Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Robert Jack Smith

Second Advisor

Dr. William Garland

Third Advisor

Dr. Erika Loeffler

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


Public criticism of human service organizations has underlined the fact that there are essential differences between organizations which provide services and organizations which produce goods. As service providers, human service organizations represent an organized response to human needs and problems, but this response is affected by different assumptions about people's ability or inability to meet their own needs. The process of providing services entails a number of interactions at various levels between the organization and the community. These relationships are as complex as the people and social systems of which our pluralistic society is comprised, but there are special manifestations that become visible within the context of service delivery. The role of the applied anthropologist, participant observation, and the use of emic and holistic perspectives are examined for their potential contributions in a human service setting.