New York Telephone Developmental Studies Program: A case study of a corporate literacy program

Barbara Sue Ritchin, Fordham University


The purpose of this study was to research the development, implementation and impact of the New York Telephone Developmental Studies Program, a college-based corporate-sponsored literacy program, on the corporation and program participants. Five research questions were postulated, and to answer them, the case study method of research was employed. The primary unit of investigation was the New York Telephone Developmental Studies Program. The sub-units of analyses were: (1) fourteen personnel managers who were involved in the development and implementation of the program; (2) ten company employees who supervised participants in the program; and (3) forty management and non-management personnel who had successfully completed at least one course in the program. Participants and supervisors were randomly selected from school and company records. Interview questionnaires were developed for each of the three sub-units of analysis. Nine questions were asked of the personnel management, five questions were asked of supervisors of participants and eight questions were asked of the program participants. In addition, a search was conducted of all appropriate Telephone Company documents, including memos, reports and letters. The responses of each set of questionnaires were analyzed and discussed, and the information was summarized in relation to the five research questions. The results of this study documented one corporation's reasons for developing and implementing an employee literacy program, and the impact that program had on the participants. Specific findings included: (1) The perceptions by all three sub-units of analysis that the program had a positive impact on participants' job improvement and career advancement, as well as a noticeable increase in self-confidence and self-esteem. (2) The confirmation that even though adults bring past failures to the classroom, it is not necessary to structure the classroom in a non-judgemental atmosphere; rather, it is important to structure an environment where successful learning can be achieved. (3) The support of the concept that educating the whole person creates a better employee, rather than educating the employee for a particular function. (4) The identification that today's corporate environment requires an expansion of the term adult literacy to include those skills necessary to maintain a position in today's technological society.

Subject Area

Adult education|Continuing education

Recommended Citation

Ritchin, Barbara Sue, "New York Telephone Developmental Studies Program: A case study of a corporate literacy program" (1990). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI9109240.