This article examines churning as it manifests in organizational systems within the human services. Churning is conceptualized as a four-part iterative process consisting of (1) an intentional or unintentional initiative or shock to a system that (2) results in enhanced turbulence as adaptive capacities of the system fail to match demands of the initiative. This mismatch leads to successive bifurcations and termination of relationships between agents within the system and, finally, (3) the selection of “winners” and the extrusion of “losers” from the system and (4) the subsequent reorganization of winners and losers. Variables governing outcomes, both benign and malignant, are also discussed.



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