An Inquiry into the Necessary Organizational Conditions for Effective Human Service Delivery
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The following three-article dissertation seeks to identify the organizational conditions necessary for effective human service delivery. The first article provides a conceptualization by examining existent literature on the condition-performance relationship, integrating theories of organizational complexity and organizational culture, and concluding with autonomy and participation as the necessary organizational conditions for effectiveness. Article two tests the associations amongst participation, autonomy, and precursors to organizational effectiveness (i.e., commitment and burnout) in a large public hospital’s behavioral health department (N=197). Support is found for the relationships between autonomy and burnout, and participation and commitment. Further, commitment is identified as a possible mediator, serving a protection function against staff’s experiences of burnout in the workplace. Lastly, article three seeks to establish temporal precedence and causal priority in the relationship between organizational conditions and the noted precursors. This was achieved through resurveying the behavioral health department (N=43) and conducting a series of cross-lagged panel analyses. While conditions were hypothesized to have causal predominance over commitment and burnout, the findings indicate that prior levels of commitment were actually predictive of current levels of autonomy and participation. While autonomy and participation may lead to improved organizational effectiveness, organizational commitment needs to be investigated further as a mechanism of change in creating the conditions necessary for effectiveness.