What Makes Human Service Management Different

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• Most management activities are designed to positively influence what takes place within an organization.

• It is important to note that the external environment plays an important role in a human service organization.

• Since the success of management activities are determined by the interaction that occurs between the organization and those persons and forces that exist outside its boundaries.

• In this chapter, we will examine the external influences that must be addressed by human service organizations, and how different they are from manufacturing sector which produces products rather than services.


William Dill describes “Task Environment” as the parts of an organization’s environment that are “relevant or potentially relevant to goal setting and goal attainment.”

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• An organization is believed to be more or less successful in its goal achievement based on its capacity to interact successfully with its task environment.

• Therefore, many activities set up by managers involve efforts to negotiate support from the task environment. It is important for any service provider to make sure that his/her supporters are on his/her side. You cannot have your supporter turning against you.

• In manufacturing corporation, the components of the task environment are its:

1. customers

2. suppliers of raw materials and resources needed to manufacture the organization’s products

3. its competitors

4. regulatory groups that might restrict its ability to operate in the most profitable manner

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• In a human service organization there are many similarities and differences from the task environment of a manufacturing organization. It consists of:

1. Any persons

2. Organizations

3. Groups on whom it dependent for goal achievement

4. Those who have the potential to support or interfere with its efforts.


• Stakeholders such as its past present and future clients

• Other human service organization with which it must interact

• Funding organization

• Government programs

• Private and professional companies

• The media and the general public

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In a manufacturing organization, if its products are good, at the right priced, it’s not dangerous to anyone’s health and would not cause any social problems then there is a sweet relationship between the organization and its task environment.

In a human service organization the general public sometimes gets involved as potential customers (clients).

Some people come voluntarily and appreciate the help they get.

Others may come involuntarily (may be sent by court-ordered). These may resent the organization and its staff.


Human service organizations based primarily on their missions and objectives operates in a task environment where some of its components are likely to be friendly, other less friendly.

The primary threat within the task environment of a manufacturing corporation is often its competitors (everyone wants a share of the market. In the super

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market so many same products by different manufacturers).

Stockholders, government regulatory commissions, or the media can also be a treat to the organization achieving its goal.

How friendly is the task environment of a human service agency? It depends. Some human service organizations are lucky to work in a task environment that is relatively friendly.

What are their characteristics? More favorable task environments are found in those organizations where:

1. Their services cost the taxpayer little or nothing

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