Social entrepreneurship as a pragmatic concept for social work professionals' management competence in South Africa

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dc.contributor.author Mngadi, Zanelle
dc.date.accessioned 2013-05-23T08:27:07Z
dc.date.available 2013-05-23T08:27:07Z
dc.date.issued 2013-05-23
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/10539/12731
dc.description Thesis submitted to the Faculty of Commerce, Law and Management, University of the Witwatersrand, in fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy, PhD (Management) en_ZA
dc.description.abstract The South African Government has entrusted Social Work Professionals (SWP’s) with the responsibility of humanizing the lives of the most vulnerable groups in society. SWP’s are scrupulously trained to rehabilitate and heal the ailing community, but nowadays they are inadvertently incapacitated because their role has grown far beyond its original skill-base whilst their educational grooming and the legislation governing their role has remained stagnant. Furthermore, the Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs) within which they operate are unsustainable and many of them struggle for survival. The prevailing socio-economic environment imposes various demands on both the SWP profession and the non-profit sector, forcing them to provide for their survival by performing commercial duties that they are not trained to perform. This practice has resulted in a disjuncture in the roles of SWP’s and a brain-drain of professionals out of the sector. The study was split into two separate albeit related components employing a combination of qualitative methods and techniques to thoroughly investigate the source of this disjuncture and establish viable methods to address it. The first phase was designed to understand the history of social work in South Africa spanning two political dispensations, assess the legislated role that SWP’s should perform against the current role they are performing, in order to understand and explain the discrepancy in their role. Thereafter the second phase was conducted as a follow-up to explore how the concept of Social Entrepreneurship in conjunction with comprehensive management proficiency could provide possibilities of addressing and improving the shortcomings arising in the role of the SWP. ii The first phase documented that SWP’s are currently struggling in practice, with inadequate resources and lack of enterprise and management proficiency to fully facilitate their mandate. This deficiency suggested a shift in their role that is different from their usual rehabilitating role. Social Policy Frameworks were identified as the possible hindrance for the current lack of enterprising in the social sector, followed by socio-economic pressures and insufficient education and training of SWP’s. A paradigm shift to acknowledge and qualify the growth in the role of an SWP academically and legislatively was recommended, followed by relevant intellectual construction of knowledge. The second phase of the study acknowledged that Social Entrepreneurship is a fairly new concept in academic circles. In addition, most reviewed literature on Social Entrepreneurship suggested that the African landscape was either not fully understood by the authors or not yet catered for since most of the solutions were not fully commensurate with problems experienced in (South) Africa. Therefore, the researcher approached available scholars globally with primary data depicting real problems that are experienced on the ground and which seemed to challenge their presented solutions from the reviewed literature. This process systematically examined the concept of Social Entrepreneurship, accentuating how a different set of resource combinations of its aspects customized for the South African socio-economic environment could open up a new window of knowledge to enhance the impending social transformation, notwithstanding the view that further research for African needs was strongly encouraged. Findings from the first phase strongly suggested specialisation in the profession of an SWP in the short term and the development of a new cadre of enterprising SWP’s in the longer term. The second phase’s findings validated the suggestion from the first phase to split the role of an SWP, introduce entrepreneurial and management competence designed for social benefit as a new and special role, and develop a new cadre of professionals over time who will specialise in the new competence. iii Findings from both phases of the study have led to the conclusion that the role of an SWP has shifted and grown far beyond its original skill-base. This conclusion has notable policy implications for legislation governing SWP’s. Whilst this study has acknowledged and qualified the growth in the role of an SWP academically as entrepreneurial and management deficiency, to complete the acknowledgement, this growth has to be recognised legislatively within the policy frameworks. Specialisation in the profession of social work would also need to be legislated to enable academia to provide intellectual leadership on the new role, define research needs, develop a new curriculum, then recruit and develop a new cadre of enterprising SWP’s. These findings lead to a further conclusion that policy frameworks governing SWP’s are not entirely congruent with the prevailing socio-economic environment and might benefit from a review that underlines SWP’s’ core function, education and training that is commensurate with the needs of their role, especially the needs of the shift experienced in their role. en_ZA
dc.language.iso en en_ZA
dc.subject Social entrepreneurship en_ZA
dc.subject Social workers en_ZA
dc.subject South Africa en_ZA
dc.subject Social work professionals en_ZA
dc.title Social entrepreneurship as a pragmatic concept for social work professionals' management competence in South Africa en_ZA
dc.type Thesis en_ZA


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