Randy D. Parker
of: Doctor of Education
Department: Teaching, Learning, and Leadership
Title: The Differences in Performance Between Large and Small Organizations in Mental Health Settings
Date: Tuesday, September 14, 2004 10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.
The quantitative part of this study examined the affects of organizational size on staff performance in mental health group home settings. The data from two hundred and sixty-two group homes from small, medium, and large umbrella organizations were examined. The results of independent third party evaluations were compared across these umbrella organizations. Evaluations measured compliance and performance mandated by federal health and safety regulations.
The qualitative part of this study involved on-site interviews with group home staff from various organizations at various professional levels which scored either a low or a high number of errors. A qualitative analysis was conducted to examine staff perceptions of occupations. A structured questionnaire was used for all staff. Similarities were found in a number of areas for the group homes that had low error rates.
There has been a recent move from small group home management organizations to large group home management organizations. Because of a lack of quantitative research measuring the size of a management organization against the efficiency in client-care, the present study was carried out. Federal health and safety regulations were used as the variable for measurement, since treatment utilizing these regulations is the reason for the existence of the group homes.
The results of the quantitative part of this study found no real difference between the performances of differently sized management organizations. This means that no significant statistical differences were found between the error rates for an
organization that managed one group home and an organization that managed eighteen group homes. The qualitative part of this study, however, found differences in the responses given by staff working in group homes with low error rates versus those with high error rates.
Regardless of the size of the management organization, staff from low error rate group homes considered training very important and they explained their training history in detail. Low error-rate staff used the policy and procedures manual on a regular basis, and they volunteered information in the interview on how to use the manual as a tool for maintaining efficient client-care practices. Finally, staff in the low error-rate group homes received feedback from management regularly and they were able to articulate how this affected their performance.
High error-rate staff had less to say about training and they provided less detail. The use of a policy and procedure manual was reported at a much lower rate. Feedback from management was issued less often. Answers between the high error-rate staff were inconsistent. For example, staff answers indicated that ongoing training in the same group home took place once a week, then once a month, and then every six months. The qualitative results indicated a number of areas for possible future research on group home performance.
Dr. Gary Wegenke, Chair
Dr. Jainping Shen
Dr. Lori McNeil
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