Administrative and management functions of welfare officers.
Dlamini, Sibusiso Moffat.
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The study which is documented in this dissertation was undertaken to portray primarily, the involvement of welfare officers in the performance of administrative and management functions. The period during which the study was conducted, that is, prior to the postapartheid era, was very significant. The significance of the research period was in the sense that welfare officers of the former KwaZulu Government who were interviewed, were already critically evaluating their functions and work situation. The study provided a medium whereby welfare officers expressed the perceptions of their real and present, as well as their ideal and envisaged work situation, in the context of the post-apartheid environment. The study took cogmsance of the welfare officers' performance of their functions as public servants in the field of public administration. In the above context, the study viewed public administration as a vast field of work consisting of a number of main function-groups namely: (i) The generic administrative functions each of which has two dimensions that is: (a) the conceptual (initiatory and innovative) and directive dimension and (b) the managerial dimension. (ii) The auxiliary functions (iii) The line functions - also referred to as functional activities. Although the study focused on administrative and management functions which are reported separately, it should be noted that like in any public institution, both dimensions of generic administrative functions of welfare officers are performed along with the functional, auxiliary and instrumental activities. The ultimate aim of public administration, which is also recognised by this study, is the promotion of the general welfare of the community. The study has realised the fact that welfare officers were significant promoters of the community's welfare. For being promoters of the welfare of the community, welfare officers have the responsibility and the obligation to commit themselves to the observation of normative guidelines to ensure that their service delivery is effective and efficient. In line with the above statement, the welfare officers' observation of current and future normative factors features prominently in this study. Although responses on current and future normative factors are presented separately in this report, this study acknowledges the significance of welfare officers integrated approach to the observation of and commitment to both current and future normative guidelines. Apart from the listed examples of interviewees' involvement in performing their functions, and advantages of observing normative guidelines, detailed accounts of what were perceived as obstacles are also presented. Responses, remarks and ideas expressed by interviewees provided adequate information on which the researcher based his conclusions and recommendations. The apparent merit of this study is in its depiction and revelations of the extent and magnitude of welfare officers' functions, responsibilities, commitments and obligations. Another favourable and notable feature of the study is the fact that it was conveniently timed at an opportune transitional period whereby both the current and future work environments of welfare officers could be critically assessed, evaluated, and possibly amended.