a total of 162 OB participants and 348 NOLS participants. Interview questions were entered into LadderMap software, a program used to analyze means-end data. Content codes were developed and then tested by an additional researcher to measure intercoder reliability. An implication matrix was then created to tabulate the frequency of concepts being associated with one another. Hierarchical value maps (HVMs) were then created to graphically depict the themes and relationships that surfaced in the implication matrix.

Seven HVMs were developed to visually present the data for all participants, all NOLS participants, all OB participants, OB males, OB females, NOLS males, and NOLS females. Though all HVMs were varied, some themes emerged by organization. For example, all NOLS participants had slightly more significant links to hard skills development than did their OB counterparts. NOLS and OB females stated being challenged and interactions as their most significant consequences yet corresponding males had slightly less emphasis on being challenged and more emphasis on new experience.

This study produced more similarities than differences among the various subsets of the population. For example all HVMs showed a clear link from multiple attributes to independence, and ultimately to transference and additional values. The HVMs showed that new experiences, being challenged, and group interactions were significant components for all participants. The most common values obtained also demonstrate great similarity among participant demographics. These values include transference, sense of accomplishment, self respect/esteem/confidence, and self-awareness.

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