Measures of Staff Morale and Organizational Environment as Indicators of Program Change in an Institution for Youthful Offenders

  • N. Dickon Reppucci
  • J. Terry Saunders


With our growing experience in the area of behavioral treatment programs in human service organizations (e.g., mental hospitals, juvenile correctional facilities, schools), it has become apparent that a more ecological perspective (e.g., Reppucci, 1977; Willems, 1974), with its emphasis on understanding the complex interrelationships and interdependences within and between person-behavior-environment systems, is necessary for the successful implementation of behavior modification programs in these settings. In 1974, as an initial attempt to examine some major implementation issues that confront the change agent using behavior modification techniques in human service organizations, the authors, both behaviorally oriented community psychologists, wrote an article on the “Social Psychology of Behavior Modification: Problems of Implementation in Natural Settings.” One of the issues we discussed was the Problem of Two Populations. In brief, we argued (1974) that the behavioral consultant can influence the behavior of the client population only by modifying the behavior of staff mediators. We further noted that consultants usually have little control over the most powerful contingencies of staff reinforcement-salaries, promotions, job security, and benefits. Yet staff are clearly a vital link in the service delivery chain within any human service organization. If a behavioral program affects them adversely, it is possible and perhaps even likely that the quality of care to residents will suffer as a consequence. To the degree that a behavioral program strengthens positive aspects of their work experience, both staff and residents should benefit. Nevertheless, the area of employee job satisfaction has been woefully ignored in human service organizations (Sarata, 1977; Sarata & Jeppesen, 1977).1


Community Psychology Social Climate Task Identity Behavioral Program Time Interaction Effect 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1982

Authors and Affiliations

  • N. Dickon Reppucci
    • 1
  • J. Terry Saunders
    • 2
  1. 1.Psychology DepartmentUniversity of VirginiaCharlottesvilleUSA
  2. 2.Offenders Aid and Restoration of the United StatesCharlottesvilleUSA

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