Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Investigating Culture: A Qualitative Study of a Human Service Organization's Culture
by Jaques, David W., Ph.D., The Chicago School of Professional Psychology, 2014, 190; 3630080
Abstract (Summary)

Although there are many organizational culture studies that have been conducted, very few have been conducted in the context of a human service organization (Jaskyte, 2010). Organizational culture has been described as a neglected area of exploration as it relates to the enhancement of quality of life for persons with disabilities (Gillet & Stenfert-Kroese, 2003).

This research took the form of a qualitative case study of the culture of one human service organization. This study may make three specific contributions to the organizational culture literature. These include: (a) providing an empirical study of a human service organization's culture, (b) attempting to describe and understand specific mechanisms that may contribute to culture formation and maintenance, and (c) identifying aspects of a human service organizations culture that may help or hinder their effectiveness. Fourteen participants were be engaged in the research. The participants were associated with three different position levels.

The participating organization presented a strong and unified culture. The espoused theories and the theories-in-use of the organization's founders were highly congruent. The founders of the organization conveyed a sense of mission that was readily adopted by initial hires. The mission of the organization was formulated around principles of highly individualized support, community inclusion, quality of life, and a consistent regard for the dignity and respect of the individuals supported by the organization. Potential contributions of this research include: (a) being one of the few qualitative studies related to the culture of an organization that provides services for persons with intellectual/developmental disabilities (IDD); (b) a research design that provides a relatively comprehensive approach to the study of a single organizational culture; (c) a rich account of how human service workers, from multiple position levels, experience their culture; (d) a preliminary analysis of how leadership may influence culture in the context of a human service environment, and (e) an exploratory investigation as it relates to discovering additional approaches that may assist in evaluating the relationship between culture and organizational effectiveness. The following is a listing of potential future directions for research related to this type of study: (a) a replication of this study, or an approximation thereof, with one or more human service organizations; (b) additional research related to the congruence of, or lack thereof, between espoused theories and theories-in-use held by staff members of human service organizations; (c) the development of mixed methods approaches (quantitative/qualitative) to assessing and measuring congruence between espoused theories and theories-in-use; (d) the relationship between specific types of organizational cultures and effectiveness as it relates to supporting persons intellectual/developmental disabilities and perhaps more specifically, challenging behavior; and (e) research related to various leadership models and behavior as it relates to culture formation in human service organizations.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Benesh, Julie
Commitee: Benesh, Julie, Davis, Nancy, Hay, George
School: The Chicago School of Professional Psychology
Department: Organizational Leadership
School Location: United States -- Illinois
Source: DAI-A 75/11(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Management, Organization Theory, Organizational behavior
Keywords: Human service organizations, Organizational culture, Organizational effectiveness, Shared assumptions
Publication Number: 3630080
ISBN: 978-1-321-07768-1
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