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The Experiences of Human Service Managers in Contexts of Change and Uncertainty

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Against a background of rapid and widespread changes to the delivery of human services and social welfare, this paper reports on a study into the experiences of managers of human services organisations. Within an interpretive methodology, the research utilised focus group and interview methods to examine the relevance and need for business, finance, and management skills from the perspective of managers in the human services. Results indicate that managers of human service organisations need advanced business, management, and finance skills to deal with change and uncertainty in contemporary and competitive service environments.


Human service organisations in Australia are subject to change and uncertainty with new models of funding and increased accountability.

Social workers employed as managers are under pressure to lead sustainable and accountable services, while still holding to social work principles.

Social workers who manage organisations face a challenge of how to integrate business, management, and finance skills with the values and mission of social work.
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Keywords: Human Service Organisations; Management; Neoliberalism; Social Work

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: School of Arts and Humanities, Edith Cowan University, Bunbury, Western Australia, Australia 2: School of Business and Law, Edith Cowan University, Bunbury, Western Australia, Australia

Publication date: July 3, 2018

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