This study examined the social change process in a variety of institutions. In this qualitative study, staff in three settings, a psychiatric hospital, a facility for people with developmental disabilities, and a chronic care hospital for older people, were interviewed. The within and cross case analysis revealed four themes: (a) the focus of change was similar across sites and included deinstitutionalization, enhanced quality of life, and access to community resources; (b) the impetus for change had multiple sources (e.g., legislation/policies, advocacy by consumer and/or parent associations, and authority by the administration or other leadership in the facility), with recreationists playing a relatively minor role in initiating change; (c) the constraints to social change (e.g., inadequate resources allocated by government for implementation of legislation, lack of leadership from administrators, bureaucracy, and negative attitudes towards residents by staff) were significant; and (d) personal qualities and concrete strategies were necessary to bring about social change. In conclusion, this study showed that there is a lot of potential for people working in institutions to contribute to social change; however, a number of recommendations would need to be addressed.
Author Peggy Hutchison, Christiane Potschaske
Volume Vol 32, No 2 (1998)