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Arbetsvillkor i den sociala barnavården: förutsättningar för ett kvalificerat arbete
Stockholms universitet, Institutionen för socialt arbete - Socialhögskolan.
2008 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This thesis describes and analyzes the working conditions of child welfare social workers who responded to a comprehensive questionnaire (n=309, dropout rate 3 per cent).

In Study 1, the working conditions of social workers new to the profession (0-2 years) were compared with those of social workers with longer experience. The study shows that less experienced workers were more often found working in areas characterized by worse socioeconomic conditions and in workgroups where many others were also new and inexperienced. Although they described some aspects of their working conditions more positively they tended to report more health problems.

In Study 2, working conditions of the child welfare social workers were compared with those of other professional human service workers. The study shows that although social workers in general and child welfare social workers in particular made positive assessments of their working lives, social work was unusually demanding among human service professions on several measures of workload, complexity of tasks and quality of management.

In Study 3, the associations between the child welfare social workers’ working conditions and their health and well-being were investigated, controlling for background variables. The negative consequences of high job demands, especially for psychological health and well being emerge.

In Study 4, factors associated with the social workers’ intention to leave the job were investigated. The study showed that lack of human resource orientation within the organization was of greatest importance.

The results are analyzed from two different perspectives; the effort/reward model and new institutional theory. The main conclusions are that improvement is needed of the introduction to the profession at the workplace, that the status of child protective work needs to be raised and that social workers need help to limit their responsibility load, more time and space for reflection, and greater valuation of their work.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Institutionen för socialt arbete - Socialhögskolan , 2008. , 216 p.
Keyword [sv]
social workers, working conditions, job demands, health, intention to leave
National Category
Social Work
Research subject
Social Work
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-24967ISBN: 978-91-7155-681-3 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hig-24967DiVA: diva2:1134353
Public defence
2008-06-05, Aula Svea, Socialhögskolan, Sveaplan, 10:00
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2008-05-15 Created: 2017-08-18 Last updated: 2017-08-18Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Ny i yrket men redan gammal i gården?: Arbetsvillkor för nya och mer erfarna socialsekretare i den sociala barnavården
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Ny i yrket men redan gammal i gården?: Arbetsvillkor för nya och mer erfarna socialsekretare i den sociala barnavården
2007 (English)In: Socionomens forskningssupplement, ISSN 0038-0806, E-ISSN 2374-6874, Vol. 22, no 6, 62-77 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
National Category
Social Work
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-24969 (URN)
Note

Part of urn:nbn:se:su:diva-7732

Available from: 2008-05-15 Created: 2017-08-18 Last updated: 2017-08-18Bibliographically approved
2. Working in human services: How do experiences and working conditions in child welfare social work compare?
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Working in human services: How do experiences and working conditions in child welfare social work compare?
2009 (English)In: British Journal of Social Work, ISSN 0045-3102, E-ISSN 1468-263X, Vol. 39, no 5, 807-827 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Child welfare agencies in many rich countries are having difficulty recruiting and retaining social workers. However, these problems are not unique to child welfare: retention problems have also been widely reported in both mental and general health facilities. In this paper, we compare the perceptions of work and working conditions held by child welfare social workers with the perceptions held by other professional human service workers in the public sector in Sweden. Do the social workers' experiences of their tasks or organizational conditions differ from the other groups, and, if so, how? Are workforce problems particularly acute in child welfare, or do social workers in this field share more or less common problems with other human service professionals? We found that although social workers in general, and child welfare social workers in particular, made positive assessments of some dimensions of their working lives, social work was unusually demanding among human service professions on several measures of workload, complexity of tasks and quality of management. The strains of the job that social workers expressed call upon employers to promote working conditions that offer more support, and to recognize and value social workers for their work.

Keyword
Child welfare social workers, Comparison, working conditions, Human resource orientation, Human service occupations
National Category
Social Work
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-24966 (URN)10.1093/bjsw/bcm170 (DOI)000268117000003 ()2-s2.0-68349128452 (Scopus ID)
Note

Part of urn:nbn:se:su:diva-7732

Available from: 2008-05-15 Created: 2017-08-18 Last updated: 2017-08-18Bibliographically approved
3. A professional role in transition: Swedish child welfare social workers’ descriptions of their work in 2003 and 2014
Open this publication in new window or tab >>A professional role in transition: Swedish child welfare social workers’ descriptions of their work in 2003 and 2014
2017 (English)In: British Journal of Social Work, ISSN 0045-3102, E-ISSN 1468-263XArticle in journal (Refereed) Epub ahead of print
Abstract [en]

This study is based on a follow-up in 2014 of a survey conducted in 2003 among Swedish child welfare social workers. The same questionnaire used in 2003 (n = 309) was distributed to social workers (n = 349) who, in 2014, were working with the same types of tasks as in the previously investigated areas. The overall aim was to examine and analyse how working conditions have developed over these eleven years. From the results, two general patterns emerge. The first shows a deterioration of their working conditions, with higher work demands, increased role conflicts and less possibility to influence important decisions. The intention to leave the workplace or the profession had also increased. The second overall pattern concerns the emerging changes in job content, where the work today seems to be focused on conducting investigations whereas the vast majority of the social workers in 2003 also mentioned other tasks, such as giving advice and support, as being part of their job content. Contrary to their wishes, the social workers of today seem to have less time to devote to direct contact with clients. The consequences of these changes for the professional role of social workers and for their clients are discussed.

Keyword
Child welfare, organisation, professional practice, professional role social work workplace clients
National Category
Social Work
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-22942 (URN)10.1093/bjsw/bcx016 (DOI)
Available from: 2016-12-02 Created: 2016-12-02 Last updated: 2017-08-18Bibliographically approved
4. Why are they leaving?: Factors Affecting Intention to Leave among Social Workers in Child Welfare
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Why are they leaving?: Factors Affecting Intention to Leave among Social Workers in Child Welfare
2007 (English)In: British Journal of Social Work, ISSN 0045-3102, E-ISSN 1468-263X, Vol. 37, 1225-1246 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This article addresses a topic that has not previously been researched in Sweden, i.e. factors associated with the intention of social workers to leave their place of work. A comprehensive questionnaire was distributed to 309 social workers in child welfare in the County of Stockholm (drop-out rate: 3 per cent). The study comprised a total of forty-two workgroups. All the social workers handling referrals and investigating the situation of children and youth in these areas were included. One of the most striking results was that although 54 per cent of the social workers had been at their current workplace for two years or less, 48 per cent intended to leave their jobs. A logistic regression analysis showed that the variable of greatest importance for the intention to leave the workplace was lack of human resource orientation within the organization, i.e. the extent to which personnel are rewarded for a job well done, feel well taken care of and where management is interested in their health and well-being. A final conclusion of this study is that when measuring the impact of different aspects of work tasks compared with some aspects of organizational culture, it becomes clear that the latter seem to be most important in this respect.

Keyword
social workers; child welfare; working conditions; intention to leave
National Category
Social Work
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-24970 (URN)10.1093/bjsw/bc1054 (DOI)000250649000007 ()2-s2.0-51249152184 (Scopus ID)
Note

Part of urn:nbn:se:su:diva-7732

Available from: 2008-05-15 Created: 2017-08-18 Last updated: 2017-08-21Bibliographically approved

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