Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph. D.



Degree Program

Sociology (Applied), PhD

Committee Chair

Gagne, Patricia

Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)

Roelfs, David

Committee Member

Roelfs, David

Committee Member

Carini, Robert

Committee Member

Marshall, Gul Aldikacti

Committee Member

Zierold, Kristina

Committee Member

Rice, Corrie

Author's Keywords

interagency collaboration; gender; power; child welfare; families; bureaucracy; human services


This study incorporated a feminist approach to the use of multiple qualitative methods by conducting participant observation, focus group interviewing, and in-depth interviewing of women and men affiliated with a diverse representation of human service organizations. An applied research partnership with a multi-county human service organization provided entrée to the study population. Through analytic induction using a grounded theoretical approach the study explored perceptions of power, authority, gender, inequality, and bureaucratic constraints that emerged during organizational processes of interagency collaboration among multidisciplinary human service organizations (Charmaz 2014; Corbin and Strauss 2014). Findings indicate that establishing relationships is critical for interagency collaboration to be effective; however, the lived experience of interagency collaboration is that ethics of care and care work are constrained by gendered power dynamics, primarily ethics of justice embedded in bureaucratically-structured human service organizations situated within a plurality of complexities. Further, tensions between bureaucracy and ethics of care are enacted through relative, subjective, and exclusionary forms of gendered and other types of intersectionally-situated bureaucratic power.