Workers in the human services face some of society's most challenging situations every day. Poverty, violence, mental illness, addiction and self-harm - experienced on an intimate scale - are all part of an expected routine along with constant administrative and technical workloads. Human service workers' decisions affect the lives of some of society's most disadvantaged: children, poor, the aged and those in secure care. These workers have to decide whether or not to remove children from their parents, who should receive scant resources, and how best to counsel people in severe difficulty, including domestic violence and abusive situations. This book shows how one large human service organisation systematically investigated the occupational strain and efficacy of its workforce, leading to a rational intervention plan which was broadly supported by management and workers alike. It is an essential text for those involved in the development of human service policy and the management of social workers, counsellors, youth workers, and psychologists. Human service practitioners and those interested in organisational development and in the engineering of a human service work environment, that is both healthy and productive, will also find the book of immense value. Using a participatory action research design, this book fills a gap in the literature, exploring both academic and local theory in the development of an intervention plan to reduce occupational strain, and enhance efficacy.
`This book gives an in-depth view on job strain and its negative consequences in human services jobs that is firmly based on a unique blend of case material and survey data.'
Prof. Wilmar Schaufeli, Utrecht University