Management of social service agencies: balancing between social justice and economic reasoning
Vilniaus universitetas, Socialinių tyrimų institutas
The characteristics of the management of social service agencies determining the complexity of making decisions are discussed in this article. This complexity stems from the need to balance between social justice and economic reasoning organizing the work of the agency. Special attention is given to management aspects specific to agencies providing social services, the aims of social service management, characteristics of clients (service users), importance of outside environment (surrounddings), and characteristics of marketing.
Historically and traditionally Social work is an area related to mercy and altruistic help to others. Influenced by the service market, social work is increasingly changing. First of all, the social service market has become an important part of the economy, where billions of dollars are put into circulation with thousands of employees. The Organization of social service agencies has changed accordingly: more attention is given to management to achieve better results with
fewer expenses. During the last decade of the XX century social workers and social service agencies have increasingly been requested to work according to the rules of economy. Therefore effective management is important. Social work and provision of social services has been analyzed as one of the areas of the economy where the criteria of economic reasoning should be applied. A need to manage social service agencies has increased due to fast development of social services, larger scale of services, and the burden of the state to finance these services. Bearing in mind that the aim of management is to ensure the quality of work, it becomes clear why discussions on the management of social work and social service agencies have become urgent . On the other hand, specific needs of social service clients, their dependency on others and other characteristics makes it necessary to analyze general principles of management as well as the practice of management in order to modify and adjust them to the specificity of social work.