Social Work Management in an Era of Diminishing Federal Responsibility

By Edwards, Richard L.; Cooke, Philip W. et al. | Social Work, September 1996 | Go to article overview

Social Work Management in an Era of Diminishing Federal Responsibility


Edwards, Richard L., Cooke, Philip W., Reid, P. Nelson, Social Work


One needs only to look at recent presidential and congressional election results to see a growing public unhappiness with government. In 1992 Texas billionaire Ross Perot ran for president as a third-party protest candidate and received nearly 20 percent of the vote, the largest number of votes cast for a third-party candidate in a U.S. presidential election (NBC News, 1993). During the 1994 midterm elections, the Republican party gained control of both houses of Congress as well as many state legislatures, ending nearly four decades of control by the Democratic party. With their new majorities, Republicans quickly worked to implement provisions of the Contract with America (Gingrich, Armey, and the House Republicans, 1994), which emphasized shifting many federal government responsibilities to state and local governments.

There is also a growing disaffection with what is broadly termed "welfare" and the associated public and nonprofit social work and human services organizations. Although welfare, as reflected by Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC), is a small proportion of the total public expenditure, it nonetheless symbolizes the perceived failure of government to deal effectively with social realities. "Welfare bashing" is a frequent topic of radio and television talk shows. Although such popular discourse may be valuable in a democracy, it places social work professionals and managers in a defensive posture. These realities make the social work manager's job more difficult.

In the near future the changing political realities and their social and cultural context will bring additional challenges to the social work profession and to those who manage social work and human services organizations. Leaders from both political parties are responding to a common set of economic and social forces and assumptions - even though they disagree on specifics - that are driving them to seek solutions to the federal budget deficit, rampant increases in expenditures for various entitlement programs, and decades of growth in federal regulations that affect almost every aspect of Americans' lives.

It is almost certain that what is termed the "devolution revolution" (Nathan, 1995) will continue regardless of the November 1996 election outcome. Budget controls, selective tax reductions, caps on entitlement spending, and means-tested benefits tied to socially "responsible" behavior are currently being implemented. In addition, block grants with reduced funding levels and regulations and the increased use of purchase-of-service (POS) agreements and other means to draw a wide range of nonprofit and for-profit organizations into service provision will further complicate and disaggregate an already dizzying arena within which social work managers must function.

This article discusses the management challenges facing social work, including changes in the U.S. economic and social structure, changes in public policy that have greatly increased the diversity and competitiveness of social services providers, and the development of a growing public discontent with government organizations. This article reviews two management approaches - total quality management and reengineering - and considers the implications for social work management.

Historic Policies Affecting Social Work Management

Although it may be tempting to see these new realities as a current political and partisan phenomenon, there is a larger, historical reality underlying the developments changing social welfare.

Progressive Movement and the New Deal

The progressive movement emerged in the United States during the late 19th century (Reid, 1995). Progressives promoted a rational, public, social sciences-based government response to social problems that emphasized economic regulation, meritocracy, social insurance, and other protections, as well as the "professionalization" of services. Progressives were optimistic and humane, and they promoted an environmental view of human behavior that was in contrast to the 19th-century view of individual character and will as explanations of the shortcomings of society. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Social Work Management in an Era of Diminishing Federal Responsibility
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.