Date of Award


Publication Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name



Sociology and Anthropology

First Advisor

Holosko, M. J.


Social Work.




This exploratory study examined perceptions of practice effectiveness among twenty-five (N = 25) experienced social workers in Windsor and Essex County. The sample was composed of front line social workers with BSWs and/or MSWs in a variety of human service settings. Using a qualitative design, open-ended interviews covered the following aspects of practice effectiveness: defining effectiveness, research, practice issues, organizational settings and the professional context. Since the sample size was small and regionally limited, generalizability of findings was questionable. Yet, recurrent trends and themes emerged which provided knowledge about the subject matter and the impetus for further research. Major findings revealed that: (1) social workers' primary perception of effectiveness was based on client outcomes and satisfaction with service; (2) social workers' effectiveness was evaluated in informal ways based on quantitative rather than qualitative dimensions of service; (3) most organizational settings did not allow for autonomous and creative practice, thereby potentially impeding effectiveness; (4) most practitioners do not use research in their practice yet understood the need for it; (5) social workers participated in a number of activities to enhance their effectiveness and were cognizant of their individual areas in which to improve; and (6) workers had a number of qualitative criteria by which they saw themselves as effective. Main recommendations are: (1) social workers must evaluate their effectiveness within and without the context of the multi-disciplinary team; (2) social workers must be more aware and motivated to participate in research endeavors; (3) human service organizations must incorporate a participatory management model to enhance effectiveness; and (4) organizations should encourage and foster the use of supervision, peer supervision and consultation. Implications are directed toward practitioners (both BSWs and MSWs), social work educators, supervisors and administrators. Paper copy at Leddy Library: Theses & Major Papers - Basement, West Bldg. / Call Number: Thesis1994 .D877. Source: Masters Abstracts International, Volume: 34-02, page: 0600. Adviser: Michael J. Holosko. Thesis (M.Sw.)--University of Windsor (Canada), 1994.