The Managerial Nature of Case Management


The article discusses how case managers in social work engage in the practice of management. The article presents factors which contribute to the increased attention to case management. The case manager is compared with managers in general, the properties of case managers are delineated, the complexities of managerial work are outlined, and the importance of improved case management is discussed. Circumstances unique to case management, such as large caseloads, varied expectations on the substance of case management, and organizational barriers, are discussed. Nevertheless, the fundamental objective of this article is to provide case managers with a different way of looking at the nature of their work. Much of the development of case management thinking has focused on its networking aspect. Specifically, definitions of case management speak to the linkages between clients to be served and the service delivery system. The literature in organization theory has reached consensus on the concept of management and the task of managers. The role of a case manager includes interpersonal roles. Every manager must perform some duties that are ceremonial in nature. Chief executive officers attend grand openings of distributors or introduce a speaker at a banquet.


School of Social Work

Document Type





case management, management tasks, managers, organizations.

Publication Date


Journal Title

Social Work