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David Chenot PhD, MDiv ., LCSW California State University Fullerton CCASSC Meeting July 9 th , 2010. Organizational Dynamics and Retention in Public Child Welfare Services. Organizational Culture & Retention. The Problem Turnover

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Organizational Dynamics and Retention in Public Child Welfare Services


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    1. David Chenot PhD, MDiv., LCSW California State University Fullerton CCASSC Meeting July 9th, 2010 Organizational Dynamics and Retention in Public Child Welfare Services

    2. Organizational Culture & Retention • The Problem • Turnover • Rates: PCWS Workforce, National: 15-22% (APHSA, 2005) PCWS Workforce, California: 1.) Average 9.8% (Clark & Fulcher, 2005) 2.) Range 9-23% (NCCD, 2006) • Highly problematic for PCWS Agencies • Cost, $10,000 annually per vacated position-(1995 dollars) (Graef & Hill,2000) • Estimates of total cost from an 18-state study $53.84 million (APHSA, 2005) • Training issues • Overall morale • Harmful to SWs & CMs who leave due to the working conditions • Increases workload & stress for SWs & CMs who remain • Most important, very unhealthy for children & families served in PCWS agencies! • Number-Ten David Chenot PhD, California State University Fullerton

    3. Recruitment & Retention • Child Welfare: Vol. 88, Issue 5, 2009 - Special Issue: Strengthening the Child Welfare Workforce: Promoting Recruitment and Retention • Joan Levy Zlotnik, Virginia C. Strand, and Gary R. Anderson (Eds.) David Chenot PhD, California State University Fullerton

    4. Retention • The Influence of Supervisor Support, Peer Support, and Organizational Culture Among Early Career Social Workers in Child Welfare Services • David Chenot, Amy D. Benton, and Hansung Kim • Previous studies have demonstrated that those who are in the first years of Child Welfare Services (CWS) employment are at particularly high risk for turnover. This study explored how the effects of support and organizational culture on retention (as the antidote for turnover) vary across different stages of CWS careers. • A sample of 767 workers was divided into subgroups based on their years in CWS. A series of multilevel models were used to examine the differences between the groups. Findings include the crucial role supervisor support plays in retaining workers not only in their agencies, but in the field of CWS. In addition, passive defensive organizational culture has a negative effect on early career workers, but not on mid or late career workers. • This suggests that a unique sensitivity to passive defensive organizational cultures exists early in CWS workers’ careers that appears to dissipate over time. Implications for organizational practices are discussed. David Chenot PhD, California State University Fullerton

    5. Supervisor Support • Supervisor Support • Supervisor support has been a significant predictor of retention or turnover in several studies on the Public Child Welfare Services workforce: • APHSA (2005); Dickinson & Perry (2002); Jacquet, Clark, Morazes, & Withers (2008); Landsman (2001); Mor Barak, Nissly, & Levin (2001); Nissly, Mor Barak, & Levin (2005); Smith (2005) • Supervisor support has also emerged as an important factor in qualitative studies on PCWS retention: • Ellett, Ellis, Westbrook, & Dews, (2007); Reagh, (1994); Rycraft, (1994) David Chenot PhD, California State University Fullerton

    6. Peer Support • Peer support • Mixed results in studies on the PCWS workforce: • Significant impact on retention/turnover: Dickinson & Perry (2002); Ellett & Millar, (2004);Nissly, Mor Barak, & Levin (2005) • Impact on intent to leave but not on actual turnover: Mor Barak, Nissly, & Levin (2001) • No significant impact: Jacquet, Clark, Morazes, & Withers, (2008);Landsman (2001); Weaver, Chang, Clark, & Rhee (2007) • An important factor in qualitative studies: • Reagh (1994); Wagner, Spence, & Burnstein (2001); Wagner, van Reyk, & Spence (2001) David Chenot PhD, California State University Fullerton

    7. Organizational Culture • Organizational Culture • Few studies on PCWS organizations • C0nstructive cultures have a positive impact on job satisfaction & retention in PCWS agencies • Glisson (2007); Glisson & James (2002); Glisson et al., (2008) • Passive defensive cultures, not so much! • Glisson (2007); Glisson & James, (2002) David Chenot PhD, California State University Fullerton

    8. Supervisor/Peer Support & Organizational Culture • Variables in the Study • Individual level Variables • Supervisor Support • Peer Support • Organizational Level Construct • Organizational Culture • Control Variables • Title/Position in the Agency • Social Work Education David Chenot PhD, California State University Fullerton

    9. Supervisor Support • Definitions • Kadushin & Harkness (2002) • Three functions of supervision: administration, education, and support • Supervisor support in this study includes aspects of – • Education • Transfer the values of the profession to line workers, increase theoretical knowledge, improve practice skills, enhance problem-solving & self awareness. • Support • Maintain motivation, morale & commitment, mitigate job stress & the effects of role ambiguity – particularly in order to prevent burnout. Professional development and career planning appear to be involved as well. David Chenot PhD, California State University Fullerton

    10. Supervisor & Peer Support • Definitions • Supervisor Support • The extent to which the employee believes their immediate supervisor provides instrumental (knowledge/skill) and affective (emotional) support. • Reliability in difficult situations, willingness to listen to job-related problems, provides good advice, very knowledgeable about child welfare. • Peer Support • The degree of perceived assistance and understanding received from coworkers particularly in the immediate workgroup • Reliability in difficult situations, willingness to listen to job-related problems, “helpful to me in getting my job done.” (Landsman, 2000, 2001) David Chenot PhD, California State University Fullerton

    11. Organizational Culture • Definitions • Organizational Culture • A “deep” construct in organizational theory. • Culture is composed of the assumptions, beliefs, values and behavioral norms shared in organizations. • The shared nature of these elements is very important to culture as a concept. • Shared behavioral expectations are the most “visible” indicators of organizational culture • At least two types of cultures: • Constructive • Passive Defensive David Chenot PhD, California State University Fullerton

    12. Organizational Culture • Definitions • Organizational Culture • Constructive • The fulfillment of higher order satisfaction needs; i.e., self actualization, achievement, the motivation to excel, and a humanistic orientation marked by supportive behaviors and positive interpersonal interactions • Proficiency = Responsiveness to clients and Competence in fulfilling responsibilities. • Passive defensive • Related to lower order security and protection needs; i.e., the approval of others (esp. authorities), conformity with conventional operations (rule-following), high levels of dependency, evasion of responsibility, blame and accountability • Resistance = Apathy-social workers & case managers show little interest in change. Suppression- change efforts, including new ways of providing services, are suppressed by workers. David Chenot PhD, California State University Fullerton

    13. Intent to Stay • Projected Retention – Two Outcome Variables • In this study the focus was on retention as a desirable outcome & the opposite of turnover • Intent to stay as proxy for retention • 1) Retention=in Public Child Welfare Services Agencies • Intent to stay in the agency • 2) Retention=in the Field of Child Welfare Services • Intent to stay in the field • CWS encompasses more than PCWS. Those who leave PCWS agencies often go to other types of organizations in the Field of CWS. David Chenot PhD, California State University Fullerton

    14. Sample: PCWS Agencies by County David Chenot PhD, California State University Fullerton

    15. The Study & Sample • Study Design • Cross-sectional survey research design • Sampling • Convenience sample • Data gathered in eleven Central California PCWS Agencies • Number of individuals: n=767 • Number of groups: n=34 • Number of agencies: n=11 • Response rate: 69% David Chenot PhD, California State University Fullerton

    16. Sample • Sample by Title in Agency David Chenot PhD, California State University Fullerton

    17. Retention by Title • Comparison: Retention in the Agency by Title • Projected retention • Current employing PCWS Agency • By title or position in the currently employing PCWS agency David Chenot PhD, California State University Fullerton

    18. Retention by Agency Title David Chenot PhD, California State University Fullerton

    19. Retention by Title • Comparison: Retention in the Field of CWS by Title • Projected retention • Field of Child Welfare Services • By title or position in the currently employing PCWS agency David Chenot PhD, California State University Fullerton

    20. Retention by Agency Title David Chenot PhD, California State University Fullerton

    21. Retention by Education • Comparison: Retention in the Agency & the Field by Education • Projected retention • Public Child Welfare Services Agency & Field of Child Welfare Services • By highest educational level (degree) attained David Chenot PhD, California State University Fullerton

    22. Retention by SW Education David Chenot PhD, California State University Fullerton

    23. Retention by Time in Agency • Comparison: Retention in the Agency • Projected retention • Public Child Welfare Services Agency • By years in the agency David Chenot PhD, California State University Fullerton

    24. Retention-Agency David Chenot PhD, California State University Fullerton

    25. Sample : Years in the Field-CWS David Chenot PhD, California State University Fullerton

    26. Multilevel Analysis • HLM analyses: Three models • Unconditional model • Variance across groups on outcome variables • Conditional model-Predictors at level-1 only • Individual level effects of predictors on outcome variables • Cross-level interactions: Predictors at level 1 & level 2 • Cross-level effects of both the level 1 & level 2 predictors. Tests effects of the level 2 predictors on the intercepts and on the slopes David Chenot PhD, California State University Fullerton

    27. Results-Early Career • Retention-Agency • Significant variance across groups (not shown) Note. †p<0.10 *p<0.05. **p<0.01 David Chenot PhD, California State University Fullerton

    28. Results-Early Career • Retention Agency • Supervisor support & peer support predicted retention in the agency but supervisor support was strongest • Both MSW & BSW negatively predicted remaining in the agency but MSW was the strongest predictor in the model • Passive defensive organizational culture had a negative effect on the level of retention in the agency across groups David Chenot PhD, California State University Fullerton

    29. Results-Early Career Retention in the Agency David Chenot PhD, California State University Fullerton

    30. Results-Early Career • Retention-Field-CWS • No significant variance across groups (not shown) Note. †p<0.10 *p<0.05. **p<0.01 David Chenot PhD, California State University Fullerton

    31. Results-Early Career • Retention Field-CWS • Supervisor support predicted retention in the field but peer support did not • Having earned an MSW negatively predicted remaining in the field but having a BSW did not • Neither type of organizational culture had a significant effect on the level of retention in the field across groups David Chenot PhD, California State University Fullerton

    32. Results Mid Career • Mid Career • Supervisor support significantly predicted retention in the agency & the field • Peer support did not either • Passive defensive organizational culture did not predict retention David Chenot PhD, California State University Fullerton

    33. Results Late Career • Late career • Supervisor support significantly predicted retention in the agency but not in the field • Peer support did not predict either • Passive defensive organizational culture did not predict retention David Chenot PhD, California State University Fullerton

    34. Summary of Findings • Results • Supervisor support predicted retention in PCWS agencies at every career level but was strongest in early and mid career • Peer support predicted retention in PCWS agencies only among those early in their careers • Supervisor support was a significant predictor of retention in the Field-CWS and in early and mid career only. • Peer support did not predict retention in the field in any career group • Retention in the agency was negatively affected by passive defensive organizational cultures. This influence emerged only among those early in their careers David Chenot PhD, California State University Fullerton

    35. Implications • The Role of Supervisor Support in Retention and Professional Development • The influence of PCWS agency supervisors is strong enough to affect longevity and possibly career decisions in PCWS agencies. That influence extends to Child Welfare Services as a field of practice among those early in their careers. • Supervisors appear to play a pivotal role in the professional development of PCWS social workers. • In early career, peers impact PCWS social workers but the influence of supervisors is stronger and more pervasive. David Chenot PhD, California State University Fullerton

    36. Implications • Supervisor Support • PCWS supervisors have a great deal of influence over the working lives of social workers • This appears to be particularly true for new social workers but lasts throughout their careers. • There appears to be an acculturation or socialization process for new social workers in PCWS agencies and CWS as a field of practice. PCWS supervisors and peers are the prime movers in that process. • Supervisors in particular help new PCWS social workers learn both about their agencies and the Field of CWS. David Chenot PhD, California State University Fullerton

    37. Implications • Supervisor Support • How can supervisors support their workers ? They must feel supported by the agency administration • When supervisors were analyzed alone their ratings of “supervisor support” (administrators) were significant for both retention in the agency (.35, p<.01) and retention in the Field-CWS (.31, p<.01). • Administrators must attend to the needs of supervisors and support their supervisors if a stable, committed workforce is a goal for the agency. David Chenot PhD, California State University Fullerton

    38. Implications • The Influence of the Organizational Context • Passive defensive organizational culture • Those early in careers that were in groups that rated their agencies’ cultures as passive defensive in nature were less likely to project that they would remain in their agencies. • However, this was only the case among those early in their careers. • There may be an unhealthy acculturation process that takes place during PCWS careers. • Workers appear to become desensitized to the passive defensive nature of their agency cultures when they progress into mid and late career. (i.e., avoidance of responsibility, accountability, and blame; apathy & resistance to change). David Chenot PhD, California State University Fullerton

    39. Implications • The Cultures of our Agencies May be Driving Out New Social Workers • When social workers elect to stay, what do the passive defensive aspects of the cultures do to them? • Do they encourage competent practice? • Changes should focus on promoting creativity, autonomous decision making, participatory decision making, etc. David Chenot PhD, California State University Fullerton

    40. CalSWEC/Title IV-E • Second study • Masters of Social Work only • 202 participants with MSW degrees • With Title IV-E funding during their master’s education: n=155. • Without Title IV-E funding during their master’s education: n=47. David Chenot PhD, California State University Fullerton

    41. Research Question • Will PCWS social workers with Title IV-E training (while in MSW Programs) be more likely to remain in PCWS organizations and in the Field of CWS than those without Title IV-E training (while they were in MSW Programs)? David Chenot PhD, California State University Fullerton

    42. Study Variables • Independent variables • Years in the agency/field • Racial/ethnic background • Job position (supervisors, social workers) • Service orientation • Supervisor support • Peer support • Outcome variables • Intent to stay=PCWS Agency • Organizational climate • Engaging organizational climate • Stressful organizational climate • Job satisfaction • Organizational commitment • Commitment to the Field of CWS • Title IV-E • Intent to stay=Field of CWS David Chenot PhD, California State University Fullerton

    43. Definitions • Service orientation • Belief that social work practice in CWS is valuable to society. • Supervisor Support • Belief that the immediate supervisor provides instrumental (knowledge/skill) and affective (emotional) support. • Peer Support • Perceived assistance and understanding received from coworkers particularly in the immediate workgroup. • Organizational Climate • Employees’ perceptions of the effects their work environments have on them: • a sense of well-being or lack of well-being within the agency, etc. • the impact employees have on the services they provide. • Two types: • Engaging: composed of personal accomplishment and ‘personalization.’ • Stressful: composed of emotional exhaustion, role conflict and role overload. David Chenot PhD, California State University Fullerton

    44. Definitions • Job Satisfaction • Cognitive appraisal of work experiences and affective states connected to those appraisals. • Commitment to the Organization • Identification and involvement with the organization. • Commitment to the Field of Child Welfare Services • Identification and involvement with the field of CWS. • Retention • Intent to stay has been the strongest predictor of retention in many cross-sectional studies historically • Intent to stay was the proxy for retention in this study • Intent to stay in the PCWS agency • Intent to stay in the field of CWS David Chenot PhD, California State University Fullerton

    45. Intent to Stay in the Agency by Years in the Field David Chenot PhD, California State University Fullerton

    46. Intent to Stay in the Field by Years in the Field David Chenot PhD, California State University Fullerton

    47. Hierarchical Regression: Standardized coefficients David Chenot PhD, California State University Fullerton Note. * p < 0.05

    48. Results • Dissimilarity concerning tenure on the job or in the field between Title IV-E and Non Title IV-E participants made no difference in the regression analysis. • Similarly, ethnic differences in the sample did not play a significant role in the regression analysis. • Unexpected findings: Title IV-E participants were less likely to remain in their agencies than their counterparts. • Unexpected findings: Title IV-E was not associated with participants’ intention to stay in the field (no positive impact by Title IV-E). David Chenot PhD, California State University Fullerton

    49. Results • Organizational commitment and job satisfaction are the most consistent predictors of retention in PCWS Agencies (Landsman, 2001, etc.). • Perceptions of the organizational climates of these agencies as engaging were not significant predictors in these models. • Perceptions of the organizational climates of these agencies as stressful had negative direct effects on job satisfaction and/or commitment. • Supervisor support had positive effects on retention in agencies and the field. • Service orientation had a positive effect on retention in the Field of CWS. • Further exploration requires analyses to better understand the paths of the effects and potential indirect effects indicated in these models. David Chenot PhD, California State University Fullerton

    50. Analysis • Exploratory analysis • Research question: What factors lead to lower retention in PCWS agencies among those with Title IV-E training than Non-Title IV-E MSWs (in this sample)? • Sample = Title IV-E participants only (n=155) • Outcome variables: retention in the agency only • Model includes many of the same predictors used in previous models • Path analysis with SEM • Resultsh David Chenot PhD, California State University Fullerton