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Professional discretion and length of workexperience: what findings from focus groups withcare managers in elder care suggest
Linköping University, Department of Social and Welfare Studies, Social Work. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-9293-4932
Department of Sociology, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden.
Department of Social Science, Ersta Sköndal Bräcke University College, Stockholm, Sweden.
2018 (English)In: Journal of Social Work Practice, ISSN 0265-0533, E-ISSN 1465-3885, Vol. 32, no 2, p. 153-167Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Research has explored how care managers in elder care – who often function as ‘street-level bureaucrats’ – regard professional discretion. The way in which length of work experience affects care managers’use of professional discretion remains, however, unexplored. This article present findings from 12 focus groups with 60 care managers. By bringing attention to how care managers experience the needs assessment process, this article sheds light on how these ‘street-level bureaucrats’ struggle when they try to balance their clients’ needs against institutional frameworks and local guidelines. Length of work experience seems to play a role in how care managers claim to use professional discretion. Experienced care managers describe how they deviate from the guidelines at times in order to create an increased scope of action in their decision-making process. Those with less time in the profession describe greater difficulties in this respect. Findings suggest that research should explore if length of work experience plays a role in the actual way in which care managers assess needs and make decisions. As such, they contribute to our understanding of how needs assessment processes are navigated by professionals while also pointing towards the nature of professional discretion in gerontological social work.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Routledge, 2018. Vol. 32, no 2, p. 153-167
Keywords [en]
Social work, care manager, street-level bureaucrat, elder care, needs assessment practice, work experience, decision-making, professional discretion
National Category
Social Work
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-147656DOI: 10.1080/02650533.2018.1438995ISI: 000431742900005OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-147656DiVA, id: diva2:1203537
Funder
Forte, Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare, Dnr:2010-0666
Note

Funding agencies: Swedish Council for Working Life and Social Research [2010-0666]

Available from: 2018-05-03 Created: 2018-05-03 Last updated: 2018-06-18Bibliographically approved

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Olaison, Anna

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