The Delphi process as a tool for decision making. The case of vocational training of people with handicaps

Simon Hakim, J. Weinblatt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


This paper discusses the need for consensus among groups and individuals who are involved in the training of people with handicaps. It is hypothesized that an a priori clear definition of the goals and objectives by decision makers who make the public funds available will provide guidelines to agencies and social workers who actually train the clients. Statements of goals and objectives may lead to more effective program planning and delivery of services. This investigation revealed that neither the legislators nor the executives in the federal government who are charged to oversee these programs were a priori aware about their goals and objectives, nor do they share similar preferences. The authors used a Delphi method to test whether consensus and consistency exist among the groups and within each group. The following groups were investigated: federal legislators, federal and state policy makers, directors of rehabilitation centers, and the staff who actually train the clients. The views of academicians, who are involved in analyzing rehabilitation programs, and teaching rehabilitation personnel are included to provide impartial independent assessment of the legislation's goals and objectives. Lack of consensus in the hierarchical chain may be one of the factors that causes inefficient use of resources. Further, if the perception of the legislative goals along the chain varies from that of the legislators, rehabilitation actions that yield outcomes undesired by legislators may result. If it is assumed that legislators exhibit society's preferences, then actions by providers of services that do not coincide with the federal and state legislation will lead to solutions that are not as appealing to society. The study highlights different perceptions of the goals and objectives of the funds channeled to the rehabilitation of handicapped people. It recommends the use of more explicit guidelines and suggests the Delphi method as such a vehicle.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)25-38
Number of pages14
JournalEvaluation and Program Planning
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 1993

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Social Psychology
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Strategy and Management
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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