Date of Award

12-2009

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Social Work

Major Professor

David A. Patterson

Committee Members

John G. Orme, Sarah W. Craun, Robert T. Ladd

Abstract

The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) requires federally-funded homeless service providers to participate in an homeless management information system (HMIS). While federally mandated, no one has examined how these technologies are being used. Theory and research suggest that the technology dissemination is contingent upon the organizational culture in which it is used. This study represents the first empirical analysis of HMIS use and explores the cross-level relationship between staff members’ HMIS use and organizational culture.

Staff members at 24 homeless service providers completed the Organizational Social Context (OSC) survey and scores from each provider were aggregated to assess the organizational culture. Data on HMIS use, measured as the number of times that an individual attempted to log on to the system, were collected from 142 individuals. Data were analyzed using a negative binomial hierarchical generalized linear model.

Results suggest that organizational proficiency is related to HMIS use and is moderated by gender. The rate of log on attempts for male staff members increases in organizations with higher levels of proficiency. Moreover, organizational culture results revealed that the sample reported significantly higher levels of organizational proficiency, rigidity, and resistance, compared to a national sample of children’s mental health providers. The study concludes with the recommendation that policy makers view HMIS implementation as an ongoing, cyclical process of interactions among the organizational social context, the software, and the researchers developing the technology.

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