Peter Cornelius Dams
Degree of: Doctor of Philosophy
Title: A Systems Approach to Designing an Internship
Model That Benefits the Sponsoring Organization
Date: Friday, March 23, 2001, 9:00a.m.-11:00a.m.,
3715 Wood Hall
Dr. Dale Brethower, Chair
Dr. Robert O. Brinkerhoff
Dr. Alyce M. Dickinson
Dr. Richard W. Malott
important learning experiences for students in a variety of scientific
and professional areas. They
allow interns to link academic theory and actual practice before embarking
on their professional careers.
Many internships benefit sponsoring organizations in the area
of recruitment, productivity, and cost.
The internship literature, however, neglects to a large degree
the possibility that interns may also contribute to improving organizational
performance by providing expertise otherwise not extant in the sponsoring
interns could provide a third option to performance improvement in addition
to utilizing outside consultants or internal staff.
A behavioral systems approach guided the design of a progressive
consultative internship system (PCIS) with the purpose to connect individual
HPT internships into a progressive learning and performance consulting
system for county governments.
Using this novel approach to internship as a foundation, the
present study attempted to evaluate whether HPT interns can consult
effectively in county government and whether the proposed
system has utility and feasibility.
A two-tiered evaluation approach involved a seventeen-months
long consulting internship in county government and an expert review
of the internship system's design.
Findings from these evaluations suggest that it is possible for
interns to conduct effective performance consulting internships in county
government and that the design is both useful and feasible.
Future research should involve the development and implementation
of the progressive consultative internship system and assess its long-term
impact on organizational performance improvement.
Limitations of the present study include the absence of an experimental
research paradigm and subjective judgments of the proposed internship
system's design. Generalizations of the present findings have to be couched
in terms of these limitations.
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