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How leaders in day service organisations understand service quality

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journal contribution
posted on 01.12.2021, 03:35 by Jade McEwen, Christine BigbyChristine Bigby, Jacinta DouglasJacinta Douglas
Organisations for people with intellectual disabilities must comply with regulatory quality standards written by Australian governments. Standards are abstract and predominantly focus on paperwork and processes. In thinking about service quality, organisational leaders must decide where to focus their efforts and whether to look beyond compliance issues. This study aimed to identify how leaders in day-service organisations for people with intellectual disabilities perceived and monitored service quality, and what they thought influenced quality in their services. Using a constructivist grounded theory methodology, semi-structured interviews were conducted with eight leaders from three day-service organisations in Victoria, Australia. Interviews were recorded, transcribed, and thematically analysed using constant comparison and line-by-line coding. Overall, the leaders had two contrasting approaches to quality in their organisations. Four had a “process compliance” approach and the other four a “service user’s experience of support” approach. These two approaches to service quality mirrored the tensions between the process compliance approach used by Australian governments to regulate the quality of services provided to people with intellectual disabilities, and an approach preferred by researchers, which argues the importance of judging quality through observation of service users’ experience of support. Consideration should be given to merging these approaches and creating indicators that incorporate both observation and process review methods.


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Research and Practice in Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities








Taylor & Francis



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© 2021 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License (, which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, and is not altered, transformed, or built upon in any way.

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