Relationship Embeddedness Sustainability among Human Services Internal Stakeholders

Influencing Stakeholders to Remain

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My first job in human services started in the mid-80s. I remember telling myself it would be short-lived since I left graduate school to have my son with promises of resuming my studies after he turned one. Thirty plus years later, he is finishing up his residency in medical school and I am embarking on unfinished business as a doctoral learner. I remained in human services and wonder why I stay. Based on national statistics, staff turnover in human services is 47% and most individuals leave after two years of employment. Money, job satisfaction and recognition were not motivating factors in keeping me in human services. As I helped others, I evolved and grew to love service to humankind. Would I do it again if the opportunity arose? Probably since wholeness, spiritual well-being and service to vulnerable children and families are embedded into who I am. Can this be said for internal stakeholders experiencing conflict, high workloads, and work-life imbalances in the workplace?

Miscommunication or lack of communication is inevitable among stakeholders however the manner of handling communication difficulties among stakeholders can determine who remains or leave. Internal stakeholders oppose leadership when they do not understand expectations or perceive their needs and interests are unmet. Transparency, open and honest communication and consensus activate change without creating friction among stakeholders. Trust, linked to cooperative behavior among teams, create positive relationship embeddedness among stakeholders. Trust, a cornerstone of organizational commitment, encourages stakeholders to expose their vulnerabilities about expectations, performance and service delivery though open dialogue. When difficulties arise, the approach used determine how stakeholders perceive one another, perform tasks and demonstrate resiliency in the workplace. Trustworthiness reinforces strong relationships among stakeholders.

Networking sustains connections among stakeholders since it provides guidance, leadership and relationship formation. Networking is not always favorable when communication opposes internal well-being. Communication is balanced when networking fosters a reciprocal relationship among stakeholders. Authenticity, transparency, trust and openness foster effective networking within organizations. Diplomacy and patience garner strong relationships by reinforcing networks within organizations. When conflict arises, pre-existing networks are strengthened and through mediation, dissent is redirected. Networking is effective across disciplines, global markets and organizations.

Stakeholder networking value is achieved through cooperation, openness and collaborative efforts to change. Stakeholders effectively develop networking through cooperative bargaining, ascertained by ameliorating tense moments when stakeholders maintain positions of impasse. Agreements breakdown and through clear expectations, role-modeling behaviors and attitudes of quality service and sometimes, through mediating forces, can organizational change move in a compulsory way. Organization networking, achieved through collaborative efforts in academics and other disciplines, can be duplicated in human services. Collaboration ensures project success and personal growth as evidenced by best practices. Through open communication internal stakeholder’ viewpoints emerge. Miscommunication that emerge need resolution. Thatchera, Alaoe, Bwornb and Choudharva, 2016 believed misgivings are eradicated through continuous interactions and opposing interaction can be redirected towards consensus.

While there is an art to communication, there is an art to deliberate miscommunication. A savvy observer recognizes the motive behind dissent as much as a savvier observer redirects stakeholders back to organization expectations. Bush-Maecenas and Marsh (2018) surmise stakeholders have dimensions of what they perceive, how they perceive and when they perceive things and cognitively, this is based on their experiences. Quality performance requires fluidity and willingness to observe things through the experiences of others while holding stakeholders accountable. Who then is held accountable? Everyone working in human services is held accountable. Encourage internal stakeholders to hold one another accountable for organization expectations and quality job performance.

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