A theory of coordination : an examination of its practice in three welfare organizations in Hobart

by Moragoda Vitana Don Chandraratna

Institution: University of Tasmania
Year: 1979
Keywords: Public welfare; Public welfare
Record ID: 1033532
Full text PDF: http://eprints.utas.edu.au/18796/1/whole_ChandraratnaMoragodaVitanaDon1979_thesis.pdf


In recent times social welfare workers, like all other professional groups involved in the personal services which are designed to mould, remould, and adjust the social and psychological wellbeing of a large proportion of the population, have demanded a comprehensive approach to serving their clients. This is a resultant of a recognition of social problems in a new light, dependent upon the increased knowledge and skill of the professional experts as well as a felt gap in the amelioration of such social problems. This study has identified the latter problem as belonging to the area of interorganizational coordination and as deserving of careful and detailed study. Evidence is gathered to show that it is an area of concern to the professionals in the field, welfare administrators, as well as to the sociologists interested in social welfare. By using existing literature on the sociology of organizations, the concept of coordination has been treated as embodying those interactions between organizations which are of a facilitative nature. Along the conventional paradigms of problem oriented sociological research three types of variables, namely, analytic (information about members), structural (information about relations among members and the frameworks within which such relations occur), and global (information about systems of organizations), have been identified and discussed as critical components of a theory of coordination. The theoretical framework on coordination is designed to illustrate how much better we can understand that substantive area of sociology commonly designated as 'interorganizational relations'. Moreover, the usefulness of major theoretical perspectives in sociology, such as structural-functionalism, exchange theory and systems theory has been demonstrated in relating the different variables to the theory. From the refined theoretical framework twelve hypotheses were enunciated to test out empirically the nature of coordinating networks in three welfare organizations in Hobart. The results of the empirical study have shown the extent and intensity of facilitative interorganizational interactions that take place in the welfare scene in Hobart, seen from the vantage points of the three organizations included in the study. It has also shown how the efforts of the workers in the three organizations resulted in a network of both private and public organizations, whose function, program, and the strength of the interaction could be fully understood in terms of the essentials of the postulated theory. We have seen that the differential emphasis given to outside transactions has many antecedent variables, analytic, structural, as well as global. For example, there was sufficient evidence to argue that lines of authority, notions of hierarchy, control of decision making power, combined (vi) with individual attributes of workers, moulded not only the internal dynamics of an organization, but outside exchanges as well. There was a negative association between…