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The dialectics between specialization and integration: politicians' and managers' views on forms of organization in the Swedish social services
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.
2011 (English)In: Administration in Social Work, ISSN 0364-3107, E-ISSN 1544-4376, Vol. 35, no 1, 60-87 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This study is based on interviews with politicians and managers responsible for the personal social services (PSS) in Swedish municipalities with three different organizational models (specialized, integrated, or combined). The aim was to understand the factors that influence organizational processes within the PSS, and how different organizational models affect social workers' interventions. The main results are summarized in a heuristic model that presents a number of fundamental intra-organizational factors that influence the organizing of the personal social services.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Taylor & Francis, 2011. Vol. 35, no 1, 60-87 p.
Keyword [en]
social work, social services, organisations, specialisation, integration, holism, devolution
National Category
Social Work
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-37551DOI: 10.1080/03643107.2011.533624ISI: 000286817400005OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-37551DiVA: diva2:361205
Projects
Specialisering eller integration av socialtjänstens individ- och familjeomsorg. Effekter på insatser och resultat.
Note

Originally published in thesis with the title: "The dialectics between specialisation and integration: politicians' and managers' views on forms of organisation in the Swedish social services".

Available from: 2010-11-08 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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