Managing Human Resources in the Human Services: Supervisory Challenges

Managing Human Resources in the Human Services: Supervisory Challenges

Managing Human Resources in the Human Services: Supervisory Challenges

Managing Human Resources in the Human Services: Supervisory Challenges


Managerial supervisors are those persons who supervise direct service staff, who oversee human service programs, and who perform macro practice tasks in their agencies on a daily basis. They are not clinical supervisors who oversee the treatment aspects of direct practice, nor are they administrators at the executive level. Managing Human Resources in the Human Servicesis the first book to address the challenges facing the often under-appreciated managerial supervisors who oversee and provide a crucial organizational structure for work that occurs in human service across the country.
According to authors Perlmutter, Bailey, and Netting the successful managerial supervisor must be able to create and develop the organizational culture in which client-centered practice can occur, balance the demands of administrative leadership with those of workers who see clients, keep a client-centered focus amid the paradoxes that arise in the process, and maintain a healthy professional presence. Managing Human Resources in the Human Serviceprovides valuable guidance to students of administration and to practitioners on the many difficult issues that arise for the managerial supervisor.
Special Features
Identifies the paradoxical nature of today's human service environment
Provides practical, readable chapters with immediate applications
Focuses on how to be an effective supervisor and encourages independent thinking
Includes an extensive reference list for additional reading
Written by authors with years of experience in multiple settings


Managing Human Resources in the Human Services: Supervisory Challenges is a book that begins to fill a huge gap in the nonprofit organizational literature. Each of the authors of this book is well known for her work in human service management. Working together—a nice human resources model—they have produced a usable, student- and employee-friendly, hands-on book that will resonate with human service executives. In particular, it addresses the many needs of the middle managers in the human service field—assistant and associate directors, for example—on whom the brunt of the human resources function falls and for whom we have done little. And it will serve well in classes on human resources in the human service enterprise.

The organization of the book is excellent. The first part deals with legal issues, strategic basics such as communication, diversity, compensation, performance appraisal, motivation, working with teams, and the thorny issue of evaluation.

The chapters throughout are user friendly both in structure and in attention to human service and social work concerns. The authors know where the reader is coming from! The chapters present key dilemmas that must be addressed at the agency level and case material that helps all readers obtain a realistic grasp of the material.

One of the most interesting chapters is that on “Protecting Managers as Workers.” This is important and appropriate because most human resources texts forget that the manager is an employee with the same kinds of concerns and issues that other employees have, and in an important sense, fewer resources to deal with them.

Another pathbreaking chapter, “Motivating, Appraising, and Rewarding,” deals with the issue of compensation, of critical concern since human service agencies have to address this vital issue. I am thinking not only of the amount of compensation that needs to be increased, but also the distribution of limited funds and resources in the agency. More performance-based compensation is needed.

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