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Uppdrag standardisering: införande och användning av manualbaserade utrednings- och bedömningsverktyg i socialtjänsten
Linnaeus University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.
2018 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This thesis addresses the issue of standardization in social work. Standardization is a necessary and fascinating, though underestimated, phenomenon, which governs, regulates and calibrates social life. In Swedish social services, we have witnessed an increased use of top-down imposed manual-based tools for investigative and assessment work. In human service organisations, such as social services, this raises questions about social workers’ control in terms of how work should be executed as well as the implications of standardization for professional discretion. The aim of this thesis is to investigate and understand standardization as a phenomenon, focusing on its consequences for social work as a profession and a field of practice.The thesis consists of four papers investigating the implementation and execution of manual-based assessment tools (BBIC, FREDA and SARA) in social services. The empirical material is based on interviews with a total of 68 social workers, managers, politicians and officials as well as documents and observations of risk assessment events. Each paper results from the analysis of an exclusive data set, with the concepts used in the analysis coming from theories of professions and organisations.The results show that increased standardization is a way for social workers to seek legitimacy as well as to claim jurisdiction and increase professionalism. The execution of the tools in social work is conditioned by significant key implementation factors in organisational contexts as well as the compatibility between the construction of tools and users’ needs and expectations. Along with previous research and theory, the results from the four papers are used to develop a tentative taxonomy of different discretionary positions that social workers can take with regards to standards in their practice. Those positions illustrate that it is not straightforward how the increased standardization of investigative and assessment work will impact professional discretion. It is argued that a balance between standardization and professional discretion is possible.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linnaeus University Press, 2018. , p. 93
Series
Linnaeus University Dissertations ; 316
Keywords [en]
standardization, social work, profession, assessments, discretion, jurisdiction
National Category
Social Work
Research subject
Social Sciences, Social Work
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-71738ISBN: 978-91-88761-48-4 (electronic)ISBN: 978-91-88761-47-7 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:lnu-71738DiVA, id: diva2:1192327
Public defence
2018-04-13, Växjö, 10:15 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2018-03-22 Created: 2018-03-22 Last updated: 2018-03-22Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Executing standardization tools in social work: A case study of the Swedish version of the Integrated Children’s System.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Executing standardization tools in social work: A case study of the Swedish version of the Integrated Children’s System.
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This article reports findings from a case study exploring how a Swedish standardisation tool is executed in everyday social work practice. The tool in question is the Swedish version of the UK-based Integrated Children’s System (ICS), which in Sweden is known as Children’s Needs in Focus (Barns Behov i Centrum; BBIC). The study analyses group and individual interviews with social workers, managers, and politicians using concepts from implementation research and the microsociological concept of accounts. The findings demonstrate how participants account for their deviations from the BBIC manual and from the more informal intentions of the tool. Such deviations are conditioned by the fact that professionals often employ their own discretion in their work, which is necessarily inherent in human service occupations such as social work. Although the BBIC was initially well received, reception by professionals eventually turned to scepticism and a more critical stance. This can be attributed to both a lack of significant implementation conditions and key organizational factors and a lack of compatibility between the tool’s construction and the users’ needs and expectations. This article also discusses implications of these findings.

Keywords
Social work, Standardisation tools, Integrated Children’s System, Discretionary space, Implementation
National Category
Social Work
Research subject
Social Sciences, Social Work
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-71736 (URN)
Available from: 2018-03-22 Created: 2018-03-22 Last updated: 2018-03-27Bibliographically approved
2. The standardizers: social workers' role when implementing assessment tools in the Swedish social services
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The standardizers: social workers' role when implementing assessment tools in the Swedish social services
2018 (English)In: Nordic Social Work Research, ISSN 2156-857X, E-ISSN 2156-8588, Vol. 8, no 1, p. 88-99Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Standardisation and standards are common in the modern world, including in social work. This article focuses on social workers who implement the assessment tool Children’s needs in focus (Barns behov i centrum BBIC) in Swedish social work with children and families. Inspired by ‘siblings’ in the UK, the National Board of Health and Welfare has developed and supported the implementation of the BBIC. From the start, the implementation strategy was to engage well-educated and experienced social workers as educators. The article studies these educators (standardizers) as mediators between national imperatives and local practice during the implementation of the BBIC in the social services. Based on interviews with 10 BBIC educators, three standardizer roles were identified: the instrumental, the adaptive and the transformative. These roles affect the practice of social work in potentially different ways.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Taylor & Francis, 2018
Keywords
Standardisation, social work, professionalism, implementation, BBIC
National Category
Social Work
Research subject
Social Sciences, Social Work
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-61918 (URN)10.1080/2156857X.2017.1309678 (DOI)
Available from: 2017-03-28 Created: 2017-03-28 Last updated: 2018-03-22Bibliographically approved
3. The pursuit of standardization in domestic violence social work: A multiple case study of how the idea of using risk assessment tools is manifested and processed in the Swedish social services
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The pursuit of standardization in domestic violence social work: A multiple case study of how the idea of using risk assessment tools is manifested and processed in the Swedish social services
2019 (English)In: Qualitative Social Work, ISSN 1473-3250, E-ISSN 1741-3117, Vol. 18, no 3, p. 458-474Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This multiple case study examines how the idea of using risk assessment tools is manifested and processed in Swedish social services. Based on the analysis of interviews with different stakeholders and of organizational documents in two social service organizations, we investigate the actors who control local risk assessment practices. The findings illustrate that a relatively small group of social workers in the organizations have been able to forward their claims and decide how risk assessment work should be carried out without much intrusion from local managers or politicians. The findings also validate other studies that found that increased standardization can strengthen social workers’ ability to perform their professional task rather than lead to de-professionalization. This article ends with a discussion of what risk assessment practices might mean for domestic violence victims.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Sage Publications, 2019
Keywords
Domestic violence, risk, social work practice, risk assessment, jurisdiction, control
National Category
Social Work
Research subject
Social Sciences, Social Work
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-68602 (URN)10.1177/1473325017739461 (DOI)000469827500009 ()
Available from: 2017-11-03 Created: 2017-11-03 Last updated: 2019-06-25Bibliographically approved
4. Att göra en FREDA: Riskbedömningens logiker i arbetet med mäns våld mot kvinnor
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Att göra en FREDA: Riskbedömningens logiker i arbetet med mäns våld mot kvinnor
(Swedish)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [sv]

De senaste två decennierna har socialarbetares bedömningsarbete i klientärenden inom flera verksamhetsområden varit föremål för ökad uppmärksamhet. Professionens förmåga att genomföra precisa och likvärdiga bedömningar har ifrågasatts. Ett sätt att söka förbättra bedömningsarbetet har varit att standardisera utförandet genom implementering av olika typer av riskbedömningsverktyg. I denna artikel beskrivs och analyseras hur socialarbetare resonerar i riskbedömningssituationer som rör sju kvinnor som utsatts för våld av en man de haft en nära relation till. De riskbedömningar som studerats har genomförts med hjälp av det standardiserade bedömningsverktyget FREDA. Analysen blottlägger tre logiker i detta arbete; missbrukslogiken, normaliseringslogiken och säkerhetslogiken. Logikerna visar att socialarbetares överläggningar och bedömningar inte på ett rätlinjigt sätt styrs av det standardiserade verktyget utan att en förhandling av risk sker även utifrån andra kunskapskällor. Även om standardisering kan betraktas som ett sätt för professionella att eftersträva ett mer säkert socialt arbete så bejakar de deltagande socialarbetarna i sina resonemang samtidigt den osäkerhet som är förknippad med riskbedömningsarbete där framtida våld ska prediceras. Detta kan få konsekvenser för hur de våldsutsatta förväntas leva sina liv.

National Category
Social Work
Research subject
Social Sciences, Social Work
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-71737 (URN)
Available from: 2018-03-22 Created: 2018-03-22 Last updated: 2018-05-02Bibliographically approved

Open Access in DiVA

Doctoral Thesis (Comprehensive Summary)(3178 kB)276 downloads
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