Browsing School of Social Work by Subject "Human services"
Now showing items 1-3 of 3
Leadership that leads to innovation in nonprofit human service organizationsAdministrators of nonprofit, human service organizations often discuss the need for new services. Knowledge about how to create this change is often a problem. Most of the literature on innovation is written about for-profit businesses. This research examines how nonprofits differ in the way they create innovation, the impact of leaders, and the traits of leaders that help create innovative services. This study utilizes a qualitative methodology, grounded theory, to develop themes that explain how this innovation occurs. The study was of seven human service agencies in Maryland that had innovative services such as: an adolescent fathers program, recycling of surplus building materials for use by low income people, and an urban literacy services model. Interviews and participant observations were used to conduct the research. The organizations studied fit into two categories, those with breakthrough innovations that transformed the agency and those with significant innovations that were ground breaking in nature but did not transform the entire organization's services. The study did find a difference between innovation here and in the business sector. For the majority of agencies in the study, the reason for innovation was to fulfill a vision of creating a better world for the people they served. A smaller group of the organizations acted based on the entrepreneurial "vision" of positioning the agency more effectively financially. Leadership was found to be an important factor in creating innovative services. The executive directors of the innovative organizations had certain traits: macro perspective, makes connections between ideas, looks ahead to the future, compassion for people, works very hard, action oriented, risk taker, persistence, creative or appreciates creativity, flexibility, respects staff and can give up power, sense of humor, and has strong networks outside of the organization. In addition, the traits of the executive director that increased the level of innovativeness were: level of energy and enthusiasm, ability to inspire others, and ability to translate the big picture into a vision and to then translate this into structures to ensure that changes happened. Management styles and gender of the directors were not related to creating innovative services by the organizations.
The life cycle of welfare reform: Local renditions. A comparative case study of the implementation of the work requirements of TANFThe passage of the 1996 Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) resulted in the replacement of the federal entitlement program of Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) by the block-grant Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) program. The new law emphasized work requirements, time-limits, and temporary cash assistance. It shifted the locus of responsibility and control for a program targeted to poor women and their children from the federal to the. state and local levels. As the states have moved to implement the new legislation in local jurisdictions, adjustments have been required of program participants and delivery systems.;Restructuring services and socializing staff to focus on employability rather than eligibility affects local agencies as well as participants. Nathan (1993) and others (Brodkin, 1997; Elmore 1982) have taken the position that the "ground troops" of local bureaucracies hold the key to the successful implementation of legislative initiatives. The premise of this study is that implementation choices influence the impact and outcomes of programs put in place. In comparing the process across jurisdictions, this research identifies the salient features and documents and assesses the progressive institutionalization of PRWORA mandated reforms into the existing welfare programs. Utilizing a comparative case study methodology, this study traces the intraorganizational processes of the local implementation of the work requirements of TANF in Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia from a bottom-up perspective (Schram, 1995). This research is based on structured and unstructured interviews with line workers, supervisory staff, administrators and providers of vendor services, field observations, and review of documents. It concludes that: the organizational cultures of the agencies under study have indeed altered and positively affect the success of micro implementation efforts; distinctive state patterns emerge in the implementation of the work requirements of TANF and are mirrored in localities; and that devolution has occurred unevenly across states, reflected in more decentralized strategies in Maryland and Virginia than in West Virginia. Further findings establish a life cycle of reform through phases of initiation, expansion and institutionalization and a link between implementation strategies and outcome measures.
The relationship between transformational leadership and organizational change: An exploratory study of grassroots social service agenciesSocial service organizations are continually called upon to modify and shift with the trends of the nonprofit, public, and private sectors. This continual process of change forces organizations to have considerable capacity to grow and develop, often called organizational capacity. In the business sector, considerable attention and research has focused on the role of leaders in managing organizational change and growth in capacity. In particular, the transformational nature of successful leaders has been studied. This study draws on these findings in order to begin to examine whether transformational leadership is also effective for managing change in small, grassroots organizations. Twenty-three organizations were included in the final analysis. Approximately half of the organizations were secular and half were faith-based. The independent variables included transformational and transactional leadership qualities, measured in a cross-sectional survey through the Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire (MLQ) Form 5X, and the dependent variable was perceived change in organizational capacity, as measured through secondary data from a pre/post measure. ANOVAs were performed to examine the role of leadership qualities in organizational capacity building efforts. Qualitative data was collected through interviews with organizational members and other stakeholders and a review of case notes. Two organizations are presented as case studies in order to compare the qualities of their leaders with models of transformational leadership. There were no statistically significant relationships between either transformational leadership or transactional leadership and perceived change in organizational capacity. However, the organizational leaders demonstrated high levels of transformational leadership and low levels of transactional leadership, a finding consistent with successful leaders in past studies. The case studies illustrate two leaders who were transformational, yet one of the organizations was more successful in making positive changes. The implications are discussed in terms of organizational structure and the nature of grassroots organizations. The strengths of the study include a mixed-method approach and emphasis on the entire organization as the unit of analysis.