Impacts of the Neoliberalization of Society on the Direction of Evaluation and Supervision in Social Work: Reflections on Contemporary Practices between the Living World and the System

Katerina Mikulcova, Ivana Kowalikova, Veronika Mia Zegzulkova, Lenka Caletkova, Marek Mikulec

OBJECTIVES: The article seeks to answer the following: What concrete impact does the neoliberalization of society have on the development of evaluation and supervision in social work? THEORETICAL BASES: Social work, connected with the development of society, struggles with the ideas of neoliberalism and economizing influences, and is governed by the laws of the free market. Simultaneously, it is forced to constantly defend its legitimacy and competitiveness and to exert pressure for the efficient, standardized performance of social workers. This perspective legitimizes the positivist-aligned form of evaluation techniques and supervision at the expense of the mission of organizations: workers’ needs; space for building relationships with clients and developing critical reflection in the professional and practical spheres. METHODS: The answer is the result of a theoretical analysis of available resources from the field of supervision, responsive evaluation and positivist-aligned evaluation based on standards. RESULTS: As part of the analysis of professional texts, we revealed a similar trend of the formation of two opposing currents in evaluation and supervision in social work, which can be theoretically framed in Habermas’ perspective of differences between the living world and the system. IMPLICATIONS FOR SOCIAL WORK: Critically-informed supervisory practice and evaluation have the potential for supporting reflective approaches to clients, for forming strategies for social change and increasing the prestige of the profession.

responsive evaluation, supervision, evaluation based on standards, the real world, system

p. 32-44

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