Subgoals were defined as those short term, relatively
discrete objectives that guide individual actions, particularly in
situations where there are no necessary and clear relationships
between a particular action and a broad goal. Based on work by Herbert
Simon, subgoals were classified in this study as being of three types:
professional, organizational and personal.
In the first part of this chapter is a discussion of the relation
ships between professional subgoals and outputs. The latter part
discusses the interrelationships among professional, personal and
organizational subgoals and outputs.
1. Professional Subgoals: An Operational Definition
As used in this study, the term “professional
subgoal” has a narrower and more specific meaning than the term
might seem to imply. Professional subgoals could be conceived broadly
as the whole set of discrete objectives related to an individual’s
job or profession, as distinct from organizational or personal needs. A teacher’s
professional interests are not limited to the sixteen services of a
Youthwork project, but could involve getting students to pass
particular tests, developing critical thinking, improving students’
writing abilities and a host of other objectives. A comprehensive
study of professional subgoals could also include some measurement of
“professionalism,” an individual’s understanding of and
commitment to his or her profession.
This study does not use broad definitions of
professional subgoals. This is one of the limitations of the study.
What might be motivating staff actions at any given time may include
other professional subgoals leading to behavior similar to that
observed in the study? Teachers may not be concerned with getting
students high quality jobs; they may get them these jobs in order to
look good to the superintendent. Nor does the study address directly
the question of an individual’s general level of professionalism,
although it seems that a sense of professionalism is an important
factor in explaining some behaviors.
The professional subgoals examined in this study are limited to those
directly related to Youthwork’s subgoals. Each person was rated on
the extent to which he or she considered each Youthwork project
service important. There are two reasons for limiting individually
held professional subgoals to those relating to project services. One
is that the central point in this study has involved the level of
congruence between project subgoals and those of the staff.
Consequently, such subgoals must be stated in equivalent terms. The
second reason that professional subgoals are limited to project
related subgoals is that there is not immediately available a taxonomy
of such subgoals, nor has adequate theory developed to posit a secure
basis for such a scheme.
B. AGGREGATE FINDINGS
1. Overall Subgoal Rankings
Services were ranked according to: (1) the level of
importance placed on each by the project’s proposals, (2) the level
of importance staff as a group placed on each, and (3) the level of
output the project delivered for each of the sixteen items. For
example, the proposal for Site H placed heavy emphasis on subgoals 3
and 10 which were, therefore, assigned scores of 10. These were ranked
as Proposal subgoals 1 and 2. The same process was repeated for
average staff member scores and for outputs.
aBecause different sites did not all rate their top
subgoals at a 10 level, this table presents the top four rated
services, regardless of rating. Services with the same rating are
indicated by brackets. Where ties occurred for fourth place, all tied
services are included.
SOURCE: Tables Cl.l through Cl..lO, “Service Ratings And Rankings,
by Site,” Appendix C.
Two interesting, although tentative, relations were found when the
rankings were analyzed. One is that there appears to have been a
positive relationship between the subgoals rated highest in the
proposal and the ratings on the same subgoals given by project staff
members, regardless of which particular subgoals were involved. For
example, at Site D, subgoals 4, 7, 10, 1 and 5 were listed as the top
project sub goals. At the same time, subgoals 7, 10, 1 and 4 were
listed among the top five staff subgoals.
Overall, project and staff top rated subgoals agreed in 21 of 26
cases. In 7 of 23 instances, top rated project subgoals were delivered
that were not so rated by staff, and in 8 of 26 cases, top rated staff
subgoals were delivered that were not rated in the project’s
The same finding holds true generally for eight of the ten projects
involved. One notable exception was Site F, where there was little
relationship between the subgoals the project listed as very Important
and those the staff felt were Important. The second exception was Site
B, a low-slippage site, which is discussed in Chapter VI.
This general finding, of course, may reflect the likelihood that staff
members may have been recruited primarily on the basis of the
congruence of their subgoals with those of the project. If, for
example, a project had listed “paid work experience,” “attitude
training” and “career guidance” (subgoals 4, 7, and 10,
respectively) as being of highest importance, it is likely that
project administrators would try to recruit staff who were sympathetic
to those subgoals.
This is not to say that professional subgoals were Identical in
ranking with project subgoals. Such was not the case, as can be seen
in Table 5.2. There is considerable agreement among the very highest ranked project and staff subgoals. Below that, however, there are
considerable variations and differences. Indeed, one question to be
examined shortly is what happened when the two were incongruent.
A second and more important finding from the rankings of subgoals and
delivery of services is that there seems to have been a strong and
positive relationship between what was delivered and project subgoals.
For example, in every case, one or more of the project’s top
subgoals was among the top subgoals in terms of delivery. In eight of
ten cases, two of the project’s priority subgoals were among the top
services in de livery and, in four of ten cases, four of the top
project subgoals were among the highest in terms of delivery.
This does not mean, however, that slippage did not occur in the cases
of the top project ranked subgoals. Indeed, at all high and some
medium slippage sites, and even in one low-slippage project, there was
considerable variation between the level of output promised by the
project on the top ranked subgoals and what was actually delivered.
What it simply means is that staff members appear to have focused much
of their efforts on producing the highest level of delivery on those
things the project rated as most important.
What seems to have happened, regardless of slippage, is that staff
focused their efforts. Subgoals with the highest delivery appear to
have been those ranked highest by both the project and the staff.
Where something had to give, there was a strong tendency for it to be
the things rated least important by the project.
2. Low- and High Slippage Sites
aAverages are the total of values assigned to each
service by the staff at each site divided by the number of sites.
Since such averages result in decimal places, overall rankings utilize
these differences to distinguish between the average ratings from
which rankings are derived.
Using the idea of service clusters and site grouping
produced one of the more interesting sets of data yet. Services were ranked within
slippage groups, using the 4point scale from the participant
questionnaire (1 to 4, with decimal increments). Following are the
aRating refers to the average score of all staff members at projects
within a slippage group for each service. For example, at the three
low slippage sites, service 7 had an average score of 3.7 and ranked
The data in Table 5.3 reveal three interesting findings. The first is
that staff members across sites are very much the same, at least in
that they showed an overall tendency to attach much the same
importance to the same services. Staff members at the high and
low-slippage sites, for example, ranked services 7, 10 and 4 among
their top six professional subgoals, while “research” (number 15)
was ranked at the bottom by both groups. In between, services such as 14, 9, 12, 5 and 2
were very close in relative rankings.
The second observation is that staff members at low-slippage sites
generally placed greater importance on any given service than did
their counterparts at high-slippage sites. For example, service 4,
ranked first at high-slippage sites, was nevertheless rated slightly
higher by low-slippage site staff than by those at high-slippage
sites. One of the cumulative results of this tendency toward higher
ratings by low-slippage site personnel is that they gave above average
(the mathematical norm of 2.5) values to more services than did staff
members at high-slippage sites. As Table 5.3 shows, staff at
low-slippage sites gave ratings of 2.5 or above to 11 of 16 services,
whiles those at high-slippage sites gave the same ratings to only 7 of
16 services. What this seems to suggest is that staff members at
low-slippage sites had a generally more positive attitude than did
their counterparts at other sites, a point referred to earlier, and
that they may, indeed, have had higher energy levels, a point that
will be discussed in the following chapter.
The third finding from the data in Table 5.3 is, perhaps, the most
interesting; there appears to have been a major difference in the ways
staff members at high and low-slippage sites grouped important
subgoals. It can be observed, for example, that services 4, 7, 8, 13
and 10 were among the top six staff subgoals at both high and
low-slippage sites. It is worth noting, however, that service number 1
was ranked in fourth place by staff persons at low-slippage sites and
in fifteenth place by those at high-slippage sites.
When the contents of these services are examined, the point becomes
much clearer. Service 1 is “worksite quality”; number 4 is “paid
work experience”; 6 is “academic skills”; and 10 is “career
guidance”. What seems to have been involved is a matter of breadth
of interpretation about what students need. Staff who saw “paid work
experience” as being their number one priority may have interpreted
the needs of students as being primarily a matter of the students
getting some money and secondly as being something from which they
might learn certain job skills and attitudes that would enable them to
earn money in the future. As a result, the “worksite quality” was
not very important. In short, “paid work experience” was, first
and foremost, an end in itself.
Staff members at low-slippage sites, by contrast, seem to have had a
broader view of students’ needs. What they seem to have believed is
that students require an overall notion of what the real job market
is, what possibilities exist, and what the requirements are. “Paid
work experience,” to them, seems to have been as much a means to an
end as an end in itself. Youths may need money and the experiences of
working, but, in the long run, they really need an understanding of
the world of work and a firm set of skills that prepare them for that
world. For these staff people, “worksite quality” was important.
Getting a student a job with the janitorial staff in a government
building might get the student some money today, but placing the
student on a job in a computer center might be far better. The
immediate money might be the same, but the long range payoff could be
This analysis seems to suggest that service outputs are related to:
(1) the breadth and depth of the staff’s vision of the needs of
students, (2) their ability to develop and maintain a clear focus on
the important subgoals, and (3) an attitude and energy level that are
positive and high enough to accomplish the tasks.
3. Specific Services and Outputs
Since it seemed possible that slippage might be tied, to some extent,
to the types of services a given project chose to emphasize, this
question was examined in part by looking at each service and the type
of site that emphasized the service. This is to say a given service,
such as “career guidance,” might be easier to deliver than another
service, such as “job skills training.” Each project was checked
to see whether each of the 16 services was included within its top
five subgoals. The findings were then grouped by service and slippage
project category. When the data were analyzed, however, no strong
patterns emerged, as Table 5.4 indicates.
Thus, for example, five of the ten projects contracted to emphasize
“worksite quality” (service 1). Of those five, two were low and
one was a high-slippage project. Seven projects indicated they would
emphasize “paid work experience”, and six agreed to emphasize
“academic credit.” On both services, high and low-slippage sites
What can be said fairly safely is that, in this study, the particular
services a project chose to emphasize seem to have had little
relationship to the success of the project.
C. STAFF SUBGOALS AND PROJECT SLIPPAGE
Two subgoal related factors separating low- from high-slippage
projects were aggregate levels of staff professional subgoals, and
congruence between staff and project subgoals. While this research was
not designed to employ high order statistical analysis, data collected
here suggest that these factors may hold at least part of the key to
understanding and potentially predicting the project related behaviors
of bottom line providers of services intended by federal social
aEmphasis refers to those services ranked among a project’s top five
subgoals. bTotal = total number of sites where the specific service
was ranked in the project’s five top subgoals. cLow = number out of
three low-slippage sites, where the service was ranked as one of the
project’s five top subgoals. dHigh = number out of three
high-slippage sites, where the service was ranked as one of the
project’s five top subgoals.
EXPLANATION. Service 10, Career Guidance, was ranked among the top
five subgoals at 8 sites, three of which were low-slippage projects
and one was a high-slippage project, and the rest average slippage
1. Aggregate Level of Professional Subgoals
The aggregate level of staff professional subgoals refers to the
combined average ratings that a staff placed on all of the sixteen
Youthwork services. If the staff at a site averaged a 9 as the value
they placed on one service and placed an 8 on the second and a 9 on a
third and so on through all sixteen services, the combined total of
the values constituted the aggregate level of staff professional
subgoals for that site.
Of the indicators distinguishing low-slippage projects, one of the
most immediately obvious was the aggregate levels of staff
professional subgoals, as the following tables illustrate. Where they
were clearly above the comparable levels specified in projects’
proposals, outputs were consistently high and slippage was minimal.
Where they were at or below those of the projects, slippage was
As Table 5.5 indicates, the aggregate level of staff professional
subgoals at the three low-slippage sites was 105. This is to be
compared with the average comparable level for all projects, which was
85. At middle and high-slippage sites, the averages for staff subgoal
aggregates were 86 and 77, respectively.
It is clear from Table 5.6 that the aggregate level of a staff’s
professional subgoals, alone, does not sharply distinguish
middle-slippage from high-slippage projects. At the same time, it does
serve to separate low-slippage sites from all others.
aAggregate level of staff’s professional subgoals, by site.
bAverage of aggregates of staffs’ professional subgoals at sites
What is equally important, for reasons that are discussed more fully
in the following chapter, the aggregate levels of staff professional
sub goals seem to be particularly important when weighed against the
level called for by the project’s proposal. Table 5.6 illustrates
the critical nature of the balance between aggregate staff subgoals
and the aggregate of project assigned levels.
SOURCE Table 5.6
While it is not intended to make more of these aggregates than they
may be worth, it is, nevertheless, important to point out that they
may indicate a number of things. One is the relative levels of
interest a staff had in a given project’s subgoals. As will be
explained shortly, service outputs showed a clear and consistent
tendency to follow more closely after staff subgoals than those of the
Equally important is the fact that these aggregate levels of staff
professional subgoals may be taken as one measure of the amount of a
precious and scarce resource that any project has available to it to
pro vide the services it has contracted to offer staff energy. Like
time and community goodwill, staff energy levels seem to be critical
resources. Clearly, these aggregates alone do not fully account for
slippage. They may, however, indicate a kind of starting line of the
resources available to a project. This issue of resource scarcity
seems to be important and is discussed at greater length in the next
2. Subgoal Congruence
If there is one thing clear from this research, it is that slippage is
related to the congruence between the subgoals of the staff and those
of the project. Slippage is defined as the difference between the
level of service outputs delivered and the level specified in a
project’s con tract. Data in this study show that the levels of
outputs for delivered services show a consistent and unmistakable
tendency across all sites to follow more closely after the levels of
staff subgoals than the levels specified by the project’s proposal.
Overall, the data are compelling. At sites where the average levels of
staff subgoals for services showed a high degree of congruence with the levels specified by the project, delivery tended to be at a level
equal to or higher than the project called for. Conversely, at sites
where subgoal congruence was low, output levels were lower than the
projects called for.
Secondly, the data show that, when delivered outputs missed the
project’s target level, outputs tended to be closer to the level
suggested by the staff’s subgoals those called for by the project.
In 71 percent of the cases at low-slippage sites, the staff rated a
given service at a level equal to or higher than the project rated it.
At high-slippage sites, the comparable figure was 33 percent. At the
same time, delivery of services at low-slippage sites was at a level
equal to or above that called for by the project in 71 percent of the
cases, but in only 23 percent at high-slippage projects.
Another interesting finding and one that was mentioned earlier, and
that is that in about 40 percent of the cases, delivery was at a level
equal to or higher than staff subgoals seemed to suggest. In large
part, this appears to reflect the tendency of staff to work harder on
those subgoals that the project ranks highly, even though the staff
itself may not place as much value on them. As has already been noted,
there was a high tendency among staff members across sites to place
relatively the same importance on the same services. This similarity
also included the tendency to prioritize their subgoals and to focus
on those the project seemed to believe most important. The fact that
the difference is so small, (0.40 vs. 0.38), between high and
low-slippage sites on this item is entirely consistent.
What this says, so far, is that the greater the congruence between
staff and project subgoals, the greater the likelihood that services will be delivered at levels equal to or greater than those called for
by the project.
A related and important set of data reinforce this point convincingly.
The level of service output misses the target about seven out of ten
times (72%). The point is, however, that when delivery misses the
target level set by the project, output is most often in the direction
of staff subgoals (55%). In 27 percent of the cases, misses are closer
to project subgoals, and 18 percent of the time, they are tied. In one
out of six cases (16%) staff subgoals were higher than the project’s
subgoals and delivery was also higher and, in four out of ten cases
(39%), both delivery and staff subgoals were lower than the project
subgoals. At high-slippage sites, the tendency was more pronounced. In
two thirds of the cases, delivery was in the direction of staff
To clarify this a bit, an analogy may be helpful. If someone with a
bow and arrows was shooting at a target, it would not be expected that
the archer would hit the bulls eye every time. One might, however,
look to see if there was a pattern in the misses.
Further analysis of the suspected pattern of service output delivery
levels and staff subgoals makes a persuasive case. Overall, delivery
missed the project’s target level 72 percent of the time (115 cases
out of 160). Of the 115 misses, delivery was closer to the staff’s
subgoal than to the project’s 61 percent of the time. It was closer
to the project 23 percent of the time and equidistant in 16 percent of
aCases out of a total of 160 in which services were delivered at the
level called for by the project (target), delivered at other levels
(of f target), and direction of delivery if off target.
Where there was a “higher level interest” in a service by either
the project or the staff, that is, a service was rated at a level of 5
or above, actual delivery begin to climb upward in the direction of
the staff. Of the cases where services were not delivered at the
project’s target level and where there was some difference between
the distances separating the level of staff’s subgoal and delivery
and the level of project subgoal and delivery, staff were closer by a
ratio of 68 to 32 overall where their subgoals were involved and by an
even wider margin of 78 to 22, where project subgoals were concerned.
When low and high-slippage sites are considered as groups, the
situation became clearer. At low-slippage sites, there were 25 in
stances (out of a total of 48) in which the project rated a service at
a level of 5 or above, and 35 such cases at high-slippage sites.
(Among other things, the disparity between the numbers25 and 35points
again to a consistent problem at high-slippage sites, and that was an
inability to focus their interests and activities.) Of those cases of
higher rated services, delivery was off target 97 percent of the time
at high-slippage sites and 72 percent of the time at low-slippage
In those cases services were not delivered on target at low-slippage
sites, delivery came closer to staff subgoals than to project target
levels in 61 percent of the instances. At high-slippage sites,
delivery was closer to staff subgoals in 76 percent of the cases. In
only 9 percent of the cases was delivery closer to what the project
There seems little room for doubt from these data that delivery shows
a strong and consistent tendency across all sites to follow more
closely after staff subgoals than those of the project. This, of
course, underscores the importance of subgoal congruence.
D. PROFESSIONAL SUBGOALS, PROJECT SUBGOALS AND OUTPUTS
This section focuses on the sixteen individual services or outputs
that could be offered in Youthwork projects; it analyzes the relation
ships among what was promised, what was delivered, and what were the
professional subgoals of the staff. Nine patterns of relationships
were found and are discussed in this section. For ease of notation,
the following symbols are used: “J” for project subgoal level;
“D” for delivery (i.e., output) level; and “G” for
professional subgoal level.
1. Professional Subgoals (G) are Lower than Project Subgoals (J
G<J and D<J. The project staff rated a service at a lower level
than did the project, and the service was delivered at a lower level
than the project called for.
Overall, in the 160 cases, this situation was found about twofifths of
the time (62 cases). At one site or another, every service fell into
this category. Among the least frequently involved services were
“supplemental services,” “academic quality” and “youth
participation.” It can be noted that these were ranked by the staff
overall in 15th, 10th, and 14th positions, respectively, and in 16th,
13th and 15th positions, respectively, by the project. This simply
seems to say that, when the project promises little or nothing in
terms of delivering a service, there cannot be very much slippage.
The four most frequently involved services were “research,”
“academic credit for work experience,” “worksite quality,” and
“private sector involvement.” This is particularly interesting
because they were ranked 16th, 11th, 9th and 12th, respectively, by
the staff, but as 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th, respectively, by the project.
It should also be noted that “research” suffered at nine of the ten sites,
“worksite quality” at six, “private sector involvement” at
five, and “academic credit for work experience” at eight sites.
At low-slippage sites, the same pattern was found, although it was
somewhat weaker. In eleven of the forty-eight cases, both staff
subgoals and delivery were at levels lower than the project called
for. “Academic credit for work experience” was involved at all
three sites; “re search,” “worksite quality” and
“privatesector involvement” at two, “private sector
involvement” and “career guidance” at one site each.
At high-slippage sites, the pattern was more pronounced. “Academic
credit,” “research,” “worksite quality,” and, interestingly,
“raising enrollees’ levels of aspirations” were involved at all
three sites. “Sex role destereotyping,” “paid work
experience,” “basic academic skills,” “supplemental
services” and “helping youths with their personal problems” were
involved at two sites. With the exception of “job skills
training,” each of the remaining services were involved at least one
b. G<J and D=J. A project’s staff rated a given service at a
lower level than did the project, yet the service was delivered at the
level called for by the project.
This situation was a rarity, and occurred in only 5 percent of 160
cases. These involved “sexrole destereotyping,” “privatesector
involvement and “paid work experience” at two sites each, and
“personal counseling” and “career guidance” at one site each.
Three occurrences happened at low-slippage sites, while two such
instances occurred at a medium slippage site, and another three at
c. G<J and D>J. A project’s staff rated a given service at a
lower level than did the project, but the service was delivered at a
level higher than the project called for.
No case of this situation was found, nor was any expected. It
seems unlikely that, given the necessity to allocate scarce resources,
staff members would expend enough time and effort to deliver a service
at a higher level than either they or the project believed
One likely explanation is that the services that suffered most
frequently were those that were farthest from the professional
interests of the staff. It may be recalled that two thirds of all
project participants and nearly ninety percent of project staff
members came from backgrounds in public school education. Such things
as “research,” “academic credit for work experience” and
“expanding private sector involvement in education” are typically
far removed from the mainline professional Interests of high school
teachers and counselors. Related to this is the fact that, even where
the staff may have wanted to deliver these services at a higher level,
they did not have the experience or skills to do so. It is an
interesting observation that Youthwork considered these services to be
the most innovative and essential to its mission of supporting
What appears to have happened is that staff members rated certain
services as unimportant and, regardless of the fact that the project
or Youthwork called for high levels of delivery on them, the staff
responded to their own drummers. In short, where staff members rated a
given subgoal as unimportant to their professional subgoals, they
appeared unwilling to allocate much of their time and effort to
providing that service.
There is an important caveat. This relationship does not necessarily
apply to those subgoals on which the project focused. As noted earlier
in this chapter, staff members seem to focus their efforts, with the result that any given project’s top two or three priority items were
most frequently those that were delivered at the highest level by the
2. Professional and Project Subgoals Are Equal
a. G=J and D<J. The professional subgoals of a project’s staff
rate a given service at the same level as does the project, but
delivery is at a lower level than the project calls for
As might be expected, this situation was relatively rare, occurring in
only about 7 percent of the cases (11 times), and, with one exception,
seems to have occurred almost randomly. All but two sites (H and E, a
mid and a high-slippage site respectively) were involved. One service
was involved at sites B, D, I, A and H. Two services were involved at
Sites A and C, and three services were involved at sites J, C and G.
“Career guidance” was the only service involved at three sites,
while “academic standards” was involved in two sites, with the
rest of the cases occurring at a single site.
The exception to the general randomness across sites and services was
the already noted instances of “career guidance.” Both staff and
projects rated this service as a top priority, and its delivery ranked
second only to “paid work experience.” Nevertheless, at three
sites, delivery of career guidance was at a lower level than called
for by the project. Why this occurred is not at all clear. One of the
sites involved was ranked first in terms of delivery and last in terms
of slip page. The other two sites were both medium slippage projects.
Two explanations seem plausible. One is that both project and staff
subgoals overshot reality, which is to say that no matter how much
both wanted to deliver, providing “career guidance” for the type
of youths involved proved to be more difficult than either the proposal writers
or the staff imagined. The students in the programs had serious
problems all were poor, most were low academic achievers, many had
police records, and few came from families where career planning was
discussed at dinner. Jobs were few in the areas involved; in fact,
Youthwork gave projects only to high unemployment areas. In many
cases, the effort necessary to get students jobs, let alone jobs with
any career potential, wore out the teaching staff.
A second, equally plausible explanation is that the case of career
guidance was a fluke measurement error perhaps.
b. G=J and D=J. A given service is rated on the project’s staff’s
list of professional subgoals at the same level as the project rates
it, and delivery is equal to that called for by the project
Interestingly, this situation was detected in only seven cases. Four
situations were at low-slippage sites and involved “attitude
training,” “academic skills,” “career guidance” and “youth
participation.” At high slippage sites, there were no occurrences.
c. G=J and D>J. A project staff rates a given service at the same
level as does the project, but delivery of that service is at a level
greater than either the project or staff call for.
Of 160 cases, this occurred only twice. While these instances may be
taken as oddities, the particular sites and services suggest another
possible explanation. Both projects were among the three low slippage
sites; the services were “worksite quality” and “academic
One project was officially based at a high school, but was actually
headquartered and run by the local Chamber of Commerce. In addition,
the project was a spinoff of a decade old set of Chamber sponsored
activities focused on problems related to youth unemployment.
What seems likely is that the norms used by both the project
developers and staff alike to judge these two services and those used
by outside evaluators were different. This is to say that what the
project staff took as normal quality in their specific local context
was judged to be above average by outsiders viewing delivery levels
from a broader, national perspective. What the staff and project meant
when they said they would deliver “high quality work sites” and
“academic standards” for project youths may have sounded the same
as what other projects said, but they may have meant something quite
different. They may have taken high quality as a norm.
Overall, staff professional subgoal ratings for given services matched
exactly those of the project in 13 percent of the 160 cases and, in 11
of the 20 instances Involved, delivery was at a level lower than the
project called for. Given the strong tendency of delivery to follow
staff subgoals, it seems probable that other factors may have been
operative in some if not all of those cases. This is a matter that
will be taken up again later in this chapter.
3. Professional Subgoals Are Greater Than Project Subgoals
a G>J and D<J. On a project staff’s list of professional
subgoals, a given service is rated at a higher level than the project
rates it, but delivery is at a level lower than the project calls for.
In 9 percent of the total number of cases, the delivery of a given
service was at a level lower than the project called for, even though
staff subgoals placed a higher value on the service than did the
project. With the exceptions of “attitude training,” which was
ranked third over all by staff, and “research,” which was ranked last, all but four
other services fell into this category at least once. “Worksite
quality,” “paid work experience,” “basic academic skills”
and “raising aspirations” occurred at two sites each.
Only one of the fourteen instances of this situation happened at a
low-slippage site, while one of the high-slippage projects experienced
this situation with five different services. “Academic standards”
was involved at the low-slippage site. This case may again have been a
matter of intentions overshooting reality. “Basic skills” was
rated at a 9 by staff at Site H, while the project promised only a 6
and delivery was at a 5.
Several explanations are plausible. One is that, even though the staff
believed that teaching “basic academic skills” was very important,
the fact that the project rated it lower led the staff to allocate
less resources to it. Another explanation is that the staff found
students had so many other immediate problems that needed to be dealt
with that the staff simply did not have much time to devote to
“basic academic skills” training.
Comparable instances at medium and high-slippage sites seem to be of a
different variety. At Site F (high-slippage), at which three of these
instances occurred, the project started badly and got consistently
worse. The first director was replaced; a key staff member was fired;
teachers were arbitrarily assigned to and from the project by the
local school board; others were simply RIFed. Insecurity was rampant.
Hostilities were epidemic. Nonetheless, many of the staff had strong
and high professional subgoals. These subgoals, however, seem to have
been overridden by personal subgoal conflicts. This is a point that
will be discussed again later in this chapter.
b. G>J and D=J. The project staff rates a given service at a higher
level than does the project, and the service is delivered at the level
called for by the project.
This combination of conditions occurred in nearly onefifth of all
cases, and involved every site and service except four services.
Interestingly, two of the services most frequently involved were
providing “supplemental services” and “youth participation in decision making.” They were ranked sixteenth and fifteenth,
respectively, by the projects and fourteenth and fifteenth by staff
members overall. What this means is that, on both the projects’ and
staffs’ scales of priorities, these two services were at the bottom
of the lists. The fact that they happened to be delivered at the level
called for by the project probably does not mean very much.
c. G>J and D>J. The project staff rates a given service at a
higher level than does the project and the service is delivered at a
higher level than the project calls for.
Overall, twenty-six such cases were noted and they accounted for 16
percent of all cases. These amounted to 93 percent of all situations
in which the level at which a service was delivered exceeded that
called for by the project.
Two middle-slippage sites (J and I) and two high-slippage sites (A and
C) showed no instances of this set of conditions. “Worksite
quality,” “academic credit,” “career guidance” and
“research” were the only services not involved.
The services most frequently involved were “personal counseling”
and help. Overall, these were ranked twelfth and fifteenth by the
projects, but seventh and eighth by the staffs. The differences may be
Important. From the staffs’ viewpoint, only “paid work
experience,” “career guidance," “attitude training,” “aspirations,” “basic skills” and
“job training” were more important. From project’s perspective,
few services were less important.
The result was that staffs apparently spent more time and effort on
these personal services than the projects asked for and delivered them
at higher levels than the projects required. Given the backgrounds of
most staff members education, this is hardly surprising.
More than half the instances of this situation were at low-slippage
sites (15 of 27 cases). “Personal counseling,” “job skills
training”, “academic standards,” “raising youth’s
aspirations and “helping youths with their personal problems” were
most frequently involved there. All are services that were rated as
relatively unimportant by the projects. At the same time, they are the
kinds of services that would be of relatively high importance to staff
members with professional backgrounds in teaching and counseling.
The only high-slippage site involved was F, where three instances of
this situation were observed. These included “attitude training,”
“personal counseling” and “help with personal problems.” Site
F is the project referred to earlier as the one that started badly and
got worse. What this may suggest is that, even under the worst of
conditions, core values remain intact. Staff members at Site F may not
have been able to do much, for a variety of reasons, about work
related activities or even to produce much in the way of academically
related services; nevertheless, the staff and their professional
subgoals could not be reduced to the point that no services were
E. ORGANIZATIONAL SUBGOALS, PERSONAL SUBGOALS AND OUTPUTS
The Simon Hypothesis suggests that individually held organizational
subgoals and personal subgoals might influence the behaviors of street
level bureaucrats. In order to test this idea, four items were
formulated for the participant questionnaire that concerned
organizational subgoals and seven were developed that involved
personal subgoals. Data concerning the findings on these subgoals were
discussed in the previous chapter.
Several central questions relating to these subgoals are considered in
this section. One involves what happens when a staff’s
organizational subgoals conflict with those of the project. Another
concerns what results when personal subgoals appear to dominate
individual behavior. A third involves a set of possible relationships
among the three types of subgoals and output.
1. Organizational Subgoals
One item on the participant questionnaire concerned the amount of time
and other resources individuals appear to have been willing to expend
in cooperating with other organizations, agencies and individuals in
order to provide project related services to youths. A related question
involved cooperation with the funding source(s), and a third concerned
the extent to which participants seemed willing to promote a positive
image of the project to the community. Two additional questions of a
more general nature were asked. One involved the level of the
Individual’s apparent overall commitment to the organization and the
other concerned the extent to which the individual seemed to feel a
conflict between the organization’s subgoals and those of the
The broad question here is whether or not these organizational
subgoals seem to have been related in systematic ways with the levels
of outputs a given staff delivered.
An overall norm was established for each question across the ten
sites. This was done by averaging the values of each individual
question. Each project was then considered according to whether staff
members’ organizational subgoals were either equal to or above the
average for that question or below that average for that item.
2. Organizational Subgoals and Delivery
Overall, organizational subgoals, as formulated in this study, do not
appear to have been strongly related to the levels of service out
puts. In 59 percent of the cases of service delivery at sites where
the staffs experienced a higher than average level of conflict between
sub goals for the organization and those for the project, the level of
out put for a given service was lower than the project specified. At
the same time, however, in 58 percent of the cases of service delivery
at sites where organizational and project subgoal conflict was below
aver age, delivery was still at a lower level then the project
stipulated. The same general situation appears to have existed as far
as organizational commitment went and as far as willingness to
cooperate with other agencies, organizations and individuals was
Two items did seem to reveal a positive relationship between outputs
and individually held organizational subgoals. These involved the
willingness of the staff to cooperate with the funding sources and
with the community. In 77 percent of the cases of service outputs at
sites where the staff rated these subgoals at below average levels,
output levels were below those called for by the projects. Conversely, in 55 percent
of service output cases at sites where higher than average levels of
willingness to cooperate with funding sources were found, delivery
equaled or exceeded the levels called for by the projects. Exactly the
same finding seems to have been associated with staff willingness to
project a positive image of the project to the community.
It is not clear what, if anything, these findings mean. It seems
possible, for example, that the questions themselves did not really
get to the heart of the individually held organizational subgoals, and
that the two questions concerning staff willingness to cooperate with
external agencies may reflect personal subgoals more than
At the same time, it appears equally plausible to suggest that it
might be revealing to examine each site in terms of staff
organizational subgoals and service outputs. It might be that these
aggregated data may mask other important relationships. For example,
while aggregations of service outputs may differ little from one
organizational subgoal to another, outputs on particular services or
patterns of services could be related in some systematic way.
Consequently, this possibility is explored in the following section.
3. Organizational Subgoal at Individual Sites
One project, Site H, seemed to stand out above the others in terms of
the willingness of the staff to cooperate with other organizations and
agencies to secure project related services for project enrollees. It
also ranked second in overall service outputs and second from the
least in slippage.
This project also had the longest history of organizational activity
on a community wide basis. While it was technically listed as a school
based program, it was In fact run by the Chamber of Commerce and
headed by a director who was tied into the whole network of local
businesses. With this background, It Is not surprising to find a staff
strongly committed to working with other organizations.
At the same time, It seems highly likely that much of the strength and
success of Project H resulted from its strong interorganizational ties
and cooperative working relationships. “Paid work experience,”
“private sector involvement” and “worksite quality” were all
rated at the top level of output, as were the project’s two other
top priority services "career guidance” and “attitude training.
On the other hand, it should also be noted that, at another low
slippage site, Project B, staff were ranked at a lower level on inter
organizational cooperation than were the cases at the two highest
slippage sites. Moreover, the staff at Site G, a middle-slippage
project, were ranked second in terms of interorganizational
It appears there is no necessary and consistent relationship between
this Item and slippage. What may well be is that the importance of
this type of cooperativeness is project specific. What this means is
that projects may differ in the extent to which such cooperativeness
is required for success. To the extent that cooperativeness is
necessary for success, high levels of staff willingness to cooperate
will be required. Such willingness, in and of itself, however is no
guarantee of success, as was evidenced at Site G, nor is such
cooperation inherently necessary, as Project B illustrated.
4. Cooperation with Funding Source
There seems to have been a more consistent, but not much stronger
relationship between a staff’s willingness to cooperate with the
funding sources and the level of the project’s service outputs than
was true of the preceding case. The three sites at which the
respective staffs rated this item lowest were the three high-slippage
projects. Among the remaining sites, there seems to have been no
consistent pattern. At one low-slippage site and at one in the
middle-slippage group, both had staffs with very high ratings. The
rest were all rated at the same, medium high level of 7.
5. Community Relations
Looking at the projects and respective staff members individually,
staff concern with projecting a positive image of the project to the
community appears to have had the strongest and most consistent
relationship to service output levels of the four organizational
subgoals. Staffs at the three low-slippage sites had ratings on this
subgoal of 9, 9 and 10, respectively. One middle-slippage staff also
had a 9, while the others in that group had an 8. At the high-slippage
sites, the ratings were 7, 5 and 5, respectively.
Equally important, nearly half the individual staff members at the
three high-slippage sites ranked “community relations” as either
“not very important” or not important at all.” By contrast,
fewer than one in ten staff members at low-slippage sites gave the
same ratings. At one such site, the entire staff rated “community
relations” as very important. At another, 80 percent of staff
members gave this same rating to community relations.
6. Commitment to Organizational Subgoals and
Conflict Between Organizational and Project Subgoals
As noted, the patterns that emerged relative to these subgoals and
outputs at different sites revealed little in general. Overall, there
appears to be no consistent variations on either of these questions
that can be tied directly to levels of delivery. Perceived conflict
appeared to have been in the low-to-moderate range at low medium and
high slippage sites alike with one notable exception while
organizational commitment was registered in the strong range at all
but two sites.
There are, however, a few observations that should be made. One
concerns Site A, where the level of staff commitment to the subgoals
of the organization seem to have been somewhat weaker than at any
other site, except one. Site A suffered from a serious split between
staff and administration. Two issues were central. One concerned
priorities and the other involved management styles. On the priorities
Issue, project administrators appear to have been highly committed to
the project’s priorities, which included “basic academic
skills,” “attitude training,” “raising youth’s
aspirations” and, at a somewhat lower level, “research.” Staff,
however, seem to have had little interest in those priorities and to
have instead been primarily concerned with placing students in paying
jobs and making sure they received high school diplomas. The quality
of the jobs seems to have made virtually no difference. In fact, it is
obvious that some of the jobs were of dubious legality. Academic
standards were not characterized by their high quality. In fact,
students were graduated who were far short of having acquired the
necessary number of school credits. Staff and administration never
came to agreement.
At the same time, the situation was exacerbated by the director’s management style, which many staff members considered heavy handed.
One result was that everyone lost and slippage was rampant. About the
only things delivered were paid jobs. The staff went out, recruited
private sector employers and put students into those jobs. Several
staff also devoted considerable time to talking with youths about
their problems and maintaining personal relations with the youths.
Otherwise, such services as “basic academic skills,” “career
guidance,” “aspirations” and “research” went by the wayside.
The second exception involved Site F. One of the interesting things
about Site F is that the staff was divided between (1) those who had
little or no commitment to the organization, (2) those who were
moderately committed, and (3) those who were very strongly committed.
At the same time, the level of conflict they seem to have felt was
much higher than that at any other site. As mentioned earlier,
dissension was ram pant but, unlike Project A, dissension involved
more than priorities and management style.
Project F’s host organization had begun a half dozen years earlier
as a community based street academy for exoffenders, drug addicts and
other high risk youths. Over the years, it had developed what appears
to have been a set of highly successful methods and a good track
record, as evidenced by community support. By the time Youthwork
entered the picture, the host organization had become a semipublic
agency, with most of its funding coming from the local board of
In accepting funding from the U.S. Department of Labor, the
organization also had to accept Youthwork priorities and concerns, as
well as its restrictions and limitations. As time went by, the staff
and administration alike felt increasing stress as they moved farther
and farther from their old and from their points of view, at least successful ways
of doing their jobs. While few, if any, realized at the start that the
subgoals of Youthwork and their own organizational subgoals were
incompatible, most came to the realization before the year had
progressed very far. By the year’s end, it was clear to all that the
subgoals were not only incompatible but that they were mutually
destructive. It might be pointed out as a postscript that, despite
every conceivable kind of problem, their overall level of service
output was higher than might be expected.
F. PERSONAL SUBGOALS AND DELIVERY
Personal subgoals are posited in the Simon Hypothesis as one of three
sets of individually held subgoals influencing behaviors of street
level bureaucrats in loosely coupled systems. In this study, personal
subgoals are considered to be derived from individual needs one of the
central Ideas examined in this section concerns what happens to the
level of service outputs when personal subgoals are either not
fulfilled or are threatened.
Personal subgoal data were presented in the previous chapter on an
item-by-item basis. What are discussed here are the relationships
between these subgoals and service outputs.
2. Personal Subgoals
Seven personal subgoals were involved and ordered in a general pain
pleasure set of subcategories. The first category included three sub
goals believed to be particularly sensitive to threat. These were an
individual’s needs for: (1) personal security, (2) economic
security, and (3) to feel fairly treated. The second set included
subgoals where the level of fulfillment, rather than threat, seemed to
be the chief characteristic. These were a feeling of ownership in the
project, a sense of personally helping youths and belief that one’ s
career might be advanced in some way by working in the program, and a
perception of participating in personally rewarding activities.
For reasons discussed in the previous chapter, two of these personal
subgoals advancement” and “personally helping youths" are not
very illuminating. Briefly, project staff generally appeared to have
been relatively unconcerned about “career advancement,” and, at
the same time, most with very few exceptions felt they were doing a
good job helping project youths. Consequently, these two subgoals are
3. Subgoals Subject to Threat
First, it should be noted that, in general, staff members across all
sites seemed to feel relatively secure in terms of personal safety,
job security and fair treatment on the job. In short, few staff
members at any site appeared to feel very threatened. This may
indicate only that, (1) despite popular opinion, schools are probably
pretty safe places to work, (2) school people are not very worried
about loosing their jobs, and (3) projects rewarded staff members at a
levels generally consistent with what the individuals expected. In any event, 100 percent of the
staff members at four sites and 90 percent at another four gave no
indication that they were concerned at all about personal safety. More
over, 100 percent of staff personnel at four sites and 80 percent at a
fifth project gave similar indications with regard to economic
security. The sites involved in both cases included projects in all
three slippage groups.
The second point to be made is not so mundane, however, and may be the
most important and revealing finding yet in this research. Whenever a
strong sense of threat to “personal safety,” “economic
security,” or fair treatment was perceived by a project’s staff
members, outputs on almost all services were below the level called
for by the project.
The most striking but by no means the only illustration of this is
Site F, where a high level of concern for personal safety was shown by
all staff members, without exception. One staff member went to the
extent of getting herself transferred from the project to another
school because of her fear. More telling, perhaps, is the fact that
the project’s first ethnographer, a trained urban anthropologist,
quit her job in midyear because of her fears of personal violence.
One example may serve to illustrate the perceived conditions at the
site. The occasion was a Thanksgiving dinner prepared by the staff and
a few students for project enrollees. When a very large cake was being
served, the staff discovered that three knives, which were to be used
to cut the cake, were missing. Fear was immediate. A few minutes
later, a fight broke out between two students. Sheer panic hit.
Teachers and students alike grabbed chairs to protect themselves.
Others dove under tables. Some fled the building in terror.
As it turned out, the fight was stopped without serious injury to
anyone. The missing knives were recovered, unused, and the dinner was
resumed and concluded, albeit with caution, but without further
4. Subgoals Subject to Reward
Certain personal subgoals seem more sensitive to rewards and the
withholding of rewards than to direct threats. Among these, two
appeared particularly important. One is a sense of ownership in the
project. Because this was discussed in the previous chapter, little
need to be added at this point, except to suggest that what seems to
have been involved with project staff was a kind of “threshold.”
There seems to have been a point on the scale of perceived ownership
which marked the line of demarcation between disenfranchisement and
ownership. Whether an individual or group of individuals at a site
felt a high or low level of ownership seemed to have had little
bearing on service outputs, just so long as the individuals did not
cross the threshold into perceived disenfranchisement.
A sense of participating in personally needed and rewarding activities
seems to be another personal subgoal susceptible to fulfillment. For a
learning coordinator at Site H this meant teaching American history to
her students so they could get academic credit. To a “mentor” in
Project B, personal fulfillment meant being able to do the carpentry
work in restoring and maintaining the host organization’s buildings.
For a staff member at Site I, happiness was being able to conduct a
teacher training workshop on sex role destereotyping in jobs.
What seems to have been involved generally was that either the project
provided individuals with an opportunity to pursue their own
personally rewarding activities or that the individual found the
requirements of the job to be so demanding and time consuming that he
or she did not have time to pursue personally rewarding interests.
Often, the problem seemed to center around the paperwork requirements
of the Youthwork “knowledge development” thrust. Time was limited
and time spent on a nonfulfilling activity, such as “research,”
was time taken from more rewarding endeavors.
The net effects here were less dramatic than where personal subgoals
were threatened, but nevertheless they were still debilitating to out
puts. In general, there is a sense that, where individual staff
members were able to pursue their personal interests, things tended to
go more smoothly, energy levels were higher, overall interest was
keener and maintained longer, and output levels more closely
approximated those called for by the project. Conversely, when
individuals seemed to feel they were prevented or preempt from
pursuing personal interests, energy levels seemed to dissipate,
interest diminished, a feeling of “burn out” a phrase used by more
than one staff member set in, and problems seemed to multiply.
1. Seven Tentative Findings
In this chapter, an analysis of the relationships between each of
three sets of individually held subgoals and outputs of project
services has been made. Essentially, the data appear to support
Herbert Simon’s hypothesis that: (1) individual subgoals do exist, (2) that such
subgoals fall into three categories, and (3) that they do influence
the behaviors of streetlevel bureaucrats in loosely coupled systems.
If, for example, subgoals did not exist or if they did not influence
the behaviors of frontline service providers, the consistent patterns
of relationships found in this study would not be expected. Because of
the essentially qualitative nature of the original data, no attempt
was made to claim “conclusiveness” on any point or of
“generalizability” beyond this study; rather, a set of tentative
findings have been suggested. They are identified briefly below.
Tentative Finding One. Service outputs appear to follow more closely
after the professional subgoals of a project’s staff than they do
after the levels specified by the project.
Tentative Finding Two. A project’s staff appears to give strong
consideration to the project’s top rated subgoals in developing
their own professional subgoals. One result seems to be that project
outputs tended to be highest on those subgoals rated highest by the
project. Staff seemed to pay little attention to those subgoals that
the project rated as being of lesser importance, with a very important
caveat: where a staff rated a given service as being among their own
to top rated professional subgoals they were likely to devote
considerable time and effort to that service.
Tentative Finding Three. The extent to which a project was able to
focus its activities, as well as the narrowness or breadth with which
the staff interpreted the project’s subgoals, seem to influence both
quantity and quality of service outputs. This is illustrated in the
pattern within subgoal clusters at high and low-slippage sites suggested in Table 5.4.
Tentative Finding Four. Staff whose energy levels seem to have been
highest and whose overall professional subgoals were highest (as
indicated by the cumulative weight of their professional subgoals)
consistently had the highest level of overall service outputs. It is
possible that instead of measuring “energy,” the study might
actually have been measuring competency.
Tentative Finding Five. Where a project’s subgoals were inconsistent
with or irrelevant to community needs and attitudes or where the
project’s staff was insensitive to community values, lack of
community interest and support was likely. In turn, the lack of such
support seems to have had a negative impact on the professional
subgoals of staff members, with one frequent result being a
diminishing of service outputs.
Tentative Finding Six. Except in cases where individually held
organizational subgoals were perceived by staff members as being in
strong conflict with those of the project, such organizational
subgoals seem to have had little relationship to project outputs.
Tentative Finding Seven. Whenever individually held personal sub goals
became dominant, project service outputs diminished.
2. Unanswered Questions
This chapter has sought to explore some of the relationships among
three sets of individually held subgoals and service outputs at
various sites. The evidence presented suggests that such relationships
do exist and that they are important elements in accounting for
slippage. One of the important questions remaining concern the mechanisms by which such
subgoals operate and the relationships they have with various external
factors and service outputs at the sites. This is the subject of the
151-1See Appendix C
for additional data and technical notes.