The McDonaldization of Social Work

The McDonaldization of Social Work

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Based upon George Ritzer's McDonaldization of Society thesis and incorporating aspects of social theory, this book examines the introduction of care management to social work practice. Donna Dustin analyzes care management as an example of the managerial application of efficiency, calculability, predictability and control to social work practice. These principles, put to good use in organizations that produce tangible outputs at a profit, are being increasingly applied in non-profit public sector organizations where the outcomes require intangibles such as professional relationships. The author examines whether the McDonaldization process heightens dilemmas such as cost versus rights for professionals working in the social services. Using social theory to frame her research with care managers and their managers in the UK, the author examines the day-to-day implications of care management for social work practice and questions whether the construction of service users as customers contributes to empowering practice. The book's in-depth analysis of the policy background, implementation and practice of care management will resonate with social workers in other national contexts, such as the US, where the care management model has been introduced.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 208 pages
  • 156 x 234 x 12.7mm | 532g
  • Ashgate Publishing Limited
  • Aldershot, England, United Kingdom
  • English
  • New ed
  • black & white illustrations
  • 0754646394
  • 9780754646396
  • 2,025,859

Table of contents

Contents: Introduction; Part I The Macro Perspective: Understanding the Introduction of Care Management - Theory and Context: Theorizing social change; The context of social change: globalization, McDonaldization and the introduction of care management. Part II The Micro Perspective: Social Workers' Perceptions of Their Care Management Role - Findings from Research: The impact of care management on social work practice; Consumerism, choice and empowerment in care managed services; The professional status of social workers practising as care managers. Part III Considering the Macro and the Micro: Looking Back - Looking Forward: Care management as the commodification of care within postmodernity as late capitalism; Social work practice in the specialist field of care management; Bibliography; Index.
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Review quote

'Donna Dustin's The McDonaldization of Social Work is, by far, the best of the efforts to apply the McDonaldization thesis to various aspects of the social world. However, this book does much more than that by bringing a wide range of theoretical perspectives to bear on empirical data collected on contemporary social work. In the process it offers great insight into the practice of social work today, its problems, as well as steps to be taken to deal with them, especially those created by excessive McDonaldization.' George Ritzer, University of Maryland, USA, and author of The McDonaldization of Society. 'In applying the "McDonaldization" thesis to social work, Dustin highlights the ways in which the disquiet of many practitioners derives directly from some of the changes that they have been required to implement. This timely book therefore makes an important contribution to our understanding of the nature of British social work in the early years of the 21st century.' Mark Lymbery, University of Nottingham, UK 'A timely analysis of the professional fortunes of social work in the era of care management, The McDonaldization of Social Work is indispensable reading for students and practitioners in care management sectors.' Linda Davies, McGill University, Montreal, Canada 'Dustin has some helpful things to say for the future. She argues that social work should reconnect with values of social justice and human rights, and that practitioners should forge closer links with service users and carers, and learn from and value their ideas and experience. The importance of such strategies at this time of radical change cannot be overstated.' The Guardian 'The McDonaldization of Social Work explores the impact of care management on UK social work practice. Aimed at graduate students and academics, Donna Dustin's book is in three parts: a theoretical context that includes globalization and wider social change; social workers' views of care management, and an analysis of findings.' Professional Social Work '...this is an utterly compelling book, if nothing else because it grapples with the crucial task of theorizing the world in which we teach, learn and practise. The author has clearly studied this for many years and this book is the result...It is heartening to read an analysis that brings to bear ideas about what is happening that offer us more than criticism-a contextualization and critical perspective...I wish...the phrase "McDonaldization of social work" could become the epitaph on the careers of a generation of social work managers and practitioners-the postscript on an era soonest ended and best forgotten for us all.' British Journal of Social Work '...I found it very helpful to read and think it will be helpful for many more people. It should also be made compulsory reading for policymakers and government ministers (by compulsory reading, I mean that they should be locked in a room until they can prove they have read it carefully and can show through careful testing that they have truly internalised the messages it contains!)...If we want to get a real understanding of what has been done to social work to damage it and what broader managerial and ideological issues underlie the Baby P tragedy, we need look no further than this excellent book. A five star recommendation as far as I am concerned.' Social Work Action Network 'This book offers an intelligent mix of theory and practice...The author is positive and believes that broader thinking about the context and situation and more service user involvement in decisions will imporve the situation in the future...she believes the best professional work takes time and that it is time and cost constraints that create the "McDonaldization" of care management' Community Care '...The McDonaldization of Social Work successfully weaves together empirical evidence with a theoretical depth and richness, which ultimately makes for a spirited critique of contemporary social work.' Practice: Social Work in Action 'This is a well-written book, deeply grounded in a commitment to improving both social work practice and service quality.' Research, Policy and Planning
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About Donna Dustin

Donna Dustin is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Applied Social Sciences at the London Metropolitan University, UK.
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