, Volume 28, Issue 5, pp 371-384

Neglected organization and management issues in mental health systems development

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Fragmented and often uncoordinated public services for the more severely mentally ill are often characteristic of the current U.S. mental health system. The creation of local mental health authorities has been promoted as part of a solution, as has happened in Wisconsin at the county level and is championed in the ongoing Robert Wood Johnson Foundation funded innovative service sites for severely mentally ill adults. There are indications that these innovative mental health authorities will fall short of fulfilling their promise. Basic principles from the management and organizations literature are used to identify several organization and management issues that may have been neglected. These include resource management, attention to system goals, monitoring and feedback, and the promotion of desirable interorganizational cultures.
An earlier version of this paper was presented at the 1991 annual meeting of the Midwest Sociological Society, April, 1991, Des Moines, Iowa. The author wishes to thank Leonard Stein, Rockwell Schulz, David McKee, Odin Anderson, and Patricia Littman for helpful comments on an earlier draft of this paper.