Reflections of newly qualified social workers on the execution of their management tasks in non-government organisations

Mtombeni, Tirelo Esther (2021-03)

Thesis (MA)--Stellenbosch University, 2021.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Social welfare organisations, both nationally and internationally are faced with the challenging task of adapting and converging to a socio-economic policy agenda as a result of global neoliberal reform. Due to socio-economic policy changes and expectations resulting from neoliberalism, social welfare organisations are shifting away from their traditional philanthropic ideology towards operating from business principles of cost-efficiency and management. The influence of neoliberalism within the social welfare context has been documented by various scholars. However, while research has identified the impact of neoliberal managerialism on social work practice, there has been little to no effort in exploring this from the perspective of newly qualified social workers (NQSWs), who are being increasingly expected to demonstrate management knowledge, skills, and capabilities in order to meet organisational targets. This study attempts to identify and explore the execution of various management tasks from the perspective of NQSWs in order to gain an understanding of what management tasks are expected, and how these tasks are executed by NQSWs. The study was particularly interested in the execution of time management, workload management, human resource management, financial management, risk management, change management and programme management as key tasks for the NQSW. The study approach was qualitative and interpretivist, adopting an exploratory and descriptive research design. Through a combined purposive and snowball sampling approach, fifteen NQSW participants from various non-governmental welfare organisations in the country participated in the data collection process by means of a semi-structured interview; due to COVID-19 restrictions, these interviews were conducted telephonically. Data was analysed thematic analysis and pattern matching was used for verification. The key findings indicate that NQSWs execute several important management tasks despite not necessarily being occupants of specific levels of management. The findings further indicate that NQSWs execute these management tasks over and above their frontline intervention responsibility. It is often in the process of rendering services that NQSWs find themselves executing specific management tasks. Participants identified several challenges in this informal management role The recommendations with respect to the findings is that, regardless of one’s position on neoliberal management influence within the welfare context, this is a reality for up-and-coming social workers; training institutions would benefit from integrating management training into the curriculum, adopting a combined bureaucratic and empowerment management approach, that enables social workers to function in a neoliberal environment while retaining the values of the profession. Training institutions and NGOs needs to synchronise the preparation process with the expectations of practice within the work environment in order to ensure optimal performance of these tasks by NQSWs which is equally not at the expense of rendering effective services to the client system.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Maatskaplike welsynsorganisasies, beide nasionaal en internasionaal, word deur uitdagings in die gesig gestaar om aan te pas en om te skakel na ʼn sosio-ekonomiese beleidsagenda as ʼn resultaat van globale neoliberale hervorming. Vanweë sosio-politieke veranderinge en verwaginge as gevolg van neoliberalisme, beweeg maatskaplike welsynsorganisasies weg van hulle tradisionele filantropiese ideologie na die benutting van besigheidsbeginsels van koste- effektiewe bestuur. Die invloed van neoliberalisme op die maatskaplike welsynskonteks is deur verskeie outeurs gedokumenteer. Nieteenstaande, terwyl navorsing die impak van ʼn neoliberale bestuursgerigte maatskaplike werk identifiseer, is daar min tot geen eksplorering gedoen oor hierdie perspektief van nuutgekwalifiseerde maatskaplike werkers nie, van wie dit toenemend verwag word om bestuurskennis, vaardighede en vermoëns te demonstreer ten einde organisasieteikens te bereik. Hierdie studie beoog om die uitvoering van verskeie bestuurstake vanaf die perspektief van nuutgekwalifiseerde maatskaplike werkers te identifiseer en te eksploreer, ten einde ʼn begrip te verkry oor wat van bestuurstake verwag word, en hoe hierdie take deur nuut gekwalifiseerde maatskaplike werkers uitgevoer word. Die studie is spesifiek geïnteresseerd in die uitvoering van tydsbestuur, werkladingsbestuur, menslike hulpbronnebestuur, finansiële bestuur, risikobestuur, veranderingsbestuur en programbestuur as sleuteltake van die nuutgekwalifiseerde maatskaplike werker. Die navorsingsbenadering was kwalitatief en interpreterend, met ʼn verkennende en beskrywende navorsingsontwerp. Deur ʼn gekombineerde doelbewuste sneeubal benadering, het 15 nuutgekwalifiseerde maatskaplike werkers van verskeie nie-regeringsorganisasies in die land aan die data i nsamelingsproses deelgeneem deur middel van ʼn semi-gestruktureerde onderhoud; vanweë die COVID-19 beperkinge, is onderhoude telefonies gevoer. Data is tematies geanaliseer en patroonvorming is gebruik as verifikasie. Die sleutelbevindinge dui aan dat nuutgekwalifiseerde maatskaplike werkers verskeie belangrike bestuurstake uitvoer, ten spyte daarvan dat hulle nie op spesifieke vlakke van besuur werk nie. Bevindinge toon verder dat nuutgekwalifiseerde maatskaplike werkers bo en behalwe hulle eerstelinie intervensie, ook bestuurstake en verantwoordelikhede het. Dit is dikwels tydens die proses van dienslewering dat nuutgekwalifiseerde maatskaplike werkersStellenbosch bestuurstake uitvoer. Deelnemers identifiseer verskeie uitdagings in hierdie informele bestuursrolle. Aanbevelings met betrekking tot die bevindinge is dat afgesien van die invloed van neoliberale invloede op die welsynskonteks, is dit ʼn realiteit vir beginner maatskaplike werkers; opleidingsinstansies kan baat vind by die integrering van bestuursopleiding in die kurrikulum, aangepas tot ʼn gekombineerde burokratiese en bemagtigings bestuursproses, wat maatskaplike werkers in staat stel om in ʼn neoliberale omgewing te funksioneer, terwyl die waardes van die professie behou word. Opleidingsinstansies en nie-regeringsorganisasies moet die voorbereidingsproses vir die verwagtinge van die praktyk binne ʼn werksomgewing sinkroniseer, ten einde optimale uitvoering van hierdie take deur nuutgekwalifiseerde maatskaplike werkers te verseker, om nie tot nadeel van effektiewe dienste aan die kliëntsisteem te wees nie.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/110808
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