Managing to be professional? Team managers and practitioners in modernised social work

Tony Evans

in Modernising social work

Published by Policy Press

Published in print March 2009 | ISBN: 9781847420060
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781447302827 | DOI:
Managing to be professional? Team managers and practitioners in modernised social work

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This chapter examines the origins of the characterisation of managers as creatures of managerialism. Within the critical literature examining the impact of managerialism on social services, managers, and practitioners, it is possible to identify two distinct approaches. First, the domination approach sees managerialism as a clear break with bureau professionalism. Proceduralism undermines professionalism and represents an intensification of control, which is used to impose a business orientation on practice, to the detriment of professional commitments. Second, the discursive viewpoint does not equate the ideas of managerialism with the practices of all managers. In the light of these arguments, the chapter presents findings from a case study of a social-work team to illustrate, develop, and explore these observations. This study shows the value of an approach to the analysis of managerialism that recognises the complex interaction of managerialism and professionalism within modernised social work and can tease out managerialism's impact on the relationships between practitioners and their managers. This approach provides a way to theorise the impact of managerialism within practice settings and to identify opportunities for professional resistance.

Keywords: managers; managerialism; social services; practitioners; proceduralism; professionalism; social work; resistance

Chapter.  8483 words. 

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