The effects of organizational climate and interorganizational coordination on the quality and outcomes of children's service systems

Child Abuse Negl. 1998 May;22(5):401-21. doi: 10.1016/s0145-2134(98)00005-2.


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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Child Welfare*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Foster Home Care
  • Humans
  • Interinstitutional Relations*
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Social Work
  • Tennessee