Federal welfare reform has provided the impetus for profound changes at the level of county public social service agencies as they respond to mandatory work requirements and time limits for their clients. At the forefront of this change are the directors of these agencies, who are leading a process of cultural, systemic and community change. This study looks at qualitative data drawn from interviews and ongoing consultation with ten county social service directors as they reflected on the first two years of welfare reform implementation. The key findings include: (1) identification of major organizational challenges; (2) the core values guiding the directors' leadership of the change process; and (3) lessons emerging from reflection while engaged in the change process. The learning organization principles outlined by Senge (1990) form the framework for interpreting the findings.
October 10, 2008