Managers often look askance at philosophy as though it were a “frill” and not an essential. They feel, perhaps, that results oriented people are pragmatic, not philosophical. Unfortunately, no organization can reach right results without a clear definition of its own summum bonum, (life’s greatest good). This process is important, not only to the field of human services, but also to the process by which people with problems in living seek coherence.
We will examine coherence as it applies to the development of a systematic connectedness based on the development and implementation of social policy in regard to the management of the delivery of human services. It is our hypothesis that the inability of government to steer [set precise goals both for direction and measurement of accomplishment]; and to learn [identify discrepancies between goals and outcomes and design new alternatives to more optimally meet those goals] has left our society with a human services network which marches toward oblivion with very good intentions. We further suggest that the conflict of explicit [that which is stated] and implicit [that which is intended] social policy along with the fallout lack of consistent patterns of values and incongruous sets of ideological principles, results in real harm being done to people with problems in living.
Values are held at three levels: as ideals which may never be reached but are what is what we hope for; as goals which we will work towards with the expectation that some day we will get there, and as commitments which means that every person is working on these values NOW! Often values are not held as commitments by staff even though they are held as commitments by organizations. This is sometimes due to the vague manner in which they are articulated.
Changing a human service system is a process of developing clarity between beginning points and outcomes and developing new problem solving solutions to bridge the gap between the two. The intent here is not to develop all of the specific steps of that solution process, but rather to identify some of the salient components of a transformational system. The most single characteristic of a human service delivery system is the quality of its personnel.
If the human service system is really a system, what are its goals and outcome expectations and how are they measured? This examines some of the pitfalls of the traditional system of providing services to people with problems in living.
The school can and does influence the social sanctions that implicate our sociocultural behavior. Therefore it behooves us to begin to dissect those aspects of schools that enhance the ability of students not only to learn, but to become prosocial citizens.