Application 1: Evaluation of Doctoral Study—Foundation of Study
Using the Doctoral Study Rubric, complete the assessment of the five elements (The Background, The Problem Statement, The Purpose Statement of the Study, and Central Research Question, Conceptual/Theoretical framework) according to “Section 1: Foundation of the Study” located athttp://researchcenter.waldenu.edu/DBA-Doctoral-Study-Process-and-Documents.htm.
I’ve attached the specifc categories and information. I need 2-3 pages summarizing the purpose of the section and what the section says within the study shown. We use Creswell’s stuff, so any additional quotes would be great.
General Problem —
Specific Problem —
The relationship between human service organizations and government was predicated on societal needs spanning more than fifty years. “From the 1930’s to the 1980’s, the government’s social policy was to assume responsibility for citizens who could not provide reasonable quality of life for themselves” (Woodside and McClam, 2006, p. 65). The level of government involvement made it possible for many organizations to be created and to offer a variety of services and remain true to their mission. The Reagan Administration in the early 1980’s marked a clear change in the level of government involvement in human services. The new federal philosophy under Regan was less government involvement and a return to community and private support to care for the poor. “The federal government began to withdraw funding from a myriad of programs that the poor depended on which included Aide to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) childcare, school lunch and other nutrition programs, food stamps, subsidized housing, energy assistance, family planning, public and mental health services, alcohol and drug abuse counseling, legal aid, the Job Corp, and the like.” (Trattner, 1989, p. 365)
The reduction in government subsidy meant the reduction and/or elimination of programs, despite the increased demand for services. The decision by the federal government to significantly reduce funding for human services led to a major change in service delivery in this country from abundance to parceled limited services. The current system of service delivery includes funding from the federal government, administered at the state and local level. In some states, the local principality may elect to provide the services itself and limit funding to nonprofit organizations that generally provide the services and activities. In New York State, both government and nonprofit organizations participate in service delivery, an example of Salamon’s (1995) contention that the federal government depends on nonprofits to provide federally funded services. Services are available through city agencies such as the Human Resource Administration (HRA), which provides services and monetary subsidies to low income families. “Government plays a significant role in these systems by providing substantial financial resources, regulations,
and the articulation of public goals” (Twombly, 2003, p. 215).
There has been an increasing and disproportionate reliance on government for funding and oversight for human services by nonprofit organizations which has created dependency. Yet, it is clear that both government and nonprofit service providers have benefited from the relationship. The chief benefit for the nonprofit organizations has been the fulfillment of their missions, evidenced by their expansion in both operations and service offerings across many disciplines. The government has benefited in the reduction
of direct service provision, thus preventing an undesired increase in the public workforce. Despite the benefits of the aforementioned relationship with government, the nonprofit organization has to be concerned with the disparity in power the relationship has fostered. Through its subsidies and contractual oversight government could exact more control over the nonprofit organizational structure, service offerings and consequently levels of autonomy. “Many nonprofit organizations depend on government
funding, and this financial dependence on public money has increased in recent decades as more government funded services are delivered via grants and contracts with nongovernmental organizations” (Chaves, Stephens, and Galaskiewicz, 2004, p. 293). The shift in moving governmental focus and funding away from social services hampers the services that are offered as well as the organizational infrastructure, which has also been supported by the funding. The study investigated the fissures that have developed in service provision as government reduces its level of assistance. These gaps are particularly apparent when government is the primary source of funding for services and infrastructure. Reliance on government as bursary support reduces autonomy and the organization becomes part of a
larger service delivery system controlled by government. Organizations struggle to provide services with limited funding for infrastructure or expansion which is deemed necessary to meet current and projected needs of the populations for services. Salamon (2001) made reference to the introduction of block grants and other funding restrictions, encapsulating the dilemma nonprofit organization are experiencing by stating, “after years of expanding government support, nonprofit organizations have had to adjust to what appears to be a permanent situation of budgetary stringency” ( p. 20).
This qualitative study sought to examine the relationship between a human
service organization and government and its influence on organizational autonomy. The context for the case study was the examination of existing services offered by Services for People (SFP), a pseudonym. This is a multiservice organization operating within two boroughs of New York City and a leading human service organization in the state of New York. There are six service lines operating under one of three corporate entities with the
501 (c) (3) tax status. The commonality of the six service lines is that primary funding is obtained through various government contracts. The SFP organization uses a centralized model of management and central
support services. Centralized services include human resources (HR), fiscal, government relations, purchasing, planning, information and technology and public relations. The purported benefit of a centralized management structure is contractual and organizational tasks for each program are handled by a set of internal departments. The populations this organization assists include children, youth, families, developmentally disabled, mentally ill and older adults. This organization represents a common model of human service organizations as it relates to long term multiple contracts, to provide services to those in need. For the purpose of the study SFP is a model organization, the practices and principles that govern the relationship with government allows for the analysis of a human service organization’s resource dependent
state. Funding for services provided by SFP comes through various government entities including the Administration of Children Services (ACS); the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH); the Human Resource Administration (HRA); the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities (MOPD); and the Department for the Aging (DFTA). To reduce the possibility of conflict of interest, services to the elderly have not been included in the study.
CENTRAL RESEARCH QUESTION
To accomplish the stated purpose, the research involved five questions for each line of service areas: developmental disabilities, mental health, childcare, youth and family service categories. These questions relate to the level of involvement government funding has on the organization’s decisions related to discretion, preferences, management, goals and autonomy.
1. What is the extent of discretion SFP as a human service organization receiving service contracts has over the allocation of its funds for the identified service areas?
2. As a faith-based organization are there some compromises to the mission in the process of fulfilling the predilection of government contracts?
3. Is there evidence that the government funding organizations extend their
influence into the management or goal-setting process of SFP?
4. How if at all has the government funding organization restricted the goals and mission of a nonprofit agency?
5. How if at all has the relationship with government affected the autonomy of
Organizations that develop and grow as a result of responding to the needs of the communities in which they operate will usually begin small. Organizations will develop strategic plans and mission statements to govern how they will function as an entity. Particularly in the nonprofit arena, autonomy is one attribute that sets them apart from the government provided services and private services. The important question is: Once an organization has to rely on the government for most of its funding does such reliance
reduce its ability to be autonomous? The primary management dilemma faced by human service agencies is the financial dependence for operating cost and the activities. The levels of funding received from various entities are based on their decision to give the type of services, the levels of utilization and overall customer satisfaction. The funding level of an organization also affects the overall structure, human resources and technology – all areas that are critical to quality service provision. Therefore with regards to funding, the nonprofit organization is faced with two pressing funding needs (a) stable funding and (b) the necessity for a fortified infrastructure for expansion or contraction, thus maintaining overall effectiveness and sustainability. The conceptual framework provided the visual mapping of the process involved
in developing the research topic and the questions which best demonstrated the relationship between funding and services. The key research questions concentrate on the relationship between governments and the service provider. These questions were prominent in the framework chart in order to continue asking the questions as the research developed. The key research questions this project sought to answer were:
1. What is the extent of discretion SFP as a human service organization receiving service contracts have over the allocation of its funds for the identified service areas?
2. As a faith-based organization were there some compromises to the mission in the process of fulfilling the predilection of government funding?
3. Is there evidence that the government funding organization extends their influence into the management or the goal-setting process of SFP?
4. How (if at all) has government funding organizations restricted the goals and mission of a nonprofit agency?
5. How (if at all) has the relationship with government affected the autonomy of SFP?
NATURE OF THE STUDY
The project examined relationships and possible entrenchment that can develop over time as government seeks to respond to the societal needs and as nonprofit organizations seek to respond to local communities for specific services and activities. The qualitative case study provided the panoramic view of the issues previously mentioned. This type of flexible research design enabled the researched topic to shift and change direction as the study unfolded. “Using qualitative methods allowed the understanding of how humans arrange themselves and their settings and how inhabitants of these settings make sense of their surroundings through symbols, rituals, social structures, social roles and so forth” (Berg, 1989, p.7).
The choice of the flexible design approach to research was made to obtain an
understanding of human experiences directly from those who actually lived the event. “Qualitative strategies emphasize an interpretive approach that uses data to both pose and resolve research questions” (Kaplan & Cuchon, 1988, p. 573). Morgan and Smircich (1980) in their study of effective uses of qualitative research concluded, “analysis affirms the need for a more reflexive approach to understanding the nature of social research, with a focus on the way in which favored techniques are often linked to underlying assumptions” (p. 499). The major qualitative designs include case studies, ethnography,
and grounded theory. Particularly in the area of social science, case studies have been very useful over the years as snapshots of situations which are unique to an individual. This study utilized the case study method of research to obtain information about the existing relationship between a human service organization and government. Case studies have long been established as an acceptable form of qualitative research. Yin (1981, 1994) defined case study as a “strategy for doing research which involves an empirical investigation of a particular contemporary phenomenon within its real life context using multiple sources of evidence” (As cited by Robson, 2003, p.178).
The value of the case studies is its inclusion of interviews and evaluations, and the specificity it reveals can also be applied to general situations. Valsiner (1986) in the book entitled The Individual Subject and Scientific Psychology maintained, “the study of individual cases has always been the major (albeit) often unrecognized strategy in the advancement of knowledge about human beings” (p. 11).
Case studies facilitate the researcher’s ability to examine the phenomena within the context in which it occurs, which is important for research validity. “Case study was until recently commonly considered in methodology text as a kind of ‘soft option’, possibly admissible as an exploratory precursor to some more ‘hard-nosed’ experiments or survey, or as a complement to such approaches, but of dubious value by itself” (Robson, 2003, p. 180). Case studies continue to be widely utilized in various research projects particularly in social sciences; and their popularity have not waned over time.