Article

Transition and Metaphor: Crossing a Bridge from Direct Practice to First Line Management in Social Services

Citation

Patterson F (2015) Transition and Metaphor: Crossing a Bridge from Direct Practice to First Line Management in Social Services. British Journal of Social Work, 45 (7), pp. 2072-2088. https://doi.org/10.1093/bjsw/bcu034

Abstract
Moving from direct practice into first line management in social services is a common transition. It is not a trivial change of role however and evokes challenges on both a personal and professional level. While some demands can be foreseen, newly promoted managers may feel unprepared for the shift in identity which occurs alongside the responsibilities of a new position. There can be a sense of needing to ‘hit the ground running' which promotes action rather than reflection. The felt pressure to demonstrate competence makes it hard to acknowledge doubt and uncertainty. Over the past five years delivering a post-qualifying Certificate in Management in Social Services, it has been evident that participants value the opportunity to reflect on the continuities and fractures between practitioner and managerial identities. Their experiences shared in course discussions, action learning sets and reflective assignments include imagery capturing the emotional as well as the rational dimensions of transition. This paper develops the concept of a bridge spanning the divide between direct practice and first line management. Metaphors taken from management literature as well as from teaching and learning activities are used to explore and make sense of the challenges encountered by newly promoted managers in social services.

Keywords
Management; organisation; reflective practice; supervision

Journal
British Journal of Social Work: Volume 45, Issue 7

StatusPublished
Publication date31/10/2015
Publication date online04/2014
Date accepted by journal01/02/2014
URLhttp://hdl.handle.net/1893/20084
PublisherOxford University Press
ISSN0045-3102