Academic journal article Public Personnel Management

Deprofessionalization and the Organizational Life Cycle: The Case of Community Service Agencies

Academic journal article Public Personnel Management

Deprofessionalization and the Organizational Life Cycle: The Case of Community Service Agencies

Article excerpt

Deprofessonialization and the Organizational Life Cycle: The Case of Community Service Agencies

Little attention has been given to professional management of human service organizations. The trend of clinicians and service-providing experts in these organizations becoming executives ought to be examined. The role of professionals in the management of human service organizations became a recent focus of interest due to these agencies' unique characteristics of service provision.(1) Because of these characteristics. the human service organizations heavily depend on their professionals to skillfully provide specific services to target populations.(2)

This paper examines the incorporation of professionals as executives in the Community Service Agencies (CSAs) in Israel (1976 to 1988). By 'professionalization' we mean the recruiting of executives who graduated a special one year executive program at the university. or have at least a B.A. degree in the social sciences.

The analysis of the tensions between professionalization and deprofessionalization in human service organization management is based on the integration of the organizational life cycle model and the resource dependence theory.

Theoretical Framework

Most theoretical frameworks of the organizational life cycle, as part of the business literature relate to the growth of a firm and its survival.(3) Several other aspects have been studied. such as the relationship between power and life cycle,(4) between organizational federations and life cycle(5) and between management of human resources and life cycle.(6)

An integrated model was presented by Quin and Cameron 1983(7) relating to other works.(8) The integrated model starts with the entrepreneurial stage and moves through the collectivity stage, the formalization and control stage, and a structure elaboration and adaptation stage.

In the entrepreneurial stage, executive dominance is established through personal, informal management patterns and structure, flexible communication and coordination procedures both within the organization and with its environment. Personal attention and rewards are given for the mobilization of resources and attainment of legitimacy for the organizational domain from the external environments. The creation of the organization's ideology, and the paternalistic reward system does not rely only on the level of professionalization of the executive, but rather on his/her entrepreneurial skills.

The collectivity stage is characterized by participative management and team building. A sense of mission comes from the executive's vision, feeds the organizational ideology and sets a commitment to the organization's goals. Decision making still leans on intuition rather than scientific knowledge.

The third stage, of formalization and control, is based on processes of formalization, stabilization and institutionalization. The executive emphasizes procedures of achieving and maintaining efficiency, reducing flexibility, and strengthening the elements of professionalism and professional management.(9) The growth of professional bureaucracy, which is a result of functional growth. brings with it technical specialization, also adding to the formalization of the structure.(10)

The fourth stage - the elaboration of the structure - is characterized by highly professional, specialized management, allowing for processes of decentralization and diversification. The expansion of the organizational domain, the search for mechanisms of adaptation to changing environments and for growth opportunities, and strategic changes require such a professional leadership. Decentralization is also accompanied by finding mechanisms of coordination(11) concentrating on managing interdependence among organizations.

The theoretical framework assumes that along its life cycle, organizations, as open systems, depend on the external environment to obtain resources. …

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