The Society for Social Work and Research

2013 Annual Conference

January 16-20, 2013 I Sheraton San Diego Hotel and Marina I San Diego, CA

Sharing Leadership and Leveraging Their Competencies to Implement Evidence-Based Practices

Friday, January 18, 2013: 2:30 PM-4:15 PM
Seabreeze 1 and 2 (Sheraton San Diego Hotel & Marina)
Cluster: Organizations and Management
Erick Guerrero, PhD, University of Southern California, Amy He, LCSW, University of Southern California, Ahraemi Kim, MSW, University of Southern California and Thomas R. Packard, DSW, San Diego State University
In today’s era of health and social services reform, leaders in human service organizations(HSOs) are faced with numerous expectations from and demands by multiple stakeholders (i.e. funders, legislators, staff, and clients). Seen as agents of change and innovation, leaders of HSOs are poised to develop unique leadership approaches that focus on personal and staff development for the purposes of organizational goal attainment.

The goal of this roundtable is to stimulate discussion on the role of leadership in the implementation of organizational change, namely innovative practices with demonstrated impact on health and human service outcomes. The roundtable will include an overview of evolving theories of organizational leadership, highlighting typologies, competencies and outcomes of relevance for social work management practices. Three presenters will briefly introduce their papers and engage the audience in open dialogue and discussion.

The first presentation will critically discuss the benefits associated with shared leadership, as a promising model, which aligns with core social work principles and has the potential to generate multi-level buy-in for the translation of evidence-based practices (EBPs). The shared leadership perspective proposes that leadership can be distributed among a group of informal leaders (program staff), rather than to an appointed or designated leading actor. As the application of EBPs is primarily carried out by these staff members, this model shows promise in improving team functioning and performance, and has the potential to generate greater staff commitment during the implementation process.

The second paper will present an empirical study where managers’ attitudes about the implementation of evidence-based practices play a mediating role between their leadership style (transactional or transformational) and the implementation of medication-assisted treatment and treatment contingency management. This presentation will discuss ideologies and leadership capacities that may be at play in the implementation process of these two evidence-based practices in substance abuse treatment. Implications for building on specific leadership competencies will be highlighted.

The third paper will address the complex role of executives and managers as leaders implementing organizational change. This will be framed in a context which incorporates key variables that impact the success of organizational change initiatives, including external and internal contextual factors, leadership behaviors, administrative and programmatic issues, and their impact on organizational performance. Particular attention will be paid to change-related behaviors used by a leader; the dynamics between the change leader and staff, including addressing readiness for change, resistance, organizational capacity for change; the content of change (e.g., moving toward an evidence-based organizational culture), and change methods and tactics. Summary of the empirical literature on change tactics will be reviewed, with suggestions for further research in this area.

Overall, this roundtable will engage the audience in thinking beyond traditional concepts of leadership, and participating in critical discussions on the utilization of current and emergent theories of leadership in the implementation of EBPs in HSOs. Discussion will focus on ways of developing and increasing leadership capacity among social workers at all levels of the organization, and on research designs which can contribute new knowledge in this area.

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