Defining social work leadership: a theoretical and conceptual review and analysis

Journal article citation:
Journal of Social Work Practice: Psychotherapeutic Approaches in Health, Welfare and the Community, 32(1), 2018, pp.31-44.
Taylor and Francis
Place of publication:
Philadelphia, USA

With the recent increase in social work leadership literature, a few issues in research and practice have come to light. Social work research employs leadership theory derived from military leadership principles adjusted for application in corporate entities, which have decidedly different goals and processes than social work organisations. These models may be influencing the methods of social work leadership research such that study outcomes reflect business-based rather than human service processes and goals. A dearth of leadership education in social work schools and in professional social work settings contributes to a paucity of social workers in upper level administrative roles. A systematic theoretical literature review on social work leadership is conducted in order to generate a working definition of social work leadership and a series of multi-level social work leadership principles. Implications for future research and practice are discussed. (Publisher abstract)

Subject terms:
social work, leadership, literature reviews, social work theories;
Content type:
research review
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