This case shows how insights into informal networks improved alignment for better service

The Municipality of Haderslev

The Municipality of Haderslev conducted an Organizational Network Analysis in the department for Disability and Social Psychiatry. This analysis was focused on how its employees collaborated in order to strengthen the position of citizens with disabilities in society and getting them closer to the labor market.

The Department knew that they needed new knowledge and that organizational network analysis was the solution. They invited around 300 employees.

The employees were asked who they collaborated with, and who could make them work better in order to help their citizens with disabilities.  These citizens were categorized in 8 different archetypes – based on specific disabilities. From Alberta – an invented name – with many physical and metal complex disabilities, to Thomas – also an invented name – with one developmental disorder.

These archetypes gave invaluable additional insights into the data, because for each of the 8 archetypes the municipality could now visualize the informal networks surrounding them – both the current collaboration and potential collaboration. This input gave the department new knowledge to help citizens with disabilities with the right resources.

The Organizational Network Analysis showed that there was considerable difference on how employees perceived the opportunities of citizens with disabilities. The employees who worked in workshops saw a higher labor market potential for the citizens with disabilities than the employees who worked in psychiatric centers. That’s where citizens with disabilities needed more care-related help.

This insight became even more interesting, because it showed that:

The more one believed that there was a potential for the citizens with disabilities, the greater the possibility there was it happened

On top of that, the Organizational Network Analysis showed that the employees felt that their colleagues and themselves had the right professional skills and capabilities to be able to work with the citizens with disabilities. Nonetheless, data showed that there were significant collaboration barriers – barriers between the cities that made up the municipalty to barriers between the different units such workshops and psychiatry centers. The question arose:

how can we be sure that we utilize the skills and capabilities available in each of the different parts to help the citizens with similar disabilities?

The organizational network diagnostic helped with defining which archetypes could benefit more from a particular professional initiative based on the network data. That’s why there was a realization that there was a huge untapped development potential hidden in the informal networks. The Department started a journey where the goal was to get insight into the real organization and collaborative relationships. It created the basis for better and coherent offers for its citizens with disabilities. The journey did not end after the municipality got these insights. It was just the right start for a successful transformation!