La Trobe

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Culture in better group homes for people with intellectual disability at severe levels

journal contribution
posted on 2020-11-17, 22:20 authored by Christine BigbyChristine Bigby, Julie Beadle-Brown

Building on cultural dimensions of underperforming group homes this study analyses culture in better performing services. In depth qualitative case studies were conducted in 3 better group homes using participant observation and interviews. The culture in these homes, reflected in patterns of staff practice and talk, as well as artefacts differed from that found in underperforming services. Formal power holders were undisputed leaders, their values aligned with those of other staff and the organization, responsibility for practice quality was shared enabling teamwork, staff perceived their purpose as "making the life each person wants it to be," working practices were person centered, and new ideas and outsiders were embraced. The culture was characterized as coherent, respectful, "enabling" for residents, and "motivating" for staff. Though it is unclear whether good group homes have a similar culture to better ones the insights from this study provide knowledge to guide service development and evaluation.


This study was funded by an Australian Research Council Discovery grant.


Publication Date



Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities






16p. (p. 316-331)


American Association On Mental Deficiency



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