Organizational Image Assessment in the Health and Human Services Sector1


  • Samuel Mudd

    1. Gettysburg College
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    • 2

      Requests for reprints should be sent to Samuel Mudd, Department of Psychology, Gettysburg College, Gettysburg, PA 17325.

  • 1

    The series of studies reported in this article was supported in 1975–1976 and again in 1980–1981 by Mellon funds administered by Gettysburg College. A number of people assisted or collaborated with the author on various aspects of the work. Carol Shannahan, Ann Dorko, Heidi Sheesley, and Luann Witthoff helped with data collection or analysis. Cal Sayers and Edith Krohn made the Harrisburg State Hospital study possible; they contributed incentive, administrative sanction, and interpretation. Bob Green in York and George Kime in Hanover encouraged the caseworker staffs of their clinics to participate in the two Harrisburg State Hospital surveys. Joanne Holter of the York-Adams MH-MR Program staff provided samples for the interviews. Sharon Weible shaped the final draft to the APA format with the accuracy and speed to which the Department of Psychology at Gettysburg College has become accustomed. Bill Wilson, our Director of Administrative Computing, machined the computer files and consulted on the various statistical analyses.


Five studies were conducted from 1976 to 1984 in southcentral Pennsylvania to evaluate the potential of bipolar ratings by adult user populations for assessing the general agency and/ or specific program image of service organizations in the not-for-profit sector. Statistically reliable differences in mean ratings on scales such as staff qualifications, physical accessibility, and so forth were found to distinguish image profiles and the clarity of image of three human service agencies within the same region of service, to detect change over a 6-year period in the image of individual agencies, and to be sensitive to the effects of management actions designed to modify the image of an in-patient psychiatric facility within a region. The demonstration that specific management interventions over a 2-year period were detectable by ratings along specifically relevant dimensions encourages the immediate application of this inexpensive feedback device by managers of human service agencies and the further investigation of user image ratings as a system output potentially amenable to control system analyses.