The Impact of a County-Wide Vision Plan on Decision Making and Trends Within the County: A Comparison of Tillamook and Clatsop Counties
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This project examines the impacts that a county-wide vision plan has had in its county on decision making and trends. My first hypothesis was that if the county vision plan was acknowledged and used by leaders within the county, it would have a positive effect on trends within the county. Secondly, and tied in with the first hypothesis, is that in order for the vision to be truly effective it would have to be embraced by county leaders and used to guide decision making for the county. I tested these hypotheses using two methods: a comparison of data for thirteen benchmarks between the county with a vision plan and a county without; and an online survey and telephone interviews targeting leaders in both counties to determine attitudes and perceptions of the vision plan and its impacts upon decision making. I found that the vision plan is only used sometimes to guide the decision making of the leaders who responded. Coupled with that, leaders perceived that the vision was only used sometimes to guide the County Commissioners’ decision making. Surprisingly, I did find that organizations and agencies were using the vision plan to aid in funding decisions, goal setting, and service offering. Because organizations are often closer to the issues and can influence more tangible outcomes, this probably led to my other finding that the county with the vision plan is faring better on benchmark trends than the other county without a vision plan. To sum up, the vision is not being used by government leaders to aid in decision making, but is being used by organizational leaders to guide decision making and operations.