Finish what you start: A study of Design Team change initiatives' impact on agency climate

Catherine Lawrence, Nancy Claiborne, Wendy Zeitlin, Charles Auerbach

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


This study employs a multi-site longitudinal design to examine the effect of a Design Team intervention on organizational climate. Thirteen private, not-for-profit child welfare agencies from one state participated in a Design Team intervention to address workforce needs. A total of 407 workers from those agencies responded pre and post intervention to a survey that measures worker perceptions of the psychological climate of their organization using the Parker Psychological Climate Survey. Workers in organizations that completed the Design Team intervention had statistically significant increases in three of the four dimensions of the Parker scale. On the role dimension, significant change was noted on all three subscales on the interaction between Time 1 and Time 2 (ambiguity: p = 0.012; conflict: p = 0.04; overload: p = 0.05). On the organization dimension, the justice and support subscales had significant differences in the desired direction (justice: p = 0.05; support: p = 0.03). On the supervisor dimension, significant change was observed in the desired direction for both the goal emphasis and work facilitation subscales (goal emphasis: p = 0.02; work facilitation: p = 0.00). Statistically significant improvements in the organizational climates of child welfare agencies suggest the benefit of future research to test the effectiveness of Design Team interventions in other service areas. These findings build on intervention research with organizations by linking the ability of an organization to fully implement a change initiative to their capacity to improve the workplace climate for employees.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)40-46
Number of pages7
JournalChildren and Youth Services Review
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2016


  • Design Teams
  • Implementation
  • Organizational change
  • Organizational climate


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