Social Policy

Working Together: Meeting the Challenges of Workforce Diversity

Working Together: Meeting the Challenges of Workforce Diversity
In Steve Hayes and Richard Kearney (ed.). Public Personnel Administration: Problems and Prospects. 4th edition. Prentice Hall: Englewood Cliffs. 2002, pp. 238-255.

Ospina, S. & O'Sullivan, J.
01/01/2002

This collection of original manuscripts-representing a cross-section of the timeliest scholarship in public personnel administration-explores the theme of "problems and prospects" in public personnel administration. The contributions are organized into four broad sections: The Setting, The Techniques, The Issues, and Reform and the Future. Section One focuses primarily on the social, political, economic, and legal trends that have served as catalysts in the transformation of public personnel administration. Section Two is composed of selections that summarize developments in the practice of HRM, with special emphasis on emerging personnel techniques and the ways that traditional approaches to the staffing function are being revised. Section Three discusses and suggests responses to some of the most troublesome or pervasive issues in modern personnel management. The final section assesses the probable trends in the field's future, and analyzes the efficacy of recent reform efforts. For human resource personnel looking to broaden their perspective in the field.

Dying Alone: The Social Production of Urban Isolation

Dying Alone: The Social Production of Urban Isolation
Ethnography, Vol. 2, no. 4 (Dec 2001), pp. 501-531. doi: 10.1177/14661380122231019

Klinenberg, E.
12/01/2001

In July 1995 over 700 Chicago residents, most of them old and impoverished, died in a short but devastating heat wave. As part of a `social autopsy' of this disaster that goes beyond natural factors to uncover the institutional forces that made the urban environment suddenly so lethal, this article examines the social production and lived experience of everyday urban isolation. Accounts from ethnographic investigations in the affected neighborhoods and of the city agencies entrusted with dealing with the issue are used to highlight four key conditions: (1) the increase in the number and proportion of people living alone, including seniors who outlive or become estranged from their social networks; (2) the fear of crime and the use of social withdrawal and reclusion as survival strategies; (3) the simultaneous degradation and fortification of urban public space, particularly in segregated neighborhoods that have lost major commercial establishments and other attractions that entice people out of their homes; (4) the political dysfunctions stemming from social service programs that treat citizens as consumers in a market for public goods despite a growing population of residents who lack access to the information and network ties necessary for such `smart shopping' for city support. Together, these conditions create a formula for disaster that the 1995 heat wave actualized for the city of Chicago and might yet recur in other US metropolises.

Welfare Reform in Wisconsin: The Local Role

Welfare Reform in Wisconsin: The Local Role
Administration and Society, vol. 33, no. 5 (November 2001)

Mead, L.
11/01/2001

The article suggests a new model for the implementation of social programs based on welfare reform in Wisconsin. Existing models tend to be top-down or bottom-up, but in Wisconsin the leading counties and the state government worked interactively to transform welfare. Existing accounts of the Wisconsin reform stress state-level leadership, but key features such as high participation in work programs and an emphasis on "work first" rather than training were developed first in Kenosha and several other counties and then adopted statewide. The article also dramatizes the critical role of strong program management and organization.

Bodies That Don't Matter: Death and Dereliction in Chicago

Bodies That Don't Matter: Death and Dereliction in Chicago
Body & Society, Vol. 7, no. 2-3 (Sep 2001), pp. 121-136. doi: 10.1177/1357034X0100700207

Klinenberg, E.
09/01/2001

Through a case study of the scientific, political and journalistic treatment of dead bodies in the 1995 Chicago heat wave, this article questions what kinds of truths are written on or contained within the body and what happens to the study of society once the body is not simply brought in, but made a core object of analysis. I focus on the kinds of social information bodies convey and conceal when they are made to stand in for the social in scientific and journalistic inquiries. During the heat wave, the dead bodies served as a double distraction from the sociological issues that the disaster might have made visible: first as commodified spectacles, in the media representation of the crisis; second, as scientifically defined objects, in the narrowly medical attribution of the deaths. In Chicago, the dead bodies were so visible that almost no one could see what had happened to them. This suggests that bodies can either lose their capacity to substantiate truth claims or turn into evidence for false claims when they turn into the subjects of spectacle or fetish.

Healthcare in a Land Called PeoplePower: Nothing About Me Without Me

Healthcare in a Land Called PeoplePower: Nothing About Me Without Me
Health Expectations, Vol. 4., September 2001, Page 144

Delbanco, T., Berwick, D.M., Boufford, J.I., Edgman-Levitan, Ollenschlager, G., Plamping, D. & Rockefeller, R.G.
09/01/2001

In a 5-day retreat at a Salzburg Seminar attended by 64 individuals from 29 countries, teams of health professionals, patient advocates, artists, reporters and social scientists adopted the guiding principle of 'nothing about me without me' and created the country of PeoplePower. Designed to shift health care from 'biomedicine' to 'infomedicine', patients and health workers throughout PeoplePower join in informed, shared decision-making and governance. Drawing, where possible, on computer-based guidance and communication technologies, patients and clinicians contribute actively to the patient record, transcripts of clinical encounters are shared, and patient education occurs primarily in the home, school and community-based organizations. Patients and clinicians jointly develop individual 'quality contracts', serving as building blocks for quality measurement and improvement systems that aggregate data, while reflecting unique attributes of individual patients and clinicians. Patients donate process and outcome data to national data banks that fuel epidemiological research and evidence-based improvement systems. In PeoplePower hospitals, constant patient and employee feedback informs quality improvement work teams of patients and health professionals. Volunteers work actively in all units, patient rooms are information centres that transform their shape and decor as needs and individual preferences dictate, and arts and humanities programmes nourish the spirit. In the community, from the earliest school days the citizenry works with health professionals to adopt responsible health behaviours. Communities join in selecting and educating health professionals and barter systems improve access to care. Finally, lay individuals partner with professionals on all local, regional and national governmental and private health agencies.

Implementing Work Requirements in Wisconsin

Implementing Work Requirements in Wisconsin
Journal of Public Policy, vol. 21, no. 3 (2002). Cambridge University Press

Mead, L.
06/01/2001

When Western counties seek to reform welfare so that recipients have to work in return for aid, this poses implementation as well as policy problems. This study of work requirements in Wisconsin illustrates the challenges. It also confirms success of a top-down model of implementation. Wisconsin’s welfare work programs had little impact on dependency through the mid 1980s because work was not a priority and work programs were underdeveloped. From 1985–6, however, the state increased funding and built up the employment bureaucracy. It required that more recipients participate in work programs, enter jobs rather than education, and avoid welfare if possible. It attuned the bureaucracy to its goals through funding incentives. These measures along with strong economic conditions then drove the welfare rolls down, with largely good effects. Wisconsin’s achievement rested on its good-government traditions. Not all regimes have the same capacity.

A Room of One’s Own or A Room with a View? Housing and Educational Stratification

A Room of One’s Own or A Room with a View? Housing and Educational Stratification
Sociological Forum. 2001, Vol. 16(2), pp. 263-280.

Conley, D.
01/01/2001

This study attempts to understand the role that housing plays in the system of social stratification. First, it generates a model of how housing outcomes are stratified along dimensions of socioeconomic status and race. Second, it asks what role housing conditions play in the system of educational stratification of offspring. Using two-generational data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, this paper demonstrates that home ownership is predicted by family income and race and that this indicator has a significant effect in predicting the educational attainment of offspring. Household crowding is also related to income and race and also affects the educational attainment of offspring. Meanwhile, housing quality—as measured by the physical condition of the unit—is not related to income or race and has no effect on educational attainment. Of particular note is that when socioeconomic status and housing conditions are held constant, African-Americans demonstrate more than a half-grade advantage over their non-black counterparts in years of completed schooling. In conclusion, the paper argues that housing matters not only for the immediate well-being of families, but also for the life-chances of the subsequent generation, and should be a standard variable in the conception of class background.

Birth Weight and Income: Interactions Across Generations

Birth Weight and Income: Interactions Across Generations
Journal of Health and Social Behavior. 2001, Vol. 42, pp. 450-465.

Conley, D. & Bennett, N.
01/01/2001

This paper attempts to answer a series of questions regarding the interaction of income and birth weight across generations. First, does the effect of the income of a mother during her pregnancy on her infant's birth weight depend on the family's birth weight history (genetic predisposition)? Second, does the effect of low birth weight status on adult life chances depend on income during early childhood? These questions have implications for the way we envision the biological and social worlds as interacting across generations. To address these issues, this study uses intergenerational data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, survey years 1968 through 1992. Results of sibling comparisons (family-fixed-effects models) demonstrate that maternal income has a significant impact on birth weight for those infants who are already at high risk hereditarily (i.e., who have a low birth weight parent). However, it is not clear whether income acts as a developmental buffer for low birth weight infants as their lives progress. These findings suggest the existence of biosocial interactions between hereditary predisposition and socio-economic environment.

Leadership (Re)constructed: How Lens Matters

Leadership (Re)constructed: How Lens Matters
November

Ospina, S. & Schall, E.
01/01/2001

This paper develops a view of leadership as a social construct, as something that is created through dialogue among groups of people in a particular context. Different contexts allow us to see how leadership emerges in action. We further develop the idea that leadership is relational to highlight its social and collective nature and to stress the importance of studying leadership in context. The way people make meaning of leadership is an important focus, so it becomes necessary to understand the "knowledge principle," or dominant ideas that inform the work of leadership, as well. This approach contributes to the development of the body of literature that views leadership as a collective achievement, not something that belongs to an individual. Not only does this approach hold promise to provide interesting new insights to enrich leadership theory, it allows for the opportunity to produce new knowledge that is useful to practitioners, thereby enhancing existing leadership and inspiring new leadership to emerge.

Pages

Subscribe to Social Policy