Change at a Social Service Agency

In a mid-sized social service agency’s family services division, turnover rates climbed to more than 20%, causing serious issues with service delivery and quality of service. The manager of the division argued that staff were leaving because of wages. According to him, children’s aid societies’ wages were higher and staff left to join those organizations. Upon investigation, senior management learned of morale problems arising from the directive, non-inclusive management style of the manager. Instead of altering pay rates, which would have caused significant budgetary and equity problems

throughout the organization, senior management replaced the manager and moved him to a project role. Within months, turnover rates dropped to less than 10% and the manager decided to leave the agency.

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In this example, if the original analysis had been accepted, turnover rates might have declined since staff may have been persuaded to stay for higher wages. But the agency would have faced financial challenges due to higher labor costs as well as a festering morale problem.

The Orientation of This Book The focus, then, of this book is on organizational change as a planned activity designed to improve the organization’s effectiveness. Changes that are random (occur simply due to chance) or unplanned are not the types of organizational change that this book will explore, except, insofar, as they serve as the stimulus for planned change initiatives. Similarly, changes that may be planned but do not have a clear link to attempts to improve organizational effectiveness are not considered. That is, changes made solely for personal reasons—for personal gain, for example—fall outside the intended focus of this book.


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