An identification and analysis of management styles in private social work organizations in the greater Cape Town area

Master Thesis


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University of Cape Town

Thirteen social work organizations participated in the study, with questionnaires being distributed to 237 managers and social workers through organization internal mail, conventional postage, and group administration depending on the preference of the organization. The overall response rate was 54.43%. The results revealed that the statistical 5/5 or opportunist management style is most prevalent within the social worker and management samples. This style is essentially a situational approach to managing and indicates that the manager's primary motivation is that of self-interest. In the social worker sample, another significant feature was the prominence of the 1/1 or impoverished management profile which characterises managers as being indifferent, apathetic and bureaucratic. An analysis of the profiles of both the opportunist and 1/1 managerial styles indicate that these managers employ autocratic practices toward workers. The predominance of the opportunist and the 1/1 styles confirm the results of the open-ended questionnaires which reveal autocratic management styles as being predominant. The element of autocratic control therefore emerges as a significant feature of management style within social work management. The conclusions drawn from this study are that social work managers need to change their orientations which are motivated primarily by self-interest and characterised by autocratic practices, toward a 9/9 approach which encompasses the principles of teamwork, participation, change and innovation which are needed within a South African democratic and developmental context of practice.

Bibliography: pages 270-291.