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Managing the Challenges in Human Service Organizations

Managing the Challenges in Human Service Organizations
A Casebook

July 2008 | 304 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc
Managing the Challenges in Human Service Organizations: A Casebook offers current and aspiring human service managers a view into the kinds of experiences they will likely encounter to better prepare them for the world they are about to enter. The cases are inspired by real situations and are designed to encourage students to determine how they would act and work towards a resolution of the dilemmas presented.

Key Features  
  • Simulates administrative dilemmas through cases that offer different aspects of agency administration and replicate aspects of actual practice
  • Levels the learning field for students entering graduate human service management programs with different managerial experiences
  • Orients students to the challenges of management by helping them develop mental models linked to the values of client-centered administration
  • Helps students develop a beginning sense of competence and understanding of managerial work while refining their analytic skills
  • Offers the opportunity for repeated learning opportunities using different analytical frameworks
  • Supplements fieldwork by providing more time to reflect and consider a broader array of alternatives than is found in most field experiences
Intended Audience  
This book is ideally suited as a supplemental text for advanced undergraduate and graduate courses in social work and counseling, as well as a much-needed reference for human services supervisors and practitioners.

1. Introduction

The Uses of Case-Based Learning

The Value and Benefits of Case-Based Learning

Conceptual Frameworks

Managerial Roles

Competing Values

Management Functions


2. Case Assessment and Debriefing
Case Debriefing

Use and Organization of the Casebook


3. Governance, Environment, and Structure

Case 3-1 Meddling Trustees

Case 3-2 KidsCan

Case 3-3 Dorchester House Board of Directors

Case 3-4 The Perfect Storm

Case 3-5 Poor Leadership Boundaries

Environmental Relations

Case 3-6 The Cabal

Case 3-7 Cost of a Tuxedo

Case 3-8 Choosing a Director

Case 3-9 Collapse of the Coalition


Case 3-10 Merging Colossal and Grassroots Agencies

Case 3-11 Poor Interdepartmental Communication or Competing Service Ideologies?

Case 3-12 Whose Interests Are Being Served?

Case 3-13 Greenvale Residential Treatment Center

Chapter Exercises

4. Leadership and Ethics

Case 4-1 Empowering Staff: Real or Imaginary?

Case 4-2 Caught in the Middle: Mediating Differences in Gender and Workstyle

Case 4-3 To Talk or Not to Talk?

Case 4-4 Agency Director Uses a Personal Coach to Address His Leadership Style

Case 4-5 Founder’s Syndrome

Case 4-6 Executive Leadership

Case 4-7 Marian Health Center

Case 4-8 Mosaic County Welfare Department

Case 4-9 Project Home


Case 4-10 Damage Control

Case 4-11 Philosophy Versus Economics

Case 4-12 What? Me worry?

Chapter Exercises

5. Planning and Program Design

Case 5-1 Mallard County Private Industry Council

Case 5-2 Be Careful What you Wish For

Case 5-3 Decisions on Resource Allocation

Case 5-4 Rational Versus Political Decision Making

Case 5-5 The Achievement Crisis at Girls Works

Case 5-6 Cutbacks and Performance Pressure

Case 5-7 Hillside Community Center

Case 5-8 Empowering Staff to Advocate for Chicano/Latina Clients

Program Design

Case 5-9 Banksville Human Services Center

Case 5-10 Massive Retrenchment

Case 5-11 Productivity and Performance

Case 5-12 Responding to Changing Client and Community Needs

Chapter Exercises

6. Financial Management and Information Systems
Fund Development

Case 6-1 Should We Accept the Gift?

Case 6-2 Changing the Ground Rules


Case 6-3 Showdown

Case 6-4 Improving Cash Flow

Case 6-5 Desperate for Program Funding

Case 6-6 Painful Choices

Information Systems

Case 6-7 Measuring Performance

Case 6-8 Information Services Overload

Case 6-9 Evaluating a Strategic Plan for Children’s Services

Chapter Exercises

7. Human Resource Management and Supervision
Human Resource Management

Case 7-1 The Case of Missing Staff

Case 7-2 Client-Centered Administration or Organization-Centered Administration?

Case 7-3 Union Headache

Case 7-4 The Influence of Religious Beliefs

Case 7-5 Growing Pains

Case 7-6 Challenges on the Line

Case 7-7 Selecting a Clinical Director for Friendly House

Case 7-8 Fire a Competent CFO?


Case 7-9 SOS in DHS: A Problem of Motivation

Case 7-10 Deteriorating Performance of a Supervisee

Case 7-11 Helping Supervisors Manage Their Staff

Case 7-12 Supervising Five Case Managers

Case 7-13 Supervisory Leadership

Chapter Exercises

8. Organizational Dynamics and Change
Case 8-1 Implementing Organizational Change as a Newcomer

Case 8-2 Diagnosing Managerial Practice in a Budget Crisis

Case 8-3 How Are We Doing?

Case 8-4 Jefferson Hospital

Case 8-5 Thurston High School

Case 8-6 Leadership Challenges in Transforming a Public Human Services Agency

Chapter Exercises

About the Authors

This book is currently applied for the Course of Social Work Administration for the second year students in Social Work in Hanoi. The book supports myself and students a lot on identifying the cases for seminars and open discussion. The book has been introduced to Vietnam Social Work Network website.

Mr Kham Tran
Office for Research Affairs, Hanoi University of Social Sciences and Humanities
March 23, 2014

The casebook is a great supplement to the other text that I have chosen "Management of Human Service Programs".

Ms Martha Stark
School of Public Affairs, Baruch College
December 1, 2010
Key features
1.  60 cases bases on real managerial dilemmas
2.  10 Guiding principles to make decisions  
3.  Questions provided at the end of each case to stimulate the student to consider the advantages and disadvantages of each option

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