Dr. Hasenfeld's research focuses on the dynamic relations between social welfare policies, the organizations that implement these policies and the people who use their services. The study of these relations enables policy makers and practitioners to understand how social welfare policies and services are actually delivered by workers and experienced by clients, and the resulting impact the policies have on the well-being of their recipients.
Prof. Hasenfeld has done theoretical and empirical research in conceptualizing human service organizations and applying organizational theory to understand their structural features. He has explored the strategies these organizations use to relate and adapt to their environment; how these affect their internal structures and services; how they structure the relations between staff and clients; and the consequences of these relations on clients' well-being. In recent years, his research has focused on the implementation of welfare reform, especially the ideological, political and economic processes that have shaped it. He has studied the changes in the organization of welfare departments, and how such changes have affected the relations between workers and recipients. Currently, he is studying the role of non-profit organizations in the provision of social services. He has recently completed an analysis of the impact of welfare reform.