Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph. D.

Cooperating University

University of Kentucky


Social Work

Committee Chair

Faul, Anna

Author's Keywords

Kentucky; Nonprofit; Social welfare


Social service--Evaluation; Social service--Kentucky


This dissertation is an exploratory, mixed methods study using grounded perspective to examine how stakeholders (including consumers, administrators, and practitioners) in social welfare organizations perceive effectiveness in the nonprofit social welfare sector. Focus groups were held in eight regions constituting the Area Health Education Centers (AHEC) in Kentucky. A total of 25 people participated in the study. A theoretical framework of nonprofit social welfare organizational effectiveness emerged from the data indicating that the five most significant factors identified by stakeholders as constituting effectiveness in the nonprofit social welfare sector in Kentucky were (a) client services, (b) organizational structure © workplace environment, (d) staff efficiency, and (e) organizational funding. Thirty-five statements emerged under these five categories highlighting the activities that are considered most important to an effective non-profit social welfare organization in Kentucky. The sub-categories culminated into a grant application and an evaluation tool for use by the philanthropic group to judge if an organization is effective and deserves to be funded. Chapter I presents the research question and purpose of the study as well as an overview of the theoretical perspectives and value foundations that have motivated the charitable movement in the United States. Chapter I provides an overview of how these perspectives and foundations are tied to the concept of nonprofit social welfare organizational effectiveness. Chapter II, a review of the relevant literature, presents what has been developed in the way of conceptualizing and measuring nonprofit social welfare organizational effectiveness. Chapter III describes the methodology incorporated in this study. Chapter IV details the results as well as the emerging framework of how stakeholders in nonprofit social welfare organizations in Kentucky view organizational effectiveness. Chapter V provides overarching implications of the research, strengths and limitations, and implications for future studies.