Modelling the Factors of Success in Rural Administration(Case Study: Baladarband, Kermanshah Province, Iran)



Local institutions in Iran are known as local administrators. These indigenous self-help groups have been around since 1998 with the Act of Establishing Self-sufficient Local Administrators across the country. According to the latest statistics, the rank of Kermanshah province is second in the Positions of local institutions across the country. Interestingly, Khorasane-Razavi holds the largest number of local institutions in the country. There are several activities set for local administrators by government body. For example, different domains of activities may range from social and economical issues to the cultural and environmental ones; but it may even go beyond these activities. Currently local administrators are held accountable for so- called “Hadi Project” (Directing Plan). This project that started a few years ago is a type of rural planning that aims to improve the overall view of villages across Iran. Villages that have undergone Hadi Planning are physically attractive and environmentally safe. This participatory project is coordinated by local administration and it is the responsibility of local administrative to see that the project is well underway and that rural villagers are involved in every step of the project. Local administrations are involved in local services too. Rural sanitations, sewage systems, water, electricity, gas, and many more services but a few are on the shoulders of these people-centered institutions. Although local administrations have been active during the past 8 years in Kermanshah province, little attention has been paid to made to the diverse activities played by these indigenous groups. Moreover, limited existing researches reveal determinants of success among local administrations in Kermanshah province. Therefore, the purpose of this qualitative study has been determining different activities that local administrations are engaged in, and finally analyze the factors of success as perceived by local administrative.

The nature of this study required a different approach to research methodology. Thus in order to gain a deep insight and collect rich primary data sources, a qualitative method deemed appropriate for this study. A grounded theory approach as proposed by Strauss and Corbin has been used to collect and analyze data. The unit of analysis is included 12 local administrators in Baladarband region in Kermanshah Township. Data was collected by using semi-structured and several focus group interviews. A three step process as recommended by Strauss and Corbin has been used to analyze data in grounded theory approach. Open coding as well as the axial and selective ones have bee used as the basis in data analysis. Through the open coding 50 concepts emerged from the data. These concepts were then summarized and reduced in the number of categories and core category has been identified in the course of axial coding. Finally, the conceptual model has been formed by selective coding.

Results revealed that the main activities played by local administrators were implementation of Hadi Project and public services as requested by local villagers. This, in turn, made local administrators to focus less on environmental activities and there fore remains a gap among different important duties. Moreover, selective coding showed that local administrators believed that one’s success is dependent on: local good governance, job satisfaction, personal and professional characteristics of local administrators, access to the physical resources as well as financial ones. According to the results, good local governance has been the most important factor of success in of rural administration (the core category). This category consisted of the following sub-categories: participation of local and governmental institutions and rural people with local administrators, their adequate and transparent information, and local administrators' responsiveness and legitimacy. Therefore, the final conceptual model derived from this study consisted of job satisfaction, personal and professional characteristics of local administrators, and access to physical and financial resources.

The results of this study had implications for agricultural and rural development policy-makers in Kermasnshah province. First, rural development practitioners need to be aware of several diverse activities in which local administrators are involved. This would help rural development practitioners to develop a mindset that in order to effectiveness of local administrative to more physical and monetary assistances are required. Second, if policy-makers at national level are interested to develop these local institutions across the country, they need to be provided with more jurisdictions and autonomy. In other words, local administrators can only be effective if they feel more secured in their job and provided with more support in terms of effective local good governance. Finally, it is recommended that future study use a mixed method approach, so that all dimensions of local administrators are taken into account.