Social Workers’ Managerial and Administrative Capabilities in Social Work Administration

Subject: Sociology
Pages: 9
Words: 4216
Reading time:
16 min
Study level: PhD


The past decade has seen mounting interest in trying to understand the role of a social worker in management. As such, professional development has become an urgent necessity in the domain of social administration, with a steadily increasing adjustments and violations of business management and general administration being enforced in leadership of organizations and institutions that provide human services.

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This research proposal will focus on what competencies and skills of social work an administrator needs in order to offer planning, controlling, leadership, and organization services in the field of social work as well as other business fields that require marketing and public services. This requires enhancing and activating the roles of a social worker in leading the organizations and institutions of human services to the advantage of social work specialists, schools, and specialized associations, such as unions (Birdsell & Muzzio, 2003).

Developing social worker roles can be achieved by exerting regular efforts for professional development and planning at both individual and institutional levels (Darnon, Buchs & Desbar, 2012). Still, on individual level, the planning of professional future involves developing specific ethical skills for social workers working in the field of administration. The planning of professional future should involve developing specific ethical skills for social workers working in the field of administration.

The process of marketing social work administration and professional development is closely related to the marketing methods employed in the world of business, as the main tool to achieve the goals of professional development on individual and institutional levels (Finn, 2000).

This study applies principles of marketing to the professional development in the administration of social work, which are based on the concepts of the product, the public, and the mutual relationship between them (Darnon, Buchs & Desbar, 2012). This study will survey the distinguishing characteristics of social work administration based on combining social and human knowledge with administration technology, which is surveyed as the basis for a strategy of improving social work practice. Specific examples that are related to the efforts of ethical development will be used to clarify the principles of administration of social work and the strategies that can be applied at both levels (Gibelman & Shervish, 1997).

Significance of problem and rationale for study

Interest in marketing the administrative skills of social workers has gained momentum in recent years. Rapid growth of interest in this area of study has increased competition among various managerial scholars who acquire the ability to deal with a variety of issues and problems at both individual and organization level (Hughes & Avey, 2010). Another factor involves changes in regulations, which allow a social worker and psychological professions to demonstrate their skills in marketing human services, which are needed by consumers. Administration involves a set of consecutive and closely related steps that have a mutual influence which eventually lead to achieving a set of goals (Abo Al-Maati, 2000).

From another perspective, this means that administration underscores the importance of improving human relationships since having sufficient amount of raw materials, a set of machines and devices, and a number of workers do not guarantee a productive project. It is also important to have someone who can set the objectives of the project so that goals can be achieved. That person must also ensure sufficient quantities, quality, properties, beneficiaries, and funding for the production process. All of this involves officials who are in charge of administration so that the institution works and coordinates the efforts of laborers in a way that guarantees high yields from their efforts (Martin, Pine, & Healy, 1999).

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On the other hand, the outcome that the administration aims to achieve is mainly concerned with people’s satisfaction, prosperity, and welfare for society. In other words, it targets a clearer foundation to provide better chances in order to secure better living standards. For the sake of achieving these human aspirations, the administration primarily functions according to laws and criteria of human judgment, and it uses performance methods and approaches that depend on human power (McNutt, 1995).

The reason behind the emphasis on this topic is related to the fact that the practicing of administration requires acquisition of several abilities and skills. Administrators need such skills to help them perform various processes and tasks that require a number of administrative abilities such as planning and coordination. Others include organization, controlling, guidance, leadership, communication, follow-up, and financing. Skills acquisition is an educational adventure. Hence, social workers need a certain threshold of education and, possibly, experience to handle certain tasks (Braye & Preston-Shoot, 2006).

When a social worker obtains these administrative skills and capabilities, can she or he market them in the human institutions other than the traditional ones in the profession of social work? This study will investigate the extent to which managers’ success depends on their knowledge of the basic principles of administration, their experience, or their mastering of the skills and abilities of administration. Additionally, the study will delve into what role managers’ understanding and comprehension of the nature of the work carried out in the institution under their control contributes to their success. This suggests that a person may succeed in the management of a certain company yet fail in another (Wong-Hammond, & Damon, 2013).

The Objectives of this Study

  1. To establish if a social worker’s basic qualifications play a role in the administrative work in the management of an organization.
  2. To establish the challenges faced by a social worker after the assumption of administrative roles in an organization.

Importance of the Study

The importance of this study will be to provide a clarification on the roles of a social worker from an administrative perspective. The study will also point out the importance of having educational skills vis-à-vis having experience of social work. Hence, the study will form a strong foundation on which to analyze the work of a social worker (Rife & Kilty, 1990).

Literature review

There are different concepts surrounding management, yet very few cover management in social work. This part will help in development of the study questions and analyzing relevant literature regarding the topic of social workers. It is imperative to enhance management skills among the social work scholars (Ivory, 2009). As such, it is fundamental to understand the relationship between various elements, which results to the management process. In the first part of this literature review, the study shall focus on understanding the term management and the relationship between, planning and control in an organization (Rouwendal, 2004).

In this case, it is fundamental to understand the full meaning of management and its fundamentals in order to link the management skills with social work curriculum. Management can be defined as the development and preservation of an environment in which individuals, who work jointly in groups, and achieve proficiently selected objectives. In management, most basic elements includes, planning, organization, control and leading.

Control is a course that entails an orderly process through which managers can contrast actual execution with strategies, standards, intentions, and respond appropriately if divergence occurs. Planning on the other hand involves choosing assignments, aims and the action to achieve them. In this part, future processes of action are chosen from different alternatives presented by the situation (Wanberg, Watt & Rumsey, 1996).

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Organization is a process of assigning different tasks to various groups, and hence establishing a relationship between individuals or department, in order to achieve a common goal. In other words, organization is the course through which work is prearranged, subdivisions created and the establishment of relationships. Control guarantees that the organization moves forward towards its objectives by maximizing its assets appropriately in order to obtain maximum profit. Finally, leading is a course of manipulating human behavior to achieve the organization’s goals as well as the objective (Hughes & Avey, 2010).

Control can be equated to power as it involves manipulation of human performance in enterprise activities to achieve a common goal. Such enterprise activities include, policy-making, decision making, development of organization missions and visions as well as objective formulation (Snow, 2012). In other words, control is a dimension and adjustment of implementation in order to make sure that the project objectives and the plans invented to attain them are achieved.

On the other hand, management control can be defined as rational endeavor to set implementation values in line with the planning underlying principles, to design in sequence criticism system, and to compare concrete implementation with those encoded. The aim is to establish whether there are any differences, gauge their consequence, and also to take any deed necessary to guarantee that all business capital are being used in the most victorious ways possible in attaining organizational objectives (Carlsen & Andersson, 2011).

Most organizations apply control strategies to achieve their main goals. This implies that an individual with control management skills can manage an organization. It also implies that a single individual can manipulate various stakeholders or individuals in a given organization to accomplish a given mission. In the management process, control is a final step, which is very vital in ensuring that business runs smoothly in an organization. Now, conflict arises between the social workers and other management bodies such as MBA. MBA scholars argue that the social workers do not have parental role skills in relation to one’s colleagues and hence taking off management task from their faculty (Vinokur & Schul, 2002).

Communication is an essential intermediary, which allows the management to issue orders through a given hierarchy. Good communication skills authorize the manager to assess and implement various objectives within the organization. As such, the person accountable in an organization must implement various communication channels, which allow fast and reliable passage of information (Vinokur & Schul, 2002).

Planning is fundamental in a control process as it forms its basis. In other words, you only control what you have planned. The main aim of controlling is to avoid deviations of core plans in an organization. Control completes the management process of planning, implementation of plans and the achievement of planned objectives. Planning sets standards from which the progress is measured. Inspection is also an essential form of control. It points out weaknesses and discovers areas, which need the attention of the management, ensuring that all objectives are, achieved (Prussia, Fugate & Kinicki, 2001).

There are different forms of control depending on the interest and objectives of the management. They include screening control and steering control. Screening control tends to center on how efforts are efficiently transformed into production, while steering control centers on how proceedings are transformed and screened to identify discrepancies (Edwards, 1998).

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There are two major levels of control. They include strategic and operational control. The top most personnel in an organization often exercise strategic control. It monitors overall effectiveness of the organization, output, as well as the management efficiency. On the other hand, operation control mainly deals with the transformation of products into services (Eden & Aviram, 1993).

The reason this review of the literature has extensively covered major elements of management is to try to establish if social work curriculum offers such skills. Another objective of this management study is to indentify major weaknesses in the social work curriculum from a managerial perspective. According to Vinokur, Schul, Vuori and Price (2000) a manager’s success does not depend on their knowledge. However, the authors conclude, their success is entirely based on control, organization, leading and planning skills, which they apply in their organizations. This implies that a manager may succeed in one company but fail in another organization. Vinokur, Schul, Vuori and Price (2000) dismiss the assumptions that social workers cannot manage an organization as administrators because, apparently, a social worker scholar is usually equipped with planning and control skills, which are fundamental in the management career (Vinokur, Schul, Vuori & Price, 2000).

Identified gaps in the literature

The diagnostic approach suggests that the consultant must understand the purpose, structure, association, management styles, the existing incentives, and other helpful instruments in the department before embarking on the process of solving a problem. The purpose of the organization includes the major missions and goals that must be fulfilled within a specified period (Cummings & Worley, 2009). The structure is the manner in which an institution is organized, including the existing chain of command. The department might be underperforming mainly because of the role assigned to it or the functions that it should carry out.

It is advised that any consultant wishing to resolve any form of conflict using the diagnostic approach must understand the relationships that exist between various stakeholders in the organization. For instance, the relationship between the management and employee is critical in resolving the employee’s issues in the packing and shipping department. In this regard, it must be understood whether individuals work as a team and whether the multi-skilled teams consult each other in offering important services (DeKler, 2007).

Technology is known to influence the successfulness of any organization in the modern globalized market as far as management and administration are concerned, but the reviewed articles do not talk about them. The diagnostic approach suggests that the consultant intending to apply the approach should comprehend the relationship between employees and technology. The issues surrounding the underperformance of the professionals in the field of social work might be related to management; hence, the understanding of the management elements employed in the running of the department is critical.

Research shows that an organization with the ability to apply transformational leadership principles has always performed well in the market. Finally, the best managerial models suggest that the helping mechanisms or the instruments, including work planning, leading, organization, and control ought to be used in trying to identify the problem facing the organization. All the reviewed articles mention nothing related to this fact.

Before embarking on an extensive process of formulating a solution to the research problem, any research ought to make use of accurate data collection instruments in gathering of critical data. Unfortunately, researchers in the reviewed studies use theoretical conclusions, yet empirical information from participants is needed to shed light on the issue at hand (DeKler, 2007).

The data collection methods ought to be quantitative since they follow some of the established standards of scientific research. Based on this, the methods tend to produce valid results that are reliable. Inaccurate results might lead to faulty conclusions, which will go a long way to affect the final decisions (Sullivan, 2010). The use of structured data collection and measuring instruments, including fixed-choice questionnaire in this case are more appropriate as much as qualitative methods may arrive at similar conclusions. Moreover, the reviewed articles do not make use of standard coding scheme that can perhaps be the most suitable method, even though its structuring is challenging (Neugeborn, 1990).

Statement of research question

  1. What is the relationship between the educational background, management, control, planning, and leadership in the administrative responsibilities?
  2. Is it possible for a social worker to discharge administrative duties to an organization? If yes, what challenges will s/he face?

Research Methodology

The proposed research aims at measuring and testing a social workers’ application of educational background to management and administrative work in a job setting. The educational background, age, gender, educational institution, and years of experience of each of the social workers will be studied and a statistical factor analysis conducted between the above named factors and to determine their application on the management of professional institutions. The sample data will come from social and human non-profit agencies and other non-traditional human agencies not affiliated with social work.

The research will employ a quantitative study design, with empirical and inferential measures of the study population, and study sample. The data collection methods will mainly be interviews and questionnaires. The study will employ correlation analysis to make sense of the data.

Proposed research design and procedure

The proposed research to measure the social workers’ perceptions of the management of professional institutions will be based on quantitative data. Numerical and statistical analyses are necessary in measuring the perceptions. The quantitative research approach covers a broad range of analysis. Quantitative research enables descriptive analysis and correlation analysis, which are relevant to this study. Quantitative research enables studies in large populations, where a sample represents the whole population to a certain degree of certainty. A quantitative study is a systematic approach that works towards giving answers to the research questions, research objectives and paves the way to test the research hypotheses.

The research procedure will comprise of a logical flow of events as soon as the start of the study period clicks. A pilot survey will measure the viability of the questionnaire. The pilot survey will investigate the validity of the questions and their appropriateness to the subject of study, their logical sequence, and their grammatical formation. If need be, there will be various amendments to the questionnaire, and thereafter, the researcher will collect the necessary data. Analysis of the data, interpretation, and report writing will follow. Finally, the research will present the findings of the research report.

Sampling design and description of proposed sample

This study targets the social workers. It seeks to analyze their perceptions of their capabilities in the managerial and administrative positions. While there are many non-profit agencies in Lexington, Kentucky, only those agencies that will cooperate will take part in the study. The respondents of the study will comprise of randomly selected samples, where the samples will comprise of social workers who have at least a bachelor’s degree in social work.

However, the random selection will be subject to an agency allowing the researcher to conduct the research. Social workers with a higher learning degree from a social work program will also be considered in taking part in the study. Participation in the study will be independent of the social worker’s current position or job description, as long as they serve in the domain of non-profit social or human agencies and have the least educational level mentioned,.

The sampling technique to be used is probability sampling. This type of sampling employs randomization, whereby, every respondent has an equal chance of selection to take part in the survey. The technique is reliable as it easy because the researcher only studies a sample to make inferences of the whole population. The probability sampling technique has the capacity to accommodate statistical methods to measure the level of precision of the data obtained.

The size of the study population and the given precision level are the two factors that determine the sample size in the probability sampling technique. The probability sampling design is more of a snowball design. However, probability sampling has one major disadvantage. It never gives accurate data because of the generalized data from representative samples. Probability sampling gives statistical data that has many assumptions and is bound to errors. Though the sample size is tentative, I anticipate having a sample size of 126 respondents.

Description of the plan to protect human subjects

It is evident that respondents may hesitate to participate in the study because of the fear to reveal some confidential information. To combat this, a brief introductory letter will be attached to every questionnaire. The topic of study and the general information regarding the study is briefly explained in the introductory letter. Contact details are given in the letter, just in case the respondents have queries about the research questions.

The researcher will inform participants of the study, its purpose, relevant explanations, procedures and the duration. The respondents are informed of how the research would benefit them and the general risks of participating, if any. The researcher should inform the respondents that the study does not examine personal related issues, but simply human perceptions. The respondents should be made aware that the study is not bothersome, as it only requires some few minutes of their time.

Secondly, the data collection instrument is constructed in a polite manner towards the participants, but to grasp the necessary information. No part of the questionnaire will require participants to provide any personal information such as names, social security numbers, or personal contact information. The respondents will give any information that would raise potential concerns or risks at their own will. An open space titled “any other information” at the end of the questionnaire will give the respondents a chance to speak out their feeling. However, the information will be treated with utmost confidentiality. Respondents should participate in the study voluntarily. The respondents are informed that refusal to participate has no penalty.

Description of data collection instruments and procedures

The whole study will be comprehensive. The researcher will collect the necessary data in a span of three months. The data collection instrument is a questionnaire. The questionnaire contains 33 questions, seven of which seek preliminary data such as age, gender, occupation, educational degree, and the learning institution. The rest of the questions are Likert Scale questions, whereby, the respondents are to agree strongly, agree, not respond, object, or strongly object a pre-defined statement. The class instructor and colleagues will investigate the logicalness, truthfulness, and the direct relevance of questions to the set objectives.

A pilot survey will determine if the questionnaire needs amendments or not. The researcher will distribute the questionnaires and provide the relevant information to the respondents. Phone follow-ups to help those in need of clarification and explanations are essential after distributing the questionnaire. There is a need to remind respondents to fill the questionnaires as well as thank those who have duly filled the questionnaire. This will continue until the completion of the data collection exercise. To protect confidentiality, the researcher will state categorically on the research questionnaire the intention to do that. Additionally, the researcher will seek the customer consent for any use apart from academic purposes, if need be.

The variables of study are either dependent or independent. The Independent variables comprise of the age, gender, educational degree, years of experience, and the current position of the respondent. On the other hand, the dependent variable is the social works’ perceptions on the management of professional institution. The researcher can obtain data of the independent variables from the duly filled questionnaires. After a statistical analysis, it would be possible to conclude whether the respondent’s perceptions on the management of professional institution are dependent on the various independent variables.

Data analysis

The Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS version 21) will be used in the data analysis exercise. Descriptive data for the independent variables will give a concise view of the participants. Factor analysis of the leaker-scale data will bring out the strength of the opinions of the various responses. Thereafter, a Pearson’s correlation analysis will seek to investigate the existence of a relationship between the dependent and the independent variables. The correlations would seek to measure if social works’ perceptions on the management of professional institution were dependent on the age, gender, educational degree, years of experience, or the current position of the respondent.

Significance of the research and conclusions

It is evident that various perceptions exist in defining the management and administrative skills. Social workers have reportedly doubted their managerial and administrative skills (Abo Al-Maati, 2000), where, they feel that they do not have what it takes to lead professional institutions. This study is very significant in determining the underlying reasoning for the various perceptions. At the end of the research, the researcher will interpret the various reasoning for the social workers’ managerial and administrative capabilities in the domain of social work administration.


The study will culminate in discussion of the results with relation to literature review and the research findings of this and other studies. The discussion will also feature study problems and difficulties. This may include the difficult nature of obtaining information, the reluctance of institutions to allow employees to participate in the study, among others.

In this section, the researcher will also discuss possibility of furthering research in this field by focusing on other aspects not in this research. For example, the researcher may propose a situation where future studies will focus on the implication of a social worker’s educational level on administration duties in an organization.

Importance of education in human capital formation is subject to debate in formulating education policies. The influence of globalization, impact of conflict on education, performance measurements for the various stages in education and knowledge transfer with the aim of creating a knowledge economy form the basis of discussion in instilling lifelong learning and forming human capital. Governments have had structures to link education to the labor market for a long time. The study will reiterate these using six points of view regarding the informing nature of economies and labor market demands on education. Political and economic efficiency of the production process of education are critical to its success.

Although globalization centers on policymaking in divulging knowledge, the study is likely to digress. The study will argue that universities’ adherence to Lifelong Learning is hampered, to some extent, by national policies, academic traditions and financial pressures. The manner in which international discourse on Lifelong Learning affects policy-making remains vague and subject to the above factors. A critical elucidation on the massive opportunities and threats that globalization and embracing of ICT has brought to human capital formation and policy formulation. A comparison of knowledge societies and knowledge economies of developing nations and developed nations. Developed nations pursue knowledge economies, which is the basis for comparative advantage.


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