Mark S. Preston

Assistant Professor of Social Work


Dr. Mark Preston’s scholarly interests include work stress, work motivation, and managerial behavior.  His research focuses on enhancing the well-being and practice effectiveness of direct service and managerial staff in not-for-profit and public sector organizations.  Dr. Preston has over ten years of professional experience in the fields of child welfare, public assistance, and mental health.  His practice experience as an administrator, manager, supervisor, and direct-service worker encompasses public sector, private sector, and not-for-profit human service organizations in Arizona and Alaska.

Research Interests:

  • Child welfare
  • Leadership, human services management, and public management
  • Management training
  • Organizational behavior and theory
  • Work stress and work motivation

Current Grants & Projects:

  • The interactive effects of task complexity, instrumental feedback, and task control on worker well-being
  • Work stress in county-based public welfare and child welfare agencies
  • Methodological rigor in social work management research


  • 2009-2010 Diversity Research Fellowship, Columbia University
  • 2007-08 Best Dissertation Award, Department of Public Administration and Policy, University at Albany, State University of New York
  • 2007-08 Best Dissertation Award Nominee, Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management (APPAM)

Selected Publications & Presentations:

Journal Articles

Preston, M. S. (in revision). Karasek’s job demands-control model: The strain-buffering effects of instrumental feedback as a second-order moderator. Journal of Organizational Behavior.

Preston, M. S. (2009). Does office location influence the work actions of public sector human service managers?: The effects of rural practice settings on core managerial role competencies. American Review of Public Administration, 39(6), 640-660.

Preston, M. S. (2008). The direct effects of field of practice on core managerial role competencies: A study across three types of public sector human service agencies. Administration in Social Work, 32(3), 63-83.

Preston, M. S. (2005). Child welfare management training: Towards a pedagogically sound curriculum. Administration in Social Work, 29(4), 89-111.

Preston, M. S. (2004). Mandatory management training for newly hired child welfare supervisors: A divergence between management research and training practice. Administration in Social Work, 28(2), 81-97.


Preston, M. S. (2011). Instrumental feedback versus social support:  Comparing the strain-buffering effects of two types of supervisory behaviors. Presented at the International Conference on Occupational Stress and Health, Orlando, FL.

Preston, M. S. (2011). Positive work sffect under heightened job demands: Comparing two conceptualizations of instrumental feedback. Presented at the Society of Social Work Research Conference, Tampa, FL.

Preston, M. S. (2010). Task interdependence: Its direct and indirect effects on psychological strain within a job demands, job control, instrumental feedback framework. Presented at the International Work, Well-being, and Performance Conference in Sheffield, England.

Preston, M. S. (2009). Karasek’s Job Demands-Control Model: A multi-method study on the motivational affects of instrumental feedback. Presented at the International Conference on Occupational Stress and Health, San Juan, Puerto Rico.