James Woolever and Jim Kelly
The study of leadership has a long history in disciplines outside of social work. 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. In the early 21st century, social workers have begun to elaborate technologies for creating tomorrow’s leaders through practices such as formal training, mentoring, and peer networking. There has always been, and will be, a critical need for leadership in social-work endeavors. Leadership development can be viewed from two perspectives: the individual and organizational. From the individual perspective, the system begins with a critical assessment of the individual’s strengths and limitations, along with the opportunities and threats for professional growth. Ultimately, the organization is responsible for providing resources to enable individual development. The long-term goal is to implement a developmental mind-set throughout the organization. Leadership development must be intended for all employees, not just a select few. Both individual and organizational job performance are ultimately dependent on the leadership developmental structures embedded within each organizational unit. The issue at hand is designing and delivering leadership development programs that meet the leadership requirements for today’s complex, yet changing organizations.
Darlyne Bailey, Katrina M. Uhly, and Jessica Schaffner Wilen
The concept of leadership has evolved from focusing on innate abilities, to learned skills, to recognition that leadership is composed of both skills and abilities. Recently, theorists and practitioners have identified core elements of leadership for social-work organizations. These elements encourage social-work leaders to understand their organizations as living systems within an interdependent world and aid them in connecting humanistic intentions with effects. Acknowledgment and enactment of these competencies secure skills of communication and guidance needed for engagement in dialog and action. Social-work students and leaders can learn and hone these qualities in social-work programs, schools, and professional development opportunities for effective leadership in the field.
Amanda Duffy Randall and Donna DeAngelis
Social work regulation protects the public by establishing the qualifications that a professional must possess, by establishing a means of holding professionals accountable, and by having a system for the public to make complaints against allegedly incompetent or unethical practitioners and have them investigated and adjudicated. Certification also exists in various specialty areas of social work practice, as is a function of professional organizations versus governmental regulatory agencies.
Dorothy N. Gamble and Tracy M. Soska
“Macro practice” is identified as social work with communities, organizations, and inter- and intra-organizational groups engaged in progressive maintenance or change strategies. Social workers in macro practice engage in planning, organizing, development, collaboration, leadership, policy practice, advocacy, and evaluation. In 2010, the Association of Community Organization and Social Administration (ACOSA) defined competencies expected of people doing this work. ACOSA identified two separate but related sets of competencies: one based on the literature found in its sponsored journal, The Journal of Community Practice, and a second derived from 10 competencies elaborated on in the Council on Social Work Education’s (CSWE) Educational Policies and Accreditation Standards. Identifying competencies defines knowledge, values, judgments, and skills that social workers doing macro practice should address. Evaluating competencies can be determined by educational programs, service organizations that employ macro practitioners, or by the practitioners themselves as they move through their career in social work.
Michàlle E. Mor Barak and Dnika Jones Travis
Social work organizations depend on a well-trained and responsive workforce to provide quality services. 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 to accomplish organizational goals. Effective HRM requires applying the same person-in-environment value orientation that guides client services to managing human resources. Considering the complexity of HRM, we have developed an organizing framework focused on employee development, organizational effectiveness, and cross-cutting HRM issues. In today's economic, legal, cultural and technological environment that emphasizes accountability, effective management of human talent is critical.
Fariyal Ross-Sheriff and Julie Orme
This article provides a synopsis of mentoring and coaching, with a focus on the importance of mentoring in academia. Although there are considerable differences between mentoring and coaching, both of these processes share similar goals and foundational elements. Over time, the traditional concept of mentoring has evolved to become more relational in nature. Scholars have noted the benefits of this contemporary type of relational mentoring, as well as the challenges of mentoring with select populations (i.e., women and people of color) who have historically experienced barriers to receiving appropriate mentorship. Theoretical frameworks and practice recommendations are presented for understanding and developing mentoring relationships. By using a relational and holistic approach to mentoring, social work educators and practitioners can help to advance the next generation of leadership within the profession.
Elizabeth J. Clark
The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) is the largest membership association of professional social workers in the world with nearly 145,000 members. Formed in 1955 by uniting seven predecessor organizations, NASW has a dual mission of protecting and advancing the profession of social work and of advocating for social justice issues. The NASW national office is based in Washington, DC, with chapters in each state, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Virgin Islands. There are also separate chapters in New York City and metropolitan Washington, DC, as well as an international chapter for U.S. social workers living abroad.
Paul A. Kurzman
Occupational (industrial) social work, one of the newest fields of policy and practice, has evolved since the mid-1960s to become a dynamic arena for social service and practice innovation. Focusing on work, workers, and work organizations, occupational social work provides unique opportunities for the profession to affect the decisions and provisions of management and labor. Despite the risks inherent in working in powerful and often proprietary settings, being positioned to help workers, their families, and job hunters enables professional social workers to have the leverage both to provide expert service and to become agents of progressive social change.
This article presents an overview of the field of organizational change as it applies to human service organizations (HSOs). It offers definitions, conceptual models, and perspectives for looking at organizational change, and notes common reasons that organizational change efforts fail. The article takes the perspective of an agency executive or manager who has the responsibility for initiating and implementing a planned organizational change initiative. It offers a comprehensive, evidence-based model for tactics to use and steps to take, from assessing change readiness and change capacity to institutionalizing and evaluating change outcomes within the organization. Common change methods are reviewed, including those particularly relevant to HSOs, such as implementation science; the use of consultants; and change efforts, which can be initiated by lower-level employees. A research agenda, with particular attention to change tactics, is offered.
Bradford W. Sheafor
In U.S. society, individuals are designated “professional” when they meet the requirements for a profession. However, professions are developed and maintained through various professional organizations and associations. As social work has evolved, the professional membership and professional education organizations have periodically unified, split, and later reunified when maintaining an identity as a single profession competed with the need to address the interests of different practice specialties, educational levels, and special interest groups within social work.