Recession Impact

Recession Impacts

Budget constraints pose a continuing challenge for managers in nonprofit and public sector human service agencies, exacerbated during periods of economic downturn. This body of research emerged from the experiences of public sector senior managers in county human service organizations engaged in five years of budget reductions associated with the Great Recession of 2008-2013. The major findings from case studies of eleven county agencies highlighted the importance of support from county leadership and collaborative employee unions.

Management Practice

Since its founding, the Mack Center has worked through its research and training programs to improve management practice in the human services. Each of the following areas of inquiry identifies implications for management practice:

The Impact of the Great Recession on County Human-Service Organizations: A Cross-Case Analysis

Graaf, G.
Carnochan, S.
Radu, P.
Austin, M.J.
2015

This exploratory qualitative study examines the experiences of eleven county human-service agencies as they worked through the budget reduction process during the Great Recession (2008–2013). The principles and values that guided decisions are identified retrospectively through an analysis of 46 individual interviews with members of the senior management in each organization. The findings include decision-making strategies that include the engagement of stakeholders as well as the tactics employed for balancing the budget.

Obstacles to Social Service Collaboration in Response to the Great Recession: The Case of the Contra Costa County Safety Net Initiative

Radu, P.
Carnochan, S.
Austin, M.J.
2015

This case study examines the experiences and dynamics of the Safety Net Initiative, a multisector collaboration in Contra Costa County, California. The Great Recession hit social services in Contra Costa County especially hard, and local stakeholders launched the Safety Net Initiative in an effort to repair and reimagine the county’s understaffed and underfunded safety net.