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:
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.
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.
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?
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.