Complexity lies at the heart of social work practice and this book is designed to help students and newly-qualified social workers plan for and manage complex cases in an increasingly complex environment. Split into two parts, this book reflects the journey of qualifying social work students from preparation for practice in an educational context to learning ‘on the job’ through working with service users in practice settings, and eventually assuming a more senior role in management, administration and training. Key topics covered in the chapters include, managing volatility and uncertainty; making judgements and decisions; building and maintaining relationships; using reflection and supervision; working interprofessionally; managing risk; exploring cause and effect.

Organising Services to Manage Complexity
Organising Services to Manage Complexity
Chapter Summary

This chapter explores the challenges of addressing complexity from an organisational perspective. Two approaches to structure and management are contrasted. The first is the bureaucratic organisation, still the most common approach to delivering social work and social care services. The characteristics of bureaucracies are described and connected with the principles of scientific management and command-and-control thinking. There is a particular focus on motivation and the consequences of organising work around functions and processes, as well as the issue of performance management. The chapter then moves onto a second organisational perspective, which is socio-technical systems. The principles of a socio-technical approach are outlined with reference to the work of Trist and Ashby, before discussing the ...

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