Journal Article

Where Have All the Feelings Gone? Developing Reflective and Relationship-Based Management in Child-Care Social Work

Gillian Ruch

in The British Journal of Social Work

Published on behalf of British Association of Social Workers

Volume 42, issue 7, pages 1315-1332
Published in print October 2012 | ISSN: 0045-3102
Published online October 2011 | e-ISSN: 1468-263X | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/bjsw/bcr134
Where Have All the Feelings Gone? Developing Reflective and Relationship-Based Management in Child-Care Social Work

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The past five years have witnessed a growing recognition of the importance of management and leadership in the social work profession. The Social Work Task Force Report has underlined the need for ‘dedicated programmes of training and support for frontline social work managers’ and the Social Work Reform Board is tasked with taking this recommendation forward. Central to these developments is the question of how such ‘dedicated programmes’ are defined and developed. Developing a reflective management model that holds in a creative tension both the reflective and relationship-based dimensions of management and the positive aspects of managerialism offers an effective way of responding to these challenges. The paper considers the contribution of psycho-dynamic theoretical perspectives to this model of management. The capacity of these perspectives to equip managers to more effectively respond to issues of risk, uncertainty and anxiety is illustrated with examples drawn from case discussions undertaken with social work managers in the context of a post-qualification social work programme. The paper concludes by outlining how complex reflective management practice is facilitated by reflective organisational contexts which embrace diverse knowledge sources, promote relationship-based skills and found themselves on reflective values.

Keywords: Child safeguarding; management; professional practice; reflective practice; relationship-based practice

Journal Article.  6572 words. 

Subjects: Social Work

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