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The reasoning and conditions underpinning intervention design: a social worker perspective
Ersta Sköndal Bräcke University College, Department of Social Sciences, Institute for Research on Conditions, Organisation and Outcomes of Social Work.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-7116-5601
2022 (English)In: Nordic Social Work Research, ISSN 2156-857X, E-ISSN 2156-8588, Vol. 12, no 5, p. 763-777Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In social work, the methods for achieving policy goals are often subject to local and case-by-case autonomy. This autonomy enables the design of interventions intended to meet policy goals to be negotiated between multiple actors, which are underpinned by diverse logics and interests and to be influenced by local organizational conditions. This article presents empirical findings from case studies taken from the child welfare departments of three Swedish municipalities, exploring how various patterns of reasoning (social workers’ own reasoning and their experiences of other actors’ reasoning) and local organizational conditions influenced the design of interventions. The study resulted in three findings: First, social workers mainly used collective experiences to formulate common approaches to intervention design proposals. Second, social workers’ intervention proposals were negotiated with various actors, whose focuses and interests differed, before being formalized, with clients mainly focusing on implementation feasibility and intervention needs, managers mainly focusing on procurement contracts and intervention costs, and laypersons mainly focusing on community interests. Third, the local availability and range of interventions constituted a considerable limitation for intervention design, since interventions to address recurrently identified client needs were frequently missing.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2022. Vol. 12, no 5, p. 763-777
Keywords [en]
Discretion, Decision-making, Intervention method
National Category
Social Work
Research subject
The Individual in the Welfare Society, Social Welfare and the Civil Society
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:esh:diva-8288DOI: 10.1080/2156857X.2021.1880469OAI: oai:DiVA.org:esh-8288DiVA, id: diva2:1458205
Funder
Swedish Research Council, 2014-1577
Note

Publication status in dissertation: Submitted

Available from: 2020-08-14 Created: 2020-08-14 Last updated: 2023-06-30Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. The reasoning behind social work intervention design
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The reasoning behind social work intervention design
2020 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

In social work, the methods for achieving policy goals are often subject to some degree of local and case-by-case autonomy. This autonomy enables the design of interventions to be negotiated between different actors, which are underpinned by diverse logics, interests, and knowledge-bases. This dissertation explores the reasoning behind social work intervention design. The study focused on how involved actors reason when they deliberate on which design to choose inindividual cases, including how different forms of knowledge and local organizational conditions affect the choice of design. The aim was to develop comprehensive knowledge about social work intervention design that is not limited to the influence of a single actor, knowledge form, decision-making model, or specific organizational condition. The study found that professional experiential knowledge and the local availability and range of intervention forms are the most significant factors shaping the design and customization of intervention. Furthermore, the study found that the local range of intervention forms is not based on professional analysis, but rather developed randomly and subject to managerial control. Client experiences can be significant if social workers assess their desires as credible and sustainable, or if clients are highly motivated or have had success in the past with the intended form of intervention. Several other factors of significance exist, but to a lesser degree or in a smaller proportion of the studied municipalities, such as financial constraints, the community interest of laypersons, and research findings. Regarding the use of research-based knowledge, there seems to be a decoupling between management and street-level. Social work managers described research-based knowledge,evidence-based practice, professional experiential knowledge, procurement, and legislation as the most significant factors of treatment deliberation.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Ersta Sköndal Bräcke University College, 2020. p. 193
Series
Avhandlingsserie inom området Människan i välfärdssamhället, ISSN 2003-3699 ; 6
Keywords
Decision-making, problem-solving, discretion, social work
National Category
Social Work
Research subject
The Individual in the Welfare Society, Social Welfare and the Civil Society
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:esh:diva-8289 (URN)978-91-985808-6-0 (ISBN)
Public defence
2020-09-18, Aulan, Campus Ersta, 13:00
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2020-08-24 Created: 2020-08-14 Last updated: 2023-09-22Bibliographically approved

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