Methods:The study utilized a basic descriptive qualitative research design. Social workers in nonprofit social service organizations in South Korea that received a government evaluation from 2016 to 2018 were selected for this study. A total of 25 social work professionals who are at the director level or above in their agency were interviewed using semi-structured interview guides. The interview was conducted for 60 minutes via video call. Nvivo 12 was utilized for thematic analysis to identify implicit and explicit ideas within the data.
Findings: Most social workers were aware of the importance of networking with other agencies. Although nonprofit social service agencies established relationships with local governments and agencies, the organizations did not collaborate with similar types of agencies because of the relative evaluation system. The evaluation system that influences continuous funding of the agencies and incentives for social workers in these agencies hindered networking between similar organizations. The government funding and evaluation systems did not motivate social service agencies to build networks to provide better quality of services. Thus, these environments increased competition with other agencies and reduced motivation to network with other agencies.
Implications:The findings suggest that absolute evaluation should be considered to decrease competition among social service agencies. It is necessary for local governments to take the initiative in building networks, and the number of evaluation items should be expanded to increase networking by social service agencies. In addition, continued training for social workers regarding network building is crucial to constructing an environment to create interorganizational relationships with other agencies in their community.