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The Exercise of Authority by Social Workers in a Managed Mental Health Care Organization
Journal of Progressive Human Services (2008)
  • Cassandra L. Bransford, Binghamton University--SUNY
Grounded in group relations theory, this critical ethnography identified and examined processes of authorization and deauthorization occurring among 17 social workers in two mental health centers of a large, urban Health Maintenance Organization. Authorizing processes increase an individual's authority by providing legitimating support. Deauthorizing processes decrease an individual's authority by withholding legitimating support. Data collection methods included document analysis, in-depth interviews, and focus groups. Among other findings, the study concluded that social workers may exercise their authority subversively in managed care settings. Social workers are encouraged to create supportive contexts in work environments to increase their authority.
  • Authority,
  • managed care,
  • mental health,
  • critical ethnography,
  • authorization,
  • de-authorization,
  • social work
Publication Date
September 8, 2008
Publisher Statement
This is the metadata for an article published by Taylor & Francis on September 8, 2008, available online:
Citation Information
Bransford, C.L. (2006). The exercise of authority by social workers in a managed mental health care organization: A critical ethnography. Journal of Progressive Human Services, 17(2), 63-85.