Factors affecting adoption and implementation of integrated pest management (IPM) in Indiana K–12 public schools

Alfred J Fournier, Purdue University


Pests and pesticides pose potential risks to human health. Integrated Pest Management (IPM) has been suggested, and in several states, legally mandated, as means to control pests in schools while minimizing potential risks to people. Although IPM has been actively promoted to school districts in many states, widespread voluntary adoption of IPM is unlikely to occur unless change agents have a better understanding of the factors that can affect adoption and implementation of IPM in schools, from the perspectives of school personnel. This was the purpose of this study. The Innovation-Decision Process (IDP) Model, which describes technology-adoption behavior, was used as a theoretical framework to identify factors that affected adoption and implementation of IPM by Indiana school districts. This was achieved using quantitative and qualitative research methods, including a pest management survey and case studies of four school districts' pest management programs. Survey data was collected from 184 of the 294 Indiana public school districts. The case studies included 26 interviews with school administrators, staff, and pest management contractors working in four school districts, document analyses, IPM inspections of one school from each district, and observations of contracted pest management service routines. Data analyses revealed that adoption of IPM policies in Indiana school districts was affected by political pressures communicated through public school associations, adopters' perceptions of IPM relative to their needs, demographic and management characteristics of school districts, and change agent influence. Adopting school districts often re-invented IPM to match their perceptions and needs, which sometimes had negative effects on IPM program outcomes, including pest control and pesticide use. IPM implementation in schools was dependent upon a process of staff member buy-in, which was strongly enhanced through educational processes that used demonstration and that actively engaged staff members in the IPM program. External education resources and internal communication facilitated IPM implementation while internal school district constraints (e.g., staff time, budgets) were often barriers to IPM implementation.




Gibb, Purdue University.

Subject Area

Social research|Entomology

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