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I will discuss the relevant managerial and organisational theoretical concepts that I observed whilst working on placement at the Knowsley Leaving Care Team.

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Introduction

Organisations For this assignment I will discuss the relevant managerial and organisational theoretical concepts that I observed whilst working on placement at the Knowsley Leaving Care Team. Within this assignment I will show an understanding of: organisational structure, organisational goals and the culture of the organisation. I will also look at the level of service user involvement within the organisation. For the last part of the assignment I will address, through reflection, whether the organisation helped or hindered my attempts to apply social work knowledge, skills and values. The term organisation can be described as "structuring activities into operational groups each of which contain employees who are allocated roles and duties and given varying degrees of authority and responsibility" (Bets 1993 p25). The Leaving Care Team is located within the Children and Families Division of Knowsley Borough Council's Social Services Department. The agency's structure (Appendix B) clearly shows that the Children and Families Division is structured into operational groups or divisions. Max Weber (1864 - 1920), a German sociologist, defined this structure as a hierarchy of offices or posts. Weber describes the hierarchical structure as a pyramid with the head of the organisation at the top, middle managers in between and the frontline workers and their assistants at the base. This can be related to the Children and Families Division, as the Assistant Director is at the top, the Service Managers are the middle managers, the Social Workers are the frontline workers and the administration staff are their assistants. The levels of authority are well defined in the hierarchal structure. ...read more.

Middle

Networks matter more than official vertical lines of managerial authority. Clan Culture The fourth model is the clan culture, also known as a 'support culture'. Based on familial notions of mutual care and support, it focuses on employee commitment and morale. Productivity arises because of the cohesiveness and sense of belonging of employees. A conservative culture, is likely to be more internally focused than a leadership culture, although it may still be led by a strong paternalistic manager" (p282). It could be suggested that the culture within the Leaving Care Team is linked to the forth model, clan culture. The reasons for this being the Leaving Care Team had been working together for over twenty years and as a result where very supportive of each other. The team manager was also very supportive of her staff as she had previously been a social worker within the team. This could relate to research studies carried out by Peters and Waterman (1982). They discovered that within good organisations, autonomy and entrepreneurship encouraged workers to move up the scale and become leaders. Therefore organisations valued their staff and top management were in touch with what was going on with the company, whilst retaining the same values as the work force. I therefore believe that the team manager's previous role as a social worker within the Leaving Care Team influenced her leadership style. There are three broad classifications of leadership styles: Authoritarian, where the focus of power is with the manager. Democratic, where the focus of power is more with the group as a whole and laissez-faire where the manager observes that the members of the group are working well on their own. ...read more.

Conclusion

states "individual supervision allows for the development of professional and personal practice" and Coulshed and Mullender (2001) state "through supervision the team manager is able to give feedback to the individual worker about the performance, ensuring that all manual and data base recordings are up to date and organisational targets are being met". One of my main dilemmas with the Leaving Care Team was with service user involvement. I observed that, on paper, Knowsley had a very good policy regarding the inclusion of service users in decision making but in reality it did not happen. I also observed that at the forums were service users could express their ideas to improve services no senior managers were present. This made me think that the service user policy was only a 'lip service'. When I queried other members of staff on this matter I was told that "the management makes the decisions". I found this total contradictory to my social work principles, ethics and personal and professional values. It was then that I realized that being a subordinate in a hierarchical statutory agency you walk a fine line between acting oppressively and anti-oppressively. In conclusion I have discussed the relevant managerial and organisational theoretical concepts that I observed whilst working on placement at the Knowsley Leaving Care Team. I have shown an understanding of: organisational structure, organisational goals and the culture of the organisation. I have also looked at the level of service user involvement within the organisation. In the last part of the assignment I have addressed, through reflection, whether the organisation helped or hindered my attempts to apply social work knowledge, skills and values. ...read more.

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