COMMUNICATION IN HUMAN SERVICES ORGANIZATIONS: ITS RELATION TO DECISION-MAKING AND IMPLEMENTATION

PATRICIA FEATHERMAN JATUL, Fordham University

Abstract

The major purpose of this study was to determine and compare the perceptions and behavior of members of human services organizations who occupied hierarchical positions of department head, supervisor, and worker regarding organizational attributes of the communication process, the decision-making structure, and decision-implementation work outputs. These human services organizations were the public schools and private residential treatment agencies in Westchester County, New York, that provided child care, education, medical, psychological, social, and recreation services to children and youth who were emotionally, mentally, or socially disabled. This study also sought to determine and compare the collective perceptions and behaviors of members grouped into work units regarding the nature of their work, the decision-making structure, and decision implementation work outputs as influenced by the high and low frequency of three different modes of communication.^ The sample for this study included the voluntary participants of seven schools and seven treatment agencies in Westchester County, New York in 1980. There were 503 respondents of whom 23 occupied the department head position, 81 occupied the supervisor position, and 399 occupied the worker position. There were 81 units composed of the supervisory person and the members who reported to that person for administrative purposes. The major materials used to collect data were the Organization Assessment Instrument-Supervisor and the Organization Assessment Instrument-Member developed by Van de Ven and Ferry (1980) and adapted for this study by the investigator. The statistical techniques included frequencies, means, standard deviations, one way analyses of variance, and the Pearson product-moment correlation coefficients. The .05 level of statistical significance was the minimal level accepted in this study.^ The results of this study showed that there were significant differences among department heads', supervisors', and workers' responses regarding the communication process, the job dependency process, and individual characteristics. There was a significant difference in structure between the high and low personal communication units. There were significant differences between the high and low group communication units regarding structure, process, and work output dimensions of the human services organizations.^ The major conclusions of the study were: (1)There were real differences among the three levels of positions in human services organizations according to the responses by department heads, supervisors, and workers to the dimensions and subdimensions of nature of work, structure, process, job, and work output. Department heads' range of job skills was greater than workers; they used written and group communication more frequently than did workers; and they possessed greater decision-making authority regarding their work than did workers. Supervisors reported a greater job dependency on them by workers than the workers reported. Supervisors used written, personal and group communication more frequently than workers. (2)The frequency of use of personal communication discriminated among units in regard to members' ability to exchange work roles and the degree of unit standardization. (3)The frequency of use of group communication discriminated among units in role interchangeability, work-flow interdependence, and performance goals attained. ^

Subject Area

Educational administration

Recommended Citation

JATUL, PATRICIA FEATHERMAN, "COMMUNICATION IN HUMAN SERVICES ORGANIZATIONS: ITS RELATION TO DECISION-MAKING AND IMPLEMENTATION" (1981). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI8119775.
https://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI8119775

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