Higher Education for Business

By Robert Aaron Gordon; James Edwin Howell | Go to book overview

appendix B
SURVEY OF BUSINESS FIRMS

IN Chapters 4, 5, and 6 we cited evidence compiled from intensive interviews held with officials of a sample of business firms. The companies included in this survey were not selected randomly, nor is the sample representative of the population of all business concerns. Since the survey was primarily designed to secure information regarding company practices, experiences, and policies in reference to the employment of college and university graduates, we felt that the smaller companies, which individually employ few graduates, would not have enough experience in this area to provide meaningful responses. The responses obtained from the small firms which were included in the survey substantiated this opinion. In addition, we did not have the resources to undertake a sample survey which would include both a substantial and representative panel of small firms as well as an adequate sample of medium and large firms. Ordinarily it is considerably more difficult to develop an adequate sample of small companies and to secure cooperation for intensive interviews than it is in the case of large firms. To secure information by personal interview from a representative sample of small firms would have entailed considerable expense in compiling a "universe" of such firms from which to derive a stratified sample; we should have had to cope with a high rejection ratio in making the first approach; and we should have needed for interviewing more staff, time, and funds than were at our disposal.

Thus, small companies (those with fewer than 1,000 employees) are significantly under-represented in our sample. As company size increases, the ratio of firms included in our survey to all firms in the United States in that size class increases. This design with its emphasis on the larger companies seems defensible for our purposes. In general, there is a positive association between the size of firm and the degree of attention given by a company to problems of selecting and training management personnel. Within the universe of large firms in the United States we were careful to secure a representative panel of firms in terms of industry classification and geographical location.

Given these considerations, we selected a panel of 111 firms as the basis for a survey based on intensive personal interviews. For various

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