Toward a Framework for Detecting Empathy in Public Sector Organizations
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Type of Work219 pages
DepartmentCollege of Public Affairs
ProgramDoctor of Public Administration
RightsThis item may be protected under Title 17 of the U.S. Copyright Law. It is made available by the University of Baltimore for non-commercial research and educational purposes.
Public Service Values
Public organizations fulfill critical needs in communities across the United States, such as housing, environmental protection, public education, and more. In this important role, healthy public organizations should be accountable to the values that guide their work. However, a lack of tools in the field of public administration prohibits the assessment of organizational culture in public organizations, particularly as it relates to equitably representing the individuals they serve. To close this gap, this dissertation presents a framework to detect an organizational culture of empathy, including the results from an archival analysis of the organizational culture of the Housing Authority of Baltimore City (HABC). The framework is grounded in the work of social equity (Frederickson, 2005, 2010; Gawthrop, 1998; Johnson & Svara, 2011; Svara & Brunet, 2005; Wooldridge & Gooden, 2009) and reflects organization cultural assessments already used in the field (Gooden, 2014; Testa & Sipe, 2013). The importance of examining an organizational culture of empathy at HABC is reflected in the troubling history of service provision of housing services to individuals who are traditionally under-represented and structurally excluded from decision-making processes (Pietila, 2010; Rothstein, 2017). Findings from this work contribute to expanding the scholarship of empathy within public administration by establishing a relationship between empathy, a public service value, and organizational culture.