Service Coordination by Public Sector Managers in a Human Service Contracting Environment

  • Bowen McBeathEmail author
  • Emmeline Chuang
  • Sarah Carnochan
  • Michael J. Austin
  • Marla Stuart
Original Article


Despite emerging evidence of contracting for evidence-based practices (EBP), little research has studied how managers lead contract-based human service delivery. A 2015 survey of 193 managers from five San Francisco Bay Area county human service departments examined the relationship between contract-based service coordination (i.e., structuring cross-sector services, coordinating client referrals and eligibility, overseeing EBP implementation) and the predictors of managerial role, involvement, and boundary spanning. Multivariate regression results suggested that county managers identified fewer service coordination challenges if they were at the executive and program levels, had greater contract involvement, and engaged in contract-focused boundary spanning. In conclusion, we underscore the organizational and managerial dimensions of contract-based service delivery.


Human services Mental health services Contracting Evidence-based practice Collaboration 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

All the author declares that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

It was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bowen McBeath
    • 1
    Email author
  • Emmeline Chuang
    • 2
  • Sarah Carnochan
    • 3
  • Michael J. Austin
    • 3
  • Marla Stuart
    • 4
  1. 1.Portland State University School of Social WorkPortlandUSA
  2. 2.University of California-Los Angeles Fielding School of Public HealthLos AngelesUSA
  3. 3.Mack Center on Nonprofit and Public Sector Management in the Human ServicesUniversity of California-Berkeley School of Social WelfareBerkeleyUSA
  4. 4.Berkeley Institute for Data ScienceUniversity of California-BerkeleyBerkeleyUSA

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