Friday, December 2, 2011
Human Services Management: Application of Theories
Open systems theory is an important component of modern management that recognizes and allows interactions with one another to allow change. I learn from the text, Lewis, Lewis, Packard 207, chapter 4 p.78, that Open system theorist recognizes rationality within organization is limited by internal factors and external factors. Internal factors can be organization members’ characteristics, and external factors can be changes in the supply of available people and materials.
The organization I work for, Upstate Cerebral Palsy, uses open system explicitly, because open system is clearly and precisely exposed by management to the individuals, family members, staffs, stake holders and community at large. The organization provides services and has presence at Central NY region since April 1949.
The organization uses open system because it is a unique organization that works with development disabled individuals and their families in a form of various programs that acts like small system within a big system; such as day treatment centers, home facilities (such as ICF-Intermediate Care Facility, IRA-Independent Residence Assistance), Job centers, Schools, Job training centers, independent living assistance, Rehabs, Medical clinic, and home counseling (Social worker visits clients at home for follow ups and therapy).
According to the article environment is a complex relationship of systems. Environments are dynamic, and they are constantly changing. However, change in any one system can have a flow of effects on all the other systems that make up the environment. For example text book Lewis, Lewis, Packard 2007 chapter 4 p.78 says that “an open system has tow-way interaction with environment, affecting the environment and being affected by it in return”.
For example I work for as a social worker under Assistance manager and Facility Coordinator (like a manager) then a division director then CEO/President. These members of management above me they know that structural changes affect and get affected by changes in all attributes of the organization.
However, management is explicitly aware that the goals and activities it chooses will be influenced by environmental factors that are often beyond management control. For example, recently our facility was transferred to a different division due to place and location it is located, physical environment.
This change has contributed to a dramatic change of number of thing in the facility. Such as introduction of new coordinator, new managers, new time sheet, new recreational locations, new schedules, different style of assignments, new setting of the house/facility, new policies, and new staff members. This was a change of environment and top management decision to proclaim that our facility is closer to the valley region and therefore it should move from a division that is in Utica to the down the valley division.
My facility as a small system to the major system, organization is very appropriate, purposeful in carry the mission of the organization and explicitly structured to carry out organizational goals. However, according to my organization record, the history of UCP started over a half-century ago, parents and grandparents from the Utica area were desperate to find a way to help children with Cerebral Palsy.
The outlook for children with a developmental disability at that time was bleak since there were no programs or services to meet their needs. Through these families’ hope for a brighter future for their children, the agency was formed. “The idea for Upstate Cerebral Palsy of Utica began in April of 1949 when three local community leaders Eiddon L. Jones, Maurice Sheehan and Harry Gosling met at Hotel Utica to discuss the need for an organization dedicated to children with cerebral palsy.” http://www.upstatecerebralpalsy.org, Since then up to today the organization still serves individual with cerebral palsy and all other kinds of development disabilities, goals, mission, purpose, structure and history of this organization are still sound and alive.
Accel Team (2005b,p.6) defined characters of open system as a system that is defined by it’s properties, the parts of system may in turn be systems themselves, a system that has a desired state, as system that physical and conceptual entity composed of interrelated and interacting parts existing in an environment and which it may also interact. For example, UCP owns CHBS (Community Health and Behavioral Services) at Utica, NY. CHBS is a huge clinic that offers service to development disabilities individuals and their families, counseling to people suffers with traumas and emotions, rehab for drug addicts, and clinic that serves community. It is a property of UCP that is a system by itself because it grew act and performs independently in number of years now. It get its own funding apart from UCP as blanket organization.
Open system management is more important to human service organization than private-profit companies because environmental effect is considered to the organization and individual clients. Management is aware that goals as activities of organization will be influenced by environmental factors of the open system, and that is beyond management control. For example, after the Willow Brook abuse to the individuals while at state facility, it brought about a human right issues and tough oversight regulation were put in place.
The Willow Brook incident affected the entire human service field including my organization. There is no way my organization and entire human service field could or can avoid these oversight regulations. Oversight regulations are even strict if the organization has Willow Brook individuals. However, state human service department affected all the human services organization as results to the incident.
Advantage of system theory to the human service organization is the coordination that encourages professionals to behave themselves as part of a network that totally can serve the individual client. According to the text book (Lewis, Packard and Lewis 2007 p.g79), most of the organizational theories or principles emerged over past half century operate under the assumption that all formal organizations are open systems that respond to environments around them. For example my organization have social workers that goes to clients house and oversee conditions and evaluate if more help needed or intervention needed or to evaluate the service provided. Also I work as a direct care giver and this is advantage of system theory.
Text book (Lewis, Lewis, Packard 2007 Chapter 4), tells us that when system changes it changes all the small systems involved. For example, my facility works as a system to my organization, and my organization works as a system to the state, and state works as a system to the Human Service Department.
Therefore, for example government put in place the handicapped person law; since it became a law, all states and all organization in the country had to adopt this law and put in place conditions for this law. Therefore, Federal government changed, and adopted the need to accommodate all handicapped people by any means in publics, and all of us as individuals/social workers, organizations, local and state governments had to change and implement the law. That’s why for those who were around before the law, have witnessed a drastic change of public facilities and private facilities to accommodate these individuals. As a direct care provider, this change has touched me and condition how I work.
Lewis, J. A., Packard, T. R., & Lewis, M. D. (2007). Management of human service programs. Belmont, CA: Thomson Brooks/Cole.
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Posted by Valerian B-K. Masao at 4:35 PM