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Article

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.

Article

Rukshan Fernando

Social enterprise is a management practice that integrates principles of private enterprise with social sector goals and objectives. Social enterprise is a relatively new type of social work macro practice and includes a variety of sustainable economic activities designed to yield social impact for individuals, families, and communities. Despite the increased popularity of social enterprise scholarship, social work is visibly absent from it. Social enterprise is a field that promises to harness the energy and enthusiasm of commercial entrepreneurship combined with macro practice to address many long-standing social issues. Despite being a popular practice phenomenon, empirical research on social enterprise is still quite nascent, indeed: only a few empirical articles on the subject have thus far appeared in academic journals, and even fewer in social work journals. This article provides an overview of social enterprise, and the potential for synergy between social enterprise, the social work profession, and education.

Article

Jill Doner Kagle

Social workers keep records to demonstrate accountability to their agencies, clients, communities, and profession. They also record to enhance practice and support a variety of administrative functions. This entry describes the history of recordkeeping in social work, and identifies important contributions to its development. The author discusses current issues related to computerization, wide access to sensitive personal information in records, and privacy legislation. The entry also outlines the characteristics of good records, those that meet the complex demands of contemporary practice.

Article

Frederic G. Reamer

Digital, online, and other electronic technology has transformed the nature of social work practice and education. Contemporary social workers can provide services to clients through online counseling, telephone counseling, video counseling, cybertherapy (avatar therapy), self-guided web-based interventions, electronic social networks, e-mail, and text messages. In addition, increasing numbers of social work education programs are using distance education technology to teach their students. Social work administrators store electronic records in the “cloud” and community organizers use online social networking sites to facilitate their work. The introduction of diverse digital, online, and other forms of electronic social services has created a wide range of complex ethical and related risk management issues. This article provides an overview of current technology used in social work, identifies compelling ethical issues, and explores risk management issues. The author identifies relevant standards from the National Association of Social Workers Code of Ethics; model regulatory standards adopted by the Association of Social Work Boards; and practice standards adopted jointly by the National Association of Social Workers, Association of Social Work Boards, Council on Social Work Education, and Clinical Social Work Association

Article

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.

Article

Darlyne Bailey, Kimberly B. Bonner, Katrina M. Uhly, and Jessica S. Wilen

The concept of leadership has evolved from focusing on innate abilities, to learned skills, to understanding that leadership is composed of both skills and abilities. Recently, theorists and practitioners have identified elements of effective leadership within social work organizations. These areas of knowledge, skills, and values encourage social work leaders to recognize their organizations as living systems within an interdependent world and aid them in connecting humanistic intentions with effects. Both acknowledgment and enactment of these leadership competencies are essential for all organizational members to engage in effective dialogue and action. Social workers, regardless of their organizational titles, can learn and hone these qualities in social work training programs and continuing professional development opportunities, as well as through practical field experiences for effective leadership in the field.

Article

Gary M. Bess, James J. Kelly, James B. Macdonald, and James J. Woolever

Theorists have struggled with a myriad of definitions of leadership, as well as trait, behavioral, and situational leadership models. They have identified leadership types from transformational and charismatic to motivational. There has been much speculation and some study of the traits and characteristics of effective leaders, as well as effective leadership styles, abilities, and practices. Social work theorists have contributed to this field by identifying the critical and unique characteristics of social work leadership, such as adherence to social work norms and orientation to the needs of disadvantaged groups. Today, social workers build on leadership theories and utilize emerging technologies for creating tomorrow’s leaders through practices, such as formal training, coaching, mentoring, and peer networking. There has always been—and will be—a critical need for leadership in health and human services fields, as well as other endeavors, such as military social work, where social work practices contribute to optimal benefit for individuals and institutions. Indeed, leadership development can be viewed from two perspectives: the individual and the organizational. From the individual perspective, while innate leadership skills may be present, it is also learned, and it begins with a critical assessment of the individual’s strengths and limitations, as well as resources for professional growth. From an organizational perspective, there are also numerous views on how things get done and the role of the leader as a changemaker. After an overview of leadership from a definitional and early models’ discussion, a transition to social work leadership takes place, comparing and contrasting its tenets with conventional leadership literature in the context of health and human services organizations, and the unique requirements and skills for social work leaders across a range of employment venues, including increasing numbers of social work-trained officers in the military. Observations are made concerning the future of social work practice.

Article

Roger A. Lohmann

The management of finances in human service organizations has undergone a quiet revolution in the past three decades. This has included a complete and coordinated theory and practice of accounting, a still-incomplete theory and evolving set of practices in budgeting, and the accumulation of an expanding set of analytical tools and methods that reach well beyond what most human service organizations currently use. The new financial management paradigm is a model of the human service enterprise that is sufficiently robust and dynamic to encompass financial management practices in public, nonprofit, and private enterprises and to provide a platform for confronting privilege and challenging oppression.

Article

Michàlle E. Mor Barak and Dnika J. Travis

Human resource management (HRM) refers to the design of formal systems that ensure effective and efficient use of human talent and serves as a vehicle for achieving organizational mission and goals. Effective HRM requires applying the same person-in-environment value orientation that guides client services to managing human resources and is critical in today’s economic, legal, cultural, and technological landscape. We are experiencing unparalleled change, uncertainty, and, in some contexts, upheaval in communities locally, nationally, and across the globe. These challenges create demands on the social service workforce to adeptly and rapidly innovate, provide quality services, and meet client and community needs. Centered on promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion, we have developed an organizing HRM framework in three areas: (a) employee development, (b) employee value proposition and experience, and (c) future directions for inclusive and equitable workplaces.

Article

Maria Roberts-DeGennaro

A generic set of case management functions are performed in most practice settings. To improve outcomes within a complex service delivery system, case managers need to collaboratively work with clients and care providers. By incorporating the paradigm of evidence-based practice, case managers can improve decision making through integrating their practice expertise with the best available evidence, and by considering the characteristics, circumstances, values, preferences, and expectations of clients, as well as their involvement in the decision making.

Article

J. Christopher Hall, Robert Blundo, and Kristin W. Bolton

The strengths perspective represents a paradigmatic shift away from problem-focused approaches to social work practice. A strengths-based approach provides a helping foundation for clients and emphasizes personal growth, empowerment, and coping skills based on ideals that focus on strengths instead of pathology. The strengths perspective can be integrated into social work practice through strengths-based frameworks. Of particular interest is the infusion of a strengths-based framework into case management. Common themes of exploration for strengths-based casework include: case manager role, client-case manager relationship, client perceptions, and outcomes of strengths-based case management.

Article

Sadye L. M. Logan

David M. Austin (1923–2008), who served as Bert Kruger Smith Centennial Professor at the University of Texas at Austin School of Social Work (now University of Texas at Austin Steve Hicks School of Social Work), has left an outstanding legacy in the students and colleagues whom he has mentored and inspired. He was a tireless leader, practical researcher, and brilliant scholar in the field of social work.

Article

Thomas Packard

Human service organizations (HSOs) continue to face significant challenges to improve performance and the quality of working life for employees. Planned organizational change can help HSOs meet these challenges through the use of evidence-based tactics and methods ranging from team building and organizational redesign to implementation science. While organizational change is a dynamic rather than a liner process, a phase model can provide valuable structure. Organizational leaders or other potential change agents typically begin by identifying a change need or opportunity and creating a change goal that describes a desired future state. Initial assessments of the problem should include assessment of the organization’s and its leaders’ readiness and capacity for change. Implementation tactics include creating a sense of urgency and communicating the change vision and plan for implementation. Developing and maintaining support for the process are ongoing. An action system for implementing the change initiative should include representatives from throughout the organization. Provisions should be made for team building and conflict resolution. Widespread staff participation in activities including problem solving groups enhances staff commitment and improves the quality of the change results through the expertise that employees bring to the process. Action planning and monitoring systems can track progress and identify emerging concerns to address. Progress on the change process should be regularly and fully communicated to all employees. Agreed upon changes should be institutionalized through new policies and procedures, staff training, and organizational culture changes. All changes made should be evaluated to assess success and identify future change opportunities.

Article

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.

Article

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.

Article

Leora Shudofsky and Amanda Matteson

This article presents an overview of veteran services, including the definition of a veteran as it relates to eligibility for services and a range of veteran services are described. Background information includes a brief history of social workers in the military and in veteran services. Social workers practice in many macrolevel areas where social justice issues in veteran services are addressed, such as administration and management, community practice, and policy. Social workers who understand the challenges and trends in veteran services are better positioned to make an impact. Future implications for macro social work practice include integrating curriculum into schools of social work, building transition programs, collaborating in community health, normalizing mental health treatment, and working on policy enactment along with many other areas where social workers can make an impact on the well-being of veteran communities.