Objective: This study examines the effects of organizational characteristics, including organizational climate and interorganizational coordination, on the quality and outcomes of children's service systems.
Method: A quasi-experimental, longitudinal design was used to assess the effects of increasing interorganizational services coordination in public children's service agencies. The research team collected both qualitative and quantitative data over a 3-year period describing the services provided to 250 children by 32 public children's service offices in 24 counties in Tennessee.
Results: Findings show that organizational climate (including low conflict, cooperation, role clarity, and personalization) is the primary predictor of positive service outcomes (the children's improved psychosocial functioning) and a significant predictor of service quality. In contrast, interorganizational coordination had a negative effect on service quality and no effect on outcomes.
Conclusions: Efforts to improve public children's service systems should focus on creating positive organizational climates rather than on increasing interorganizational services coordination. This is important because many large-scale efforts to improve children's service systems have focused on interorganizational coordination with little success and none to date have focused on organizational climate.