Managerial and Frontline Perspectives on the Process of Evidence-Informed Practice Within Human Service Organizations

Carnochan, S.
McBeath, B.
Austin, M.J.
2017

Emphasis on evidence-informed practice (EIP) in human service organizations aimed at improving service quality and client outcomes has increased in recent decades. Research has suggested that the organizational context shapes EIP, yet few studies have explored the agency-based activities that constitute this form of practice. This survey of 473 managers and frontline practitioners in 11 county human service organizations examines EIP activities in agency settings.

Management Practice

The work of the Mack Center continues to generate significant implications for the improvement of management practice in the human services. Each of the following major areas of inquiry identifies implications for management practice:

Organizational and Individual Determinants of Evidence Use by Managers In Public Human Service Organizations

McBeath, B.
Jolles, M.P.
Carnochan, S.
Austin, M.J.
2015

Promoting the use of evidence by managers is a strategy for enhancing effectiveness in human service organizations, and for responding to the demands of performance management. This study addresses two multipart questions. First, what levels of managerial evidence use exist in public human service organizations and for what purposes is this evidence used? Second, what organizational factors and individual attitudinal characteristics are associated with different levels of evidence use?

Supporting Evidence-Informed Practice in Human Service Organizations: An Exploratory Study of Link Officers

Graaf, G.
McBeath, B.
Carnochan, S.
Austin, M.J.
2016

Human service organizations seeking to infuse research and other forms of evidence into their programs often need to expand their knowledge sharing systems in order to build their absorptive capacities for new information. To promote their engagement in evidence-informed practice, human service organizations can benefit from connections with intermediary organizations that assist with the dissemination and utilization of research and the use of internal knowledge brokers, called link officers.

Evidence-Informed Practice

At the Mack Center, we define Evidence Informed Practice broadly:

  • Evidence: Includes multiple sources of internally and externally generated data and information.
  • Informed: Includes staff all levels of the agency
  • Practice: Involves cognitive, relational, action, and compliance oriented activities.

The Mack Center’s most recent research on evidence-informed practices investigates the perceptions and experiences of managers in public sector human service organizations.

Factors Associated with Managerial Innovation in Public Human Service Organizations

Jolles M.P.
McBeath, B.
Carnochan, S.
Austin, M.J.
2016

Pressures from the New Public Management movement have challenged human service managers to adapt to changing environments through innovation. Yet, no research has examined managerial innovation along the spectrum of lower- to upper-level managers. This study analyzed survey data of 466 public human service managers to examine the relationship between individual characteristics and managerial innovation.