To be a manager in social services: the relational perspective

Francesca Biffi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article explores the role of managers who work in social services according to the perspective of the Relational Social Work Method. The Relational Social Work Method helps to highlight managers' specific skills and competences in social services where they don't dispense standard products to the market, but instead they take care of people and their life problems. The article presents part of the results of a broader qualitative ethnographic study which analysed the activity of six Italian managers identifying functions and distinctive features. The study uses two research techniques: shadowing and semi-structured interviews. The study identifies and then explores five specific functions of managers who work in social services: 1) promoting participation; 2) fostering empowerment; 3) providing technical expertise and professional supervision and being directly involved in the field; 4) identifying and promoting discussion of the ethical issues involved, 5) assuming responsibility.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)55-73
Number of pages19
Volumevol 1
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • management
  • servizi alla persona
  • social services


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