A Measurement Model of the Economic Impact of Small Business Institutes
The initial intent of this paper is to present a measurement model of the economic impact
of an individual small business institute (SB!), with the ultimate intent being the develop ment and use of a standard model throughout the United States. A standard model would allow the analysis of collected data from many SB!s in order to encourage a review of the ef fectiveness as well as eff iciency of the SB! program in areas such as research applications, management analysis, and program/agency comparisons (36, 40). This economic impact model involves impact evaluation, defined by Patton as:
These evaluations are aimed at determining porgram results and effects, especially for the purposes of making major decisions ab6ut program continuation, expan sion, reduction, and funding (31).
In constructing the economic impact model, the needs of the model to satisf y information requirements of diverse groups such as SB! directors, SB! clients, and government funding agencies was the paramount concern. Therefore, the development of the economic impact model was guided by the following quotation from Connolly, Conlon, and Deutsch:
We argue that an answer to the question "How well is X performing?" is inevitably contingent on whom one is asking. That is, the evaluative criteria required to transform a descriptive into an evaluative statement flow from the individuals or groups to whom we are referring as "constituencies"...(10).
In the economic impact model to be presented, the paramount constituency are the SB! clients; the secondary constituency consists of outside reviewers who fund the SB! program as well as SB! directors. The ordering in terms of importance of thse constituencies guided the selection of economic criteria for inclusion in this model.