Decentralized Applied Research: Factors Affecting the Use of Audience Research by Arts Organizations

Paul Dimaggio, Michael Useem

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Little empirical work has estimated the actual importance of factors said to affect the extent to which applied social research is utilized by client organizations. To identify the salience of various factors in facilitating or inhibiting the use of applied research, we have examined the application of one form of research in one decentralized setting-the utilization of audience studies by arts organizations. Drawing on the findings of 25 intensive case studies of diverse audience research, we specify the critical factors affecting utilization of audience studies in arts-organization policy making. Studies were most likely to have powerful effects (a) when their findings confirmed the predilections of arts managers, (b) when an influential person actively sought implementation, and (c) when researchers were involved on a sustained basis in staff deliberations. Studies were not utilized (a) under conditions of high staff tumover, (b) when organizations lacked the resources to use their findings, and (c) when influential individuals were hostile or indifferent. Contrary to the conventional model of research utilization, the technical quality of a study had no effect on the likelihood that it would be used.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)79-94
    Number of pages16
    JournalThe Journal of Applied Behavioral Science
    Issue number1
    StatePublished - Jan 1979

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Applied Psychology


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