Social work: a profession in flux

Daniel, Brigid and Fenwick, Tara (2013) Social work: a profession in flux. Journal of Workplace Learning, 25 (6). pp. 394-406. ISSN 1366-5626

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Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to describe the current context of social work as a profession and some of the major transition factors that are affecting social workers and social work organisations. Design/methodology/approach – The paper first explores what social work is, and how it has developed as a profession. It reflects on social work academia and the place of social work educators and researchers. It then goes on to consider three factors that are having a major influence on social work as a profession: concepts of risk; personalisation; and the multi‐disciplinary environment. Findings – The implications of these factors and the kind of transitions they are driving are discussed in the context of some of the potential implications for professional learning. Research limitations/implications – The paper does not aim to provide a comprehensive overview of all the factors that are affecting contemporary social work – the aim is to offer contextual information to help the reader consider some of the forces at play in social work. The paper does not introduce new empirical evidence, rather it identifies gaps in the existing evidence about these key influential factors. Social implications – The implications of social work in transition for society are that efficacy may be impeded if the profession is too inward looking. Originality/value – This paper draws from the empirical and conceptual work of others – here the aim is to provide a broad overall context within which to consider the more detailed implications set out in further papers in the present issue.

Item Type: Article
Date Deposited: 06 Oct 2017 13:14
Last Modified: 06 Oct 2017 13:14


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