Essential management tasks executed by social workers in the Directorate of Developmental Social Welfare Services in Namibia : an ecological systems perspectives

Muinjangue, Esther Utjiua (2020-03)

Thesis (PhD)--Stellenbosch University, 2020.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Management in social work is an area of growing scholarly interest but it is seldom understood in the context of developmental social welfare services. Management is mostly associated with the fields of business and marketing. Moreover, there is little evidence about the managerial tasks executed by social workers in their day to day activities and why some of these managerial tasks are essential in social welfare service delivery. The literature that exists in management tasks is primarily derived from business and management in general which is a different field from that of managing social services. The body of knowledge that exists on management focuses primarily on business management and not on management tasks of social workers at different levels in organisations. Furthermore, the execution of these tasks is also influenced by the organisational environment in which social workers operate. Additionally, social workers are no longer working in isolation but they see themselves more and more as part of multi-disciplinary teams. Contemporary social workers are professionals who manage their work to ensure quality service to their service users. With constant change in the needs and demands of communities served by social workers, research and more research on management in social work and especially on management tasks needs to keep abreast in order to highlight essential management tasks executed by social workers as it directly impacts the services offered by social workers. The study explored and described some essential management tasks executed by social workers at the frontline and middle levels of management in the Directorate of Developmental Social Welfare Services (DDSWS) in the Ministry of Health and Social Services (MOHSS) in Namibia. The study was based on a qualitative study with 20 frontline social workers and 7 middle level managers as participants. The empirical study and the findings were analysed in line with the data categories as identified in some essential management tasks, namely: workload management, time management, information management, risk management, change and transformation management, supervisory management, programme and project management and monitoring and evaluation (M & E). Subthemes and categories were identified from the empirical data in line with the practice and narratives of the research participants. The findings indicate that social workers at frontline and middle levels of management executed management tasks. The study further revealed that although social workers are functioning in different divisions and at different levels, they seem to have adopted an integrated approach to management tasks. Specific recommendations, based on an ecological systems perspective are offered in the current study, which may be applicable to diverse organisational contexts. This was done by synthesising some essential management tasks from literature and how they are implemented in practice by social workers in the Directorate. Recommendations were made along the literature categories, with specific recommendations under reach category. Mostly, the main recommendations were linked to the need to provide in-service training to social workers on management in social work in order to create more awareness on their managerial tasks and for them to be more appreciative of their roles. Other recommendations were in terms of the working environment and the centralisation of the fragmented social welfare services.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Bestuur in maatskaplike werk is 'n groeiende area in die literatuur, maar dit word selde binne die konteks van ontwikkelende maatskaplike welsynsdienste verstaan. Bestuur word meestal geassosieer met die velde van besigheid en bemarking. Verder is daar min navorsingbewyse oor bestuurstake wat maatskaplike werkers uitvoer as deel van hulle daaglikse aktiwiteite. Daar is ook min inligting oor hoe hulle die bestuurstake uitvoer asook waarom sommige van hierdie bestuurstake noodsaaklik is vir maatskaplike dienslewering. Die meeste literatuur wat daar in bestuurstake is, is hoofsaaklik afkomstig van korporatiewe beheer wat in die algemeen verskil van hoe maatskaplike welsynsdienste bestuur word. Die kennisbasis wat bestaan oor bestuur fokus hoofsaaklik op korporatiewe bestuur en nie soseer op bestuurstake wat maatskaplike werkers uitvoer op verskillende vlakke in organisasies nie. Die uitvoer van hierdie bestuurstake word ook beïnvloed deur die organisatoriese omgewing waarin maatskaplike werk bedryf word. Daarbenewens werk maatskaplike werkers nie meer in isolasie nie, maar vorm hulle al hoe meer deel van multi-dissiplinêre spanne. In hulle professionele werk word van maatskaplike werkers verwag om kwaliteit diens aan hul diensverbruikers te voorsien. Voortdurende veranderings in die behoeftes en eise van gemeenskappe vereis meer navorsing oor bestuur in maatskaplike werk en veral oor bestuurstake wat maatskaplike werkers uitvoer. Die studie verken en beskryf enkele essensiële bestuurstake soos dit verrig word deur maatskaplike werkers wat in die voorste linie en middevlak werk in die Direktoraat van Ontwikkelingsgerigte Maatskaplike Welsynsdienste (DDSWS) in die Ministerie van Gesondheid en Maatskaplike Dienste (MOHSS) in Namibië. Die studie is gebasseer op ʼn kwalitatiewe ondersoek van deelnemers, in besonder 20 voorste linie maatskaplike werkers en 7 middelvlakbestuurders. Die empiriese studie is gedoen deur middel van ʼn sintese van essensiële bestuurstake vanuit die literatuur en hoe dit in die praktyk deur maatskaplike werkers toegepas word in die Direktoraat. Deur ʼn deduktiewe sintese van essensiële bestuurstake, was die navorser in staat om die omvang en grense van die navorsing te stel, en om betekenisvolle beskrywings van bestuurstake aan te bied om die uitvoering daarvan deur maatskaplike werkers te verken en te verstaan. Die empiriese studie en bevindinge is ontleed vanuit die volgende essensiële bestuurstake naamlik: werksladingbestuur, tydsbestuur, inligtingverspreiding, risikobestuur, veranderingsbestuur, supervisie, program- en projekbestuur asook monitering en evaluering. Subtemas en datakategorieë is geïdentifiseer vanuit die empiriese data, op grond van die praktyke en narratiewe van die navorsingsdeelnemers. Die bevindinge toon aan dat maatskaplike werkers wel in die voorste linie en middelvlak bestuurtake uitvoer. Die uitvoer van bestuurstake van maatskaplike werkers vereis egter meer formalisering om bewustheid van bestuurstake te skep. Aanbevelings word gemaak na aanleiding van die literatuurkategorieë, met spesifieke aanbevelings ten opsigte van elke bestuurstaak. Die hoofaanbevelings lê klem op die indiensopleiding van maatskaplike werkers ten opsigte van bestuur in maatskaplike werk oor die algemeen, en in besonder op bestuurstake in die maatskaplikewerk-professie, sodat organisasies holisties beskou kan word, in plaas van as gefragmenteerde dele sonder ʼn geheel. Ander aanbevelings fokus op die voorsiening van kantoorruimte en -toerusting, asook sentralisering van die gefragmenteerde maatskaplike welsynsdienste.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/107761
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