Date of Award

Fall 9-17-2019

Document Type


Degree Name

D.S.W. Social work


Social Work

First Advisor

John Conahan, PhD

Second Advisor

Janice Gasker, DSW

Third Advisor

Yasoda Sharma, PhD


Higher education, like many industries, is facing a staggering leadership gap as many educators plan to retire (Bailyn, 2014). As a result, social work education is called upon to respond to the need for emerging social workers to help fill the leadership positions as executive leadership retires en masse(Stewart, 2016). Leadership and management competencies are two separate and often competing skillsets. Managers plan and complete tasks related to an organization’s goals, while leaders inspire people and communicate a vision (Weinbach & Taylor, 2015; Wimpfheimer, 2004). Social work educators need both management and leadership skills to be prepared to face the gap internally, as well as through the delivery of education to social work students. The current situation is compounded by intersectionality. Relatively fewer members of historically marginalized groups are represented in executive leadership positions (Richardson & Loubier, 2008). The purpose of this study was to examine social work educators’ perceptions of their leadership and management competencies while considering social identity factors, including gender identity, race/ethnicity, sexual orientation, age, ability, and work factors of education, mentorship, training experience, and years of experience.A review of the literature demonstrates the current state of social work, social work education, and leadership and management competency in these settings. An online survey was administered to assess social work educators’ perceptions of leadership and management competencies, their related practice experiences, and demographic and work factors. Empirical analysis explored social workers educators’ perceived leadership and management competencies. Because of the role power plays in leadership and among social work educators, feminist theory provided a lens for analysis and discussion. This study revealedstatistically significant findings that educators perceived their leadership competency to be higher than their management competency. Educators who were older demonstrated significantly higher levels of leadership and management competencies than younger respondents. White respondents also showed significantly higher levels of perceived management competency than respondents who identified as people of color. Finally, individuals with formal leadership and management training showed higher perceived competency scores.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.

Included in

Social Work Commons


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