You are here

Organisations and Management in Social Work

Organisations and Management in Social Work
Everyday Action for Change

Third Edition

October 2016 | 248 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd

Providing a comprehensive and critical examination of the complex issues involved in the management and organisational contexts of social work practice, this book will help readers to:


- Critically evaluate organisational theory, managerial techniques and organisational structures.

- Develop strategies for ethical and reflective organisational practice.

- Understand how to plan and manage change in learning organisations.

- Unpick important themes such as leadership, supervision, risk, decision making, and accountability.

- Explore the potential for increasing service user and worker participation in organisations.

Chapter 1: Social Work in Organizations
Chapter 2: Theorising Organizations
Chapter 3: Organisational Change
Chapter 4: Communicating and Collaborating
Chapter 5: Decision Making and Risk
Chapter 6: Leadership and Supervision
Chapter 7: Accountability and Participation
Chapter 8: Experiencing Organisations
Chapter 9: Active and Ethical Practice

Organisations and Management in Social work is a leading text in the field, providing both context for students and tools for practitioners and managers to bring social work values and theories to bear in the neoliberal bureaucracies we so often find ourselves in. Thoughtful, accessible and targeted specifically at social workers, this new edition engages practically and politically with the realities of contemporary service provision.

Chris Maylea
RMIT University, Australia

The new edition of Organisational Practice is a solid up-to-date textbook for social work students seeking to be effective social workers within organisations. Mark Hughes and Michael Wearing have included interesting cases, diagrams and reflective questions, which are useful for making important concepts and theories accessible. Highly recommended!

Jean Burke
Australian Catholic University

This is a comprehensive and sufficiently challenging text for undergraduate students which promotes thinking and critical analysis of the ‘real world’ within which social work practice takes place.

Lynne McPherson
La Trobe University

Stimulating critique and challenging perspective of the book really makes the reader think and question their practice.

Julia Foster-Turner
Oxford Brookes University

In reading this book, those already in practice, either as social workers or managers, will have many light-bulb moments where an explanation is offered for something they will see within their own workplace and, for students, they will be better prepared for some of the more mystifying elements of working in large organisations. They will then be better prepared to, as the authors put it, humanise some of the dehumanising elements of working in organisations

Stephen J. Mordue
British Journal of Social Work


Understanding the organisations within which we work is essential to effective social work, but is rarely a key driver for practitioners; so, delivering a literary work on this subject that is engaging and accessible is challenging. It may be their ability to achieve this that underpins the authors’ success. Without diminishing the complexity of external and organisational factors impacting on social work practice, they explain and help to make sense of them.

Linda Horner Martin
Senior lecturer in leadership and management, Coventry University

This is a highly accessible read that focuses on important themes in both the organizational theory and social work practice literatures. It can be used as an introductory text in a macro-community practice class at the Masters or Bachelors level in Social Work schools, or as a text for practitioners with no formal training in organizational theory or research.

Marcus Lam

This book is clear to read, it uses simple language. It is contemporary and offers me good material for teaching. It covers a wide range of organisational topics. Students have said it has helped them to understand organisations when they go on placement as some of the issues raised in the book manifest on placement. They feel better equipped to handle those challenges or dynamics

Mrs Mthoko Ngobese Sampson
Social Science, University of West London
September 29, 2021

Sample Materials & Chapters

Social Work in Organizations

Mark Hughes

Dr Mark Hughes is Professor of Social Work in the School of Arts and Social Sciences, Southern Cross University, Australia. He has worked as a social worker in health, aged care and mental health settings in both Australia and the UK. He has also worked as a social work academic at the University of Queensland, the University of New South Wales, and Goldsmiths College  London. Mark’s research interests centre on organisational practice, social work with older people, and lesbian and gay ageing. Mark is co-author of six books, as well as a range of journal publications. More About Author

Michael Wearing

Dr Michael Wearing is a Senior Lecturer in the Social Work Program, The School of Social Sciences, University of New South Wales (UNSW), Australia. He teaches in a range of areas of theory, policy and practice in social work and criminology notably on organisational practice, human and health service delivery and working in youth justice and related areas. He trained as a social worker and sociologist at UNSW and maintains a strong research and publishing career in social policy and applied sociology in Australia and internationally. More About Author