The role of managers within the welfare system: how race and negative stereotypes about clients affect managers' tolerance of caseworker discretion
Master of Social Work (MSW)
Previous research studies found differences in social welfare policy implementation based on the racial and ethnical differences of clients, workers, and managers. The public perception of welfare recipients being content with living on government money and unmotivated to become self-sufficient is a central theme throughout American culture. The current study examined whether parish-level managers’ personal beliefs about their clients are associated with their tolerance of frontline staff’s discretionary practices. Additionally, the author examined the role that the race of managers plays in the personal beliefs they hold about their clients as well as their tolerance of frontline discretion. This study used cross sectional research with secondary data from an internet survey. No statistically significant relationships between negative stereotypes, discretion tolerance, and race were found. However, this study revealed that the majority of parish-level managers within the Louisiana STEP program partially blame clients for their lack of success within the program despite managers’ admission that STEP participants lacked sufficient education and transportation needed to succeed within the program. The current study also revealed that large variations, not intended in a centralized system, exist among Louisiana parishes in terms of STEP policy implementation regarding discretion.
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Picciola, Alethia Marie, "The role of managers within the welfare system: how race and negative stereotypes about clients affect managers' tolerance of caseworker discretion" (2012). LSU Master's Theses. 3667.