Master of Social Sciences
(Social Service Management)

Director's Message


In the social service sector, management is crucial to ensuring the quality and efficiency of service delivery to the public. The multifaceted aspects of management include corporate governance, strategic planning, human and financial resources, leadership, the use of information technology, risk and change management, and, more recently, sustainability and impact assessment. Social service management differs from business management in having a social dimension that emphasises social values rather than profit-making. Yet, performance-driven management and marketisation are of increasing concern in the social service sector, which is rendering social service management increasingly complex and challenging.

In the Hong Kong context, the lump sum grant subvention system, service contract system, competitive funding environment, recent expansions in child, youth and elderly services, cross-sectoral partnership and collaboration, and high turnover of middle- to top-level management all pose both challenges and opportunities for social service development, with multiple directions being explored in addition to finding ways to improve existing service delivery systems.

The programme of MSocSc in SSM (MSSM)looks for students with strong potential and ambition for career advancement in the social service field. It provides them with a collaborative learning environment that exposes them to a variety of managerial issues and challenges and empowers them with knowledge and leadership training to drive impactful social change and development.

Dr. Frances Law
PhD, MSW, BSocSc, RSW
Associate Professor

Introduction

Opportunities and challenges

  • More than 150 local NGOs currently receive a regular funding subvention from the government, with aggregate annual funding totalling in excess of HK$14 billion.
  • There is increasing competition amongst agencies to deliver better service quality and obtain more funding support.
  • Emerging solutions and social innovations are anticipated to help to resolve the problems arising from an ageing population.
  • The rapidly changing socioeconomic environment calls for the application of new technologies.

Significance to MSocSc(SSM) Programme

  • We anticipate increasing demand for familiarity with the organisations working in the sector and greater availability of good sources of quality and relevant experience .
  • There is substantial demand for training offered on a part-time basis to local middle- to senior-level managers.

Objectives

The social service sector demands managerial staff who embody management knowledge in a host of areas, including human resources, finance, fundraising, marketing, organisational management, strategic management, social policy and administration, research and evaluation, and the use of information technology in service delivery, to name just a few. The MSSM programme prepares social service managers to meet the challenges that human service organisations face today and will face in the future.

Salient Features

The social service sector demands managerial staff who can take responsibility for particular tasks, including, for example, launching fundraising campaigns, promoting community relations, and applying information and communication technology. The programme curriculum has been regularly enriched to meet these professional demands since 2005. In addition to the following highlighted compulsory courses, students are offered an abundance of choice in selecting elective courses from various disciplines.

Complulsory Courses

  1. Theoretical foundation of human service practice The knowledge base of human service practice comes from a wide spectrum of social science disciplines, including psychology, sociology, and political science. This course provides a philosophical and conceptual basis for analysing social problems and issues and translating theoretical constructs into human service practice.

  2. Organisational analysis and strategic organisational management The aim of this course is to equip the managers of human service organisations with the strategic management knowledge they need to deal with the challenges arising from today’s rapidly changing public and social service scene. The course topics may include strategic planning, quality management, risk management, change management, and business process re-engineering, amongst others.

Elective Courses

  1. Fundraising and proposal development Securing funds for social services has become increasingly competitive, with NGOs seeking to diversify their sources of funding to reduce their reliance on any single income source. Raising funds and writing proposals have become regular activities for NGOs. This course covers such topics as concepts of philanthropy, understanding giving behaviour (including annual giving and capital giving), the cost-effectiveness of various fundraising activities, the use of volunteers, building prospect relationships, stewardship (accountability and reporting), the ethical issues of fundraising, making a business case for new initiatives, obtaining grants, and project support.

  2. Marketing social welfare programmes and promoting community relations As social welfare organisations increasingly adopt the business model of practice, it is becoming increasingly important that they promote their relationship and communication with ‘customers’ or service users effectively by marketing their ‘products’ and improving community relations. This course provides students with basic marketing and community relations techniques, with special emphasis on the social service sector.

  3. Information and communication technology for human service organisations Information and communication technology is now indispensable machinery for any organisation. This course examines the utilisation of information technology and computers in social service agencies. The major areas of study include (1) a review of the trends in computerised information use in human service agencies; (2) an exploration of frequently used software in human services; and (3) the ethics of using information technology and computers in human services.

Learning Outcomes

After completion of this two-year part-time intensive programme, students are expected to exhibit the following:

  • Critical intellectual inquiry skills and the up-to-date knowledge and research skills needed in the management of social service organisations
  • Ability to apply social service management knowledge and research skills to practice or theoretical exploration, demonstrating originality and creativity
  • Ability to tackle novel situations and ill-defined problems in the management of social service organisations
  • Collaboration and communication skills needed to convey social service management knowledge to social service specialists and the general public
  • Awareness of and adherence to personal and social service professional ethics
  • Enhanced leadership and advocacy skills in social services and social policy