Resistance In and Outside the Workplace: Ethical Practice and Managerialism in the Voluntary Sector
Drawing on comparative international data from Canada and Australia, this chapter looks at a number of practice examples to explore some of the ways that social workers struggle to incorporate their commitment to social justice into increasingly managerialised work in the voluntary sector. Though the voluntary sector has long thought of itself as an arena in which workers have opportunities to build close ties with communities, participate strongly in agency decision making, and advocate for socially excluded and exploited peoples, new forms of workplace organisation imposed by government funding have reduced or removed many of the opportunities for these kinds of practices. Instead, social workers are increasingly required to follow tight scripted practices and meet performance targets rather than building the capacity of service users and communities to defend and expand their rights. The vignettes show that practitioners maintain their sense of integrity and ethics through ongoing resistance within and outside the workplace. The chapter concludes with a discussion of ways to foster critical thought and resistance as central components of social justice practice and ethics.