Christopher J. Jewell (auth.)'s Agents of the Welfare State: How Caseworkers Respond to Need PDF

By Christopher J. Jewell (auth.)

ISBN-10: 023060725X

ISBN-13: 9780230607255

ISBN-10: 1349539643

ISBN-13: 9781349539642

ISBN-10: 4820073613

ISBN-13: 9784820073611

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Extra info for Agents of the Welfare State: How Caseworkers Respond to Need in the United States, Germany, and Sweden

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Typically caseworker-claimant contact involves an iterative process of assessment, monitoring, and adaptation to the individual’s changing response and situation. 1). 1 Variable role of frontline staff based on organization’s “critical task” Organizational responses available to caseworker Wide repertoire of responses (high) Limited repertoire of responses (low) Nature of client contact (organizational goal) Short-term and one-sided (“sustaining claimant”) (low) Longer-term and dynamic (“transforming claimant”) (high) (moderate role) social assistance caseworker determining benefit adequacy (Germany, Sweden) (significant role) activation caseworker facilitating client participation in range of activities (Germany, Sweden) *staff maintaining person with mental illness in community *caseworker selecting services for a child with special educational needs *Alcoholics Anonymous leader helping individuals achieve sobriety *regulatory official enforcing regulations requiring enhanced corporate management and training (minor role) social assistance caseworker determining benefit eligibility (United States) (moderate role) activation caseworker monitoring client participation in job search activities (United States) *caseworker determining eligibility for disability *regulatory official enforcing effluent limits for routine technology 22 AGENTS OF THE WELFARE STATE Organizations whose critical tasks are relatively “simple” (where frontline staff play a correspondingly minor independent role) can be organized according to a “bureaucratic rationality model” (Mashaw 1983) that emphasizes accuracy, consistency, and cost efficiency through the hierarchical organization of work and a well-developed system of rules that limit caseworker discretion.

85). But the difficulty with creating responsive decision makers is not equal for all organizations. The nature of an organization’s central function, its “critical task” (Johnson 1998), affects the role of frontline staff by determining the information demands made on them, their discretion for making decisions, and the nature of the contact they have with their clients. Organizations vary, for example, in the authorized responses they have to a claimant’s situation. In the simplest case, the official makes a dichotomous (yes/no) decision, such as is approximated by eligibility decisions for the standardized cash grants of most public benefits programs.

Abrahamson 1999), the notion of the “three worlds” has endured. LINKING WELFARE CASEWORKER DECISION MAKING 31 Because social assistance recipients generally represent state/family/market failures, there is an evident relationship between the larger welfare state program environment and social assistance. The more protective the rest of the social security system is, the fewer the recipients on social assistance. Thus, for example, in liberal welfare states, where the safety net is relatively thin, the salience of welfare (in terms of the percentage of population receiving it and its proportion of social security expenditures) is much higher.

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Agents of the Welfare State: How Caseworkers Respond to Need in the United States, Germany, and Sweden by Christopher J. Jewell (auth.)


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