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Different worlds within Swedish personal social services: social worker’s views on conditions for client work in different organisational models
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.
2012 (English)In: Social Work & Society, ISSN 1613-8953, E-ISSN 1613-8953, Vol. 10, no 2, 1-18 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The article presents a study of the personal social services’ (PSS) organisation and economy as conditions for social workers’ assessments of needs and appropriate interventions. One central aim was to study how different organisation models affect social workers’ client work, especially concerning possibilities to establish supportive relationships with the clients.

The study includes all staff in the PSS in three Swedish municipalities (n=247) with different organisation models: a specialised organisation, an integrated (generic) organisation as well as a combined organisation with elements of both specialisation and integration. Data collection used an on-line survey questionnaire which allowed various types of data, including relatively in-depth qualitative data. Consequently both quantitative and qualitative analysis methods were used.

The results reveal significant differences between the studied organisations. Neither the specialised organisation nor the combined one is able to create sufficient economic or organisational conditions for working with clients. This also holds true for assessment of needs and possibilities to make appropriate interventions, such as establishing working alliances. Social workers in the integrated organisation, on the contrary, to a high extent report adequate conditions for assessments of needs and interventions. This organisation hence appears as more advantageous than the combined and the specialised.

It is also striking that social workers in the specialised organisation perceive the organisation as not being focused on supportive relationships with clients, and sometimes as a direct obstacle. The specialised organisation is also characterised by substantial workload, social workers’ lack of time for their clients and discontinuity.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. Vol. 10, no 2, 1-18 p.
Keyword [en]
social workers, generic social work, specialisation, client work, organisation models, personal social services, interventions, effects
National Category
Social Work
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-37548OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-37548DiVA: diva2:361177
Projects
Specialisering eller integration av socialtjänstens individ- och familjeomsorg. Effekter på insatser och resultat.
Available from: 2013-04-10 Created: 2010-11-08 Last updated: 2017-12-12Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Skilda världar: specialisering eller integration i socialtjänstens individ- och familjeomsorg
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Skilda världar: specialisering eller integration i socialtjänstens individ- och familjeomsorg
2010 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The general objective of this dissertation is to describe and analyse how specialised respective integrated forms of organisation in the Swedish Personal Social Services (PSS) condition social workers’ interventions and client effects (outcomes). The three specific questions are: 1) How are structural conditions for social work with clients created in specialised versus integrated (generic) forms of organising PSS? 2) How do social workers carry out their work with clients in specialised versus integrated (generic) PSS-organisations? 3) How do different organisational models of PSS  influence the results for clients?

The research was conducted in three Swedish municipalities with different organisational models within the personal social services: 1) specialised organisation, 2) integrated organisation, and 3) a “combined” organisation with a mix between integration and specialisation.

The research had a complex design. It was carried on as comparative case study. Data was collected in several different ways: 1) by means of survey among social workers, 2) by interviewing politicians, mangers and social workers, 3) focus groups consisting of social workers, 4) by collecting official documents, guidelines etc. 5) by mapping of the organisation of social services in the municipalities by means of analyse of their homepages and additional interviews by telephone.  The data were analysed using both qualitative and quantitative methods.

The main results in this dissertation are: 1) In the majority of Swedish municipalities the PSS are nowadays specialized. 2) The formal organizational structure of PSS is always challenged by the employees’ spontaneous organising process that goes in an opposite direction. 3) Only the integrated (generic) organisation emphasizes social workers professional competence and knowledge. 4) Social workers, as a professional group, have the collective power to (to a certain degree) influence political decisions on what kind of PSS organisation is chosen in their municipality. 5) Regardless of organisation model, social workers’ method use is more unspecific than specific. 6) Social workers, in general, place significantly more weight on working with clients’ relationships and aspects of trust than on (specific or unspecific) working methods. 7) A holistic (generic) view of a client can only exist in a direct relationship between social worker and the individual and a unique client. It seems difficult to build in holism into primarily specialised organisations. 8) One may question whether a specialised organisation leads to specialisation of its employees in a way that they become experts on specific problems.

The three organisational models are not equally good. Neither the specialised organisation nor the combined organisation is able to create economic or organisational conditions for working with clients that are clearly experienced as good. This also holds true for assessment of need, possibilities to make relevant interventions, such as building relationships. Those two organisations show several deficits regarding work with clients.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå universitet, 2010. 110 p.
Series
Studier i socialt arbete vid Umeå universitet : avhandlings- och skriftserie, ISSN 0283-300X ; 66
Keyword
social work, personal social services, client work, organisation, profession, knowledge, specialisation, integration, holism, genericism, Social work, personal social services, client work, organisation, profession, knowledge, specialisation, integration, holism, genericism, socialt arbete, IFO, lientarbete, organisationer, professioner, kunskap, specialisering, interration, holism, genericism
National Category
Social Work
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-37663 (URN)978-91-7459-101-9 (ISBN)
Public defence
2010-12-10, Hörsal E, Humanisthuset, Umeå, 10:00 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Projects
Specialisering eller integration av socialtjänstens individ- och familjeomsorg. Effekter på insatser och resultat.
Available from: 2010-11-19 Created: 2010-11-11 Last updated: 2010-11-19Bibliographically approved

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http://nbn-resolving.de/urn:nbn:de:hbz:464-sws-287http://www.socwork.net/sws/article/view/341/678

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Perlinski, MarekBlom, BjörnMorén, Stefan

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