The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program is designed to help needy families achieve self-sufficiency by providing cash assistance and promoting job preparation, work, marriage, and two-parent families. States receive block grants from the federal government to design and operate TANF cash assistance programs in addition to other benefits and services that promote these goals. Given the flexibility of TANF, states vary in how they implement their TANF programs locally. In addition to local policies and procedures, the organizational culture of local TANF offices may also affect how TANF policies are implemented and how staff and clients experience the program. Aside from the robust literature focused on theoretical approaches to defining, measuring, or assessing organizational culture, generally, and some qualitative studies examining organizational culture’s role in local TANF programs following welfare reform in 1996, specifically, little has been documented about what TANF agencies have done to promote or change their organizational cultures to support positive outcomes for clients, staff, and agencies.
This literature review is part of the Understanding Poverty: TANF Office Culture study sponsored by the Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation in the Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The study includes site visits to local TANF programs to identify promising practices and to understand how agencies have implemented efforts to improve organizational culture. (Author abstract)