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Management: Overview  

Bruce Friedman

This entry provides a broad introduction to management or administration, one of the methods of practice employed by social workers to achieve professional and organizational objectives. The contributions of management to the human services, the history of administration as a practice in social work, and the evolution of education for management are traced. Practitioners define management’s roles and functions and also address the theoretical perspectives related to the performance of managing others. Finally, significant issues and likely future developments in this field are reviewed.


Management: Practice Interventions  

Kristina Jaskyte

Human service management practices encompass informed and skillful responses to internal and external demands that human service organizations face. In this entry, the author reviews extra-organizational and intra-organizational management interventions that are described in the prescriptive as well as empirically based literature as promoting human service organizations’ effectiveness, responsiveness to clients, and innovation. Obtaining support, forming partnerships, and managing stakeholders constitute major areas for extraorganizational practices. Among the most often discussed targets for intraorganizational management interventions are leadership practices, board practices, organizational culture, culture and climate change strategies, creating a culture of empowerment, organizational structure, talent management, creating a trauma-informed work environment, evidence-based management, and diversity and inclusion management.


Managerial Supervision  

John E. Tropman

Supervision is an important life skill with many applications, all of which involve the provision of helpful guidance to others. Guidance may come in the form of encouraging self-realization or the explanation of specific procedures. Generally, supervisory encounters involve one or two issues or their combination: counseling problems and coaching problems, broadly conceived. Counseling problems involve issues of attitude, more or less. Coaching problems involve issues of information. A supervisory framework includes the identification of stairs of supervisee competence: novice, beginner, competent, proficient, expert, master, and maestro (a master who can motivate others and blend the individual skills into a larger collective product) (Dreyfus & Dreyfus, 1986). Each stair, or stage, has its own "flow chart," where the complexity of tasks is matched by the level of competence. When the supervisee gets to 8/9 or 9/9, it is time to move to the next level. Supervisors need to know the six supervisory competencies: professional supervision (clinical/educational), managerial, supportive, career development, reflective supervision, and coaching. Being well supervised helps the supervisee be a better supervisor. There are several guidelines to follow to be a good supervisor: Consider what makes a supervisor “great” or a supervisor “awful” and apply what is learned to one’s supervisory practice. Organize each upcoming supervisory meeting and plan an agenda for it. It is helpful to be aware of “wicked problems” (which are multisided and complex, and often without simple resolution). Know the difference between professional work and emotion work, and between formal and informal managerial supervision. Finally, consider 19 common supervisory questions and suggestions.


Marriage and Healthy Relationship Intervention  

Colita Nichols Fairfax

Marriage remains a central institution among all races and ethnic groups. Legalized marriages have become an important aspect of family life among LGBTQIA (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning, or intersex, asexual or allied) community. Given the cultural significance that marriages underscore in all communities, applied social scientists should have access to the most appropriate and affirming interventions. By having knowledge about and access to a wealth of marital interventions, social workers, family therapists, community developers, counselors will be empowered to attend to the needs of couples who desire to experience purposeful marriages. This in turn will strengthen family and community life for all who value intimacy. This article explores a brief history of marriage in America, specifics with regards to cultural groups, and a variety of interventions that may be reproduced in best practice approaches from a conflict theory lens.


Media Campaigns  

Gail Woods Waller

The explosion of global media platforms and user-generated content has fundamentally changed the way people receive and share information. All organizations—whether corporate, government, or nonprofit—now function as media outlets for their constituents. Yet citizens have more power than ever to shape and filter the type of information they see, read, and hear, which creates greater political divisions, increases distrust in institutions, and ensures highly individualized media consumption. In this new environment, successful media campaigns for cause advocacy, branding, marketing, and public relations require culturally relevant messaging, multichannel integration, and targeted digital engagement.


Meeting Management and Decision-Making  

John E. Tropman

Many CEOs and other top-level managers spend over half of their time in meetings. There are several ways to address meetings that can make them more productive and useful. “Meeting Masters” create such useful groups and sustain enthusiasm in them over considerable periods of time. “Decision Maestros” then build high-quality decisions from these productive meetings. Codifying this successful work requires a new vocabulary (decision elements, rounds of discussion, decision crystallization). This language is then applied to selected moments in the meeting process. The ideas and techniques presented here are intended to assist nonprofit managers to move toward improved meetings and better decision-making.


Men: Practice Interventions  

Robert Blundo

A consistent theme for the majority of men in the United States remains the code of manhood. Men are expected by society to be stoic in the face of danger and to play out, in all aspects of life, the idea of the rugged individual going it alone, even in the face of a quickly changing world. Whereas social-work theorists and practitioners talk about male aggression, sexuality, intimacy, depression, anxiety, addiction, ageing, and work-related concerns, most men are less likely to view these as problems. If they do enter into counseling or treatment, they are less likely to remain for any length of time. Faced with these issues, practitioners are challenged to find ways of engaging men and forming successful collaboration and meaningful outcomes.


Migrant Workers  

Richard Wolff and Karen Dodge

This entry discusses migrant workers in the United States and the unique circumstances and conditions they face. Included in the discussion are social problems faced by migrants with respect to health, housing, working conditions, child labor, and education. Policy issues are addressed, including relevant national, international, and corporate laws. Migrant patterns, demographics, and definitions are presented. Finally, social work programs, responses, and interventions are identified.


Mutual Aid Societies  

Susheelabai R. Srinivasa, Sudershan Pasupuleti, and Ram Shepherd Bheenaveni

Mutual aid societies, associations, and groups (MASAGs) are typical representations of the human spirit of cooperation and mutual help that characterized the evolution of human societies across civilizations and nations. These social entities are instrumental in bringing people together with common interests and needs to engage in mutually beneficial pursuits, relationships, and exchanges resulting in enduring benefits to the members and larger society. Mutual aid societies are member-led, member-organized, nonsectarian, and nonhierarchical voluntary social entities for mutual interests, mutual help, and empowerment. MASAGs are social inventions that have transformed and empowered members individually and collectively, with far-reaching spiraling effects on their families, social networks, communities, and societies throughout the world.


Native Americans Overview  

Hilary N. Weaver

First Nations Peoples, the original inhabitants of what is now the United States, are a diverse and growing population. There are approximately 5.2 million First Nations Peoples within the boundaries of the United States. First Nations Peoples tend to be younger, poorer, and less educated than others in the United States. The contemporary issues faced by these Peoples are intimately intertwined with the history of colonization and federal policies that perpetuate dependency and undermine self-determination. Social workers must overcome the negative history of their profession with First Nations Peoples, in particular social work involvement in extensive child removals and coercive sterilization of Indigenous women. Social workers have the power and ability to make important differences in enhancing the social, economic, and health status of First Nations Peoples, but this must begin with an awareness of their own attitudes and beliefs, as well as an awareness of how social workers have contributed to, rather than worked to alleviate, the problems of First Nations Peoples.


Neoliberal Managerialism and the Human Services  

Mimi Abramovitz and Jennifer Zelnick

Neoliberalism emerged in the United States in the mid-1970s in response to the second economic crisis of the 20th century. Seeking to undo the New Deal enacted in response to the 1930s economic collapse, neoliberalism redistributes income upward and downsizes the state using tax cuts, budget cuts, privatization, devolution, and reducing the power of social movements. Privatization, a key neoliberal strategy, is typically understood as shifting responsibility for entitlement programs such as Social Security or Medicare from public to the private sector. Managerialism (i.e., the adoption of business principle and practices) refers to operationalization privatization within human service agencies. The growing dominance of managerialist productivity, accountability efficiency, and standardization has redefined the landscape of the human services The troubling impact on service provision, working conditions, and the well-being of human service workers leads us to ask if the social work mission will become a casualty of managerialism.


Organizational Governance  

Mindy R. Wertheimer

Most human service organizations are identified by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service as charitable nonprofits, designated as 501c3 organizations. They are overseen by governing boards, which ensure that all the activities of the organization contribute to advancing its mission while it remains accountable to stakeholders.


Organizational Learning  

Yekutiel Sabah and Patricia Cook-Craig

The professional commitment of practitioners in a changing society requires them to continuously acquire new professional knowledge. Since robust and relevant knowledge is often in short supply, practitioners must learn to acquire the knowledge they need. Similarly, social agencies must become institutions that support the use of available knowledge and the development of practice innovations. Organizational learning is a means of engaging in this process. This implies that social agencies both adopt an organizational culture and create structural arrangements conducive to learning. In order to successfully create such a culture and structure, it is first important to understand the philosophical, conceptual, and methodological underpinnings of organizational learning as a strategy for guiding practitioners and organizations in a systematic endeavor to invent and manage knowledge. In addition a methodology for the application of organizational learning in social services is essential to practical application. The use of organizational learning methods to drive innovation and knowledge management has been applied in a varied spectrum of social work practice areas and social welfare agencies.


Organizational Wellness  

Erlene Grise-Owens, J. Jay Miller, and Larry W. Owens

The profession of social work increasingly experiences the damaging impact of professional burnout, staff turnover, and compromised services. Organizational wellness involves planful efforts to address these concerns and promote employee well-being. A rationale for organizational wellness is articulated, including its value for social work. The evolving paradigm of a holistic, systemic approach to organizational wellness is then discussed. Next, how social work is ideally situated to lead organizational wellness efforts is detailed as an arena of macro practice and as providing a framework for designing and developing an organizational wellness culture. Using social work competencies, social workers can use this framework to provide leadership in conceptualizing, planning, implementing, evaluating, and sustaining organizational wellness. Further critical considerations underscore how this leadership promotes the profession’s mission, supports the profession’s viability, and establishes a vital arena for ongoing macro practice.


Pandemics and Social Work  

Sangeun Lee

A pandemic contains three key components: extensiveness, novelty, and severity. For the past century, humankind experienced the Spanish flu in 1918 and COVID-19 in 2020 as major pandemics. The global impact has been extensive in terms of their origin, international transmission, and mortality rates. Public health measures to slow and stop pandemics have been implemented. During the COVID-19 pandemic, disparate impacts on health in different populations have been witnessed due to existing social inequalities, detriments of health, and structured racism. The interests of social workers have been adversely impacted in those pandemic times. Spanish flu bolstered social work with a professional presence. COVID-19 has confirmed the need for community engagement and community development to follow large-scale social policy reforms as a response to the disproportionate impact on diverse marginalized communities, which is the core of macro social work practice and would be more strongly called on to prepare for future pandemics.



Charles D. Cowger

This entry discusses the relationship of war and peace to social work practice. The historic and current mandate for social workers to work for peace is presented. The inevitable tie of war to everyday social work practice is described, and the relationship between social justice and peace is illustrated.


Philanthropic Foundations  

Marcus Lam and Helmut K. Anheier

Foundations are private institutions for public benefit. With a long history that reaches back to antiquity, inside the United States and globally, foundations are a growing organizational form that policy makers increasingly view with both potential (as a source of private funds to complement government services) and caution (given their autonomy and low level of accountability). Alongside the rise in commerce and finance, foundations experienced an initial growth period in the late Middle Ages and a second in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, following the Industrial Revolution. Political stability, an increase in demand for social, educational, and cultural services of all kinds, and economic prosperity are certainly significant factors behind this growth. Since the dawn of the 21st century, foundations have remained the primary legal structure through which newly minted and emerging wealthy individuals practice their philanthropy. The foundation form, or some similar iteration, is growing not just in many Western democratic countries but even in communist and other political regimes such as China and Russia. The reason for this growth is the way in which foundations have been envisioned as instruments of welfare state reform in the broadest sense. This growth implies a more important role for foundations as providers of relief to those most in need, protectors of traditional institutions and the status quo, and, to a lesser extent, as change agents. In particular, this is apparent among the “new philanthropists” of the 21st century, drawn from technology entrepreneurs, who are more actively engaged in public policy.


Philanthropic Funding for Human Services  

Kirsten A. Grønbjerg

Of the 1.75 million tax-exempt organizations registered with the Internal Revenue Service in April 2020, about one-third are human service nonprofits, including about 267,000 charities with about $371 billion in total combined revenues. In 2019, human service public charities (excluding private foundations) received an estimated $56 billion in charitable contributions. This represents 12% of all charitable contributions, and is about 21% of the combined revenues reported by the almost 270,000 registered human service public charities reporting financial information. While government funding is a major driving force for human service charities, philanthropic funding clearly is important as well. Securing such funding requires solid understanding of the fundraising process and dedicated time and effort. However, competition for donations (and fundraising expertise) appears to be growing across the board, with donations from individuals, United Way, and corporate contributions most at risk for human service charities. These trends in philanthropic funding reflect growing income inequality, which also impacts the scope and types of human services needed and is complicated even further by persistent racial disparities.



Jerry D. Marx

Philanthropy can be defined as the voluntary effort to increase the well-being of humankind. It includes the giving of money, time, or other resources to charitable organizations. Philanthropy is especially important in the United States, because of the nation's emphasis on private initiative and minimal government in promoting societal well-being. The profession of social work has its roots in the development of a more scientific approach to philanthropy. In the aftermath of the Great Recession of 2008, social workers have faced increased challenges in soliciting donations to human service charities.


Police Social Work  

Rosemary Alamo and Rick Ornelas

Police social workers are professionally trained social workers or individuals with related academic degrees employed within police departments or social service agencies who receive referrals primarily from police officers. Their primary functions are to provide direct services such as crisis counseling and mediation to individuals and families experiencing social problems such as mental illness, alcohol and substance use and abuse, domestic violence, and child abuse, among others. Additional functions of police social workers are mezzo and macro related and include training police officers in stress management, mental illness, substance abuse, domestic violence, and child abuse; providing consultation and counseling to police officers and their families; program planning, development, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation; grant writing; legislative advocacy; and community and organizational needs assessment. Essentially, police social workers influence laws, legislation, policies, and practices that impact individuals, families, groups, law enforcement, organizations, and communities.