SERVICE DELIVERY NETWORKS
The forces that most influence organizations come from outside the organization, not from within.
Alliances that both partners ultimately deem successful involve collaboration (creating new values together) rather than mere exchange (getting something back for what you put in). Partners value the skills each brings to the alliance.
—Rosabeth Moss Kanter (1997:225)
THE MANAGEMENT of any organization involves dealing with the external environment as well as with internal organizational processes. For human service organizations, a significant element in the external environment is the human service delivery network (hereafter referred as a service delivery network)—that is, that set of organizations that are involved in providing a particular type of service within a given community (Hage 1986; Austin 1991; Reitan 1998). To a large degree, the way in which any single service organization develops over time is shaped by the characteristics of the service delivery networks that the organization is a part of. The literature dealing with human service programs emphasizes the importance of “coordination” or “integration” of service providers (Reitan 1998) to improve the outcomes for service users, particularly for those with complex, multiple, or long-term service requirements. Nugent and Glisson, in a study of children in the juvenile justice system who have mental health problems, point out, “Characteristics of service systems clearly impact the outcomes of services” (1999:57). This chapter provides a framework for understanding the characteristics and dynamics of the service delivery networks with which organizational managers and other staff members are involved.
Businesses are involved in supplier chains, or networks, and marketing networks. They are also likely to be involved in technology networks, personnel networks, stock ownership networks, and political influence