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Nordesjö, K. & Scaramuzzino, G. (2023). Digitalization, stress, and social worker–client relationships during the COVID-19 pandemic. Journal of Social Work, 23(6), 1080-1098
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Digitalization, stress, and social worker–client relationships during the COVID-19 pandemic
2023 (English)In: Journal of Social Work, ISSN 1468-0173, E-ISSN 1741-296X, Vol. 23, no 6, p. 1080-1098Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Summary: The COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically changed the possibilities for people to interact and communicate. This article examines Swedish social workers’ experiences of the extent to which the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the use of digital tools in their work, and whether this use has affected the social worker–client relationship and their stress levels. The article draws on a web survey (N  =  541) via a quantitative analysis of responses and a qualitative analysis of answers to an open-ended question.

Findings: Most respondents agreed on experiencing increased use of digital tools in the relationship with the clients, increased skills in using digital tools, and a more positive view of digital tools in the social worker–client relationship. However, experiences on whether stress levels had increased and the relationship with the clients worsened, were divided. Age correlates positively with increased stress levels, and social workers working with social assistance, as well as women, are more likely to agree on that the relationship with the clients has worsened. Responses from open-ended questions highlight a rapid shift where social workers have gained a more positive view of digital tools, that video meetings can increase efficiency and flexibility, but also work environment problems.

Applications: This article contributes with useful insights into how the use of digital tools during the COVID-19 pandemic has changed and affected stress and the social worker–client relationship. It can support discussions on the future implementation of digital tools in social work after the pandemic.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Sage Publications, 2023
National Category
Social Work
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:mau:diva-61788 (URN)10.1177/14680173231180309 (DOI)001009027300001 ()2-s2.0-85162632427 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2023-08-07 Created: 2023-08-07 Last updated: 2023-12-11Bibliographically approved
Nordesjö, K. (2023). Evaluation Paradoxes: Responding to Tensions Between Stability and Change in Social Investment Evaluation. American Journal of Evaluation
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Evaluation Paradoxes: Responding to Tensions Between Stability and Change in Social Investment Evaluation
2023 (English)In: American Journal of Evaluation, ISSN 1098-2140, E-ISSN 1557-0878Article in journal (Refereed) Epub ahead of print
Abstract [en]

The relationship between stability and change is a central paradox of administration that pervades all forms of organizing. Evaluation is not unfamiliar with paradoxical objectives and roles, which can result in tensions for evaluators and stakeholders. In this article, paradoxes between stability and change in the implementation of evaluation, and responses to them, are investigated through the case of social investment funds in Swedish local government. From interviews with staff, managers, and evaluators, findings show how responses to four main paradoxes give priority to top-down summative evaluation that produces instrumental knowledge on outcomes and costs for decision makers. The responses show that the concept of social investment fund evaluation is elastic to contain paradoxes and address different audiences. Also, paradoxes within the structure of the organization develop into paradoxes concerning the roles and goals of evaluation, raising the question of whether individual actors can deal with paradoxes.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Sage Publications, 2023
National Category
Social Work
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:mau:diva-61787 (URN)10.1177/10982140231185741 (DOI)001034223300001 ()2-s2.0-85165934112 (Scopus ID)
Funder
Forte, Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare, 2017-02151
Available from: 2023-08-07 Created: 2023-08-07 Last updated: 2023-08-16Bibliographically approved
Nordesjö, K., Ulmestig, R. & Scaramuzzino, G. (2023). Saving time for activation or relationships? The legitimation and performance of automated decision-making for time efficiency in two street-level bureaucracies serving poor and unemployed clients. Nordic Social Work Research, 1-13
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Saving time for activation or relationships? The legitimation and performance of automated decision-making for time efficiency in two street-level bureaucracies serving poor and unemployed clients
2023 (English)In: Nordic Social Work Research, ISSN 2156-857X, E-ISSN 2156-8588, p. 1-13Article in journal (Refereed) Epub ahead of print
Abstract [en]

In the last decade, digitalized automated decision-making (ADM) has been implemented in many Swedish municipal social services to achieve values such as legal security, client empowerment and time efficiency. The paper aims to understand how ADM policy is legitimized and performed through time efficiency, by a comparison of ADM policy in two Swedish municipalities’ social assistance agencies. It builds on 17 interviews with managers and professionals in two Swedish municipalities’ social assistance units. Findings show ADM is legitimized through arguments of activation and relationships, and performed by handling more applications or increasing time spent with clients, rather than being perceived as increasing the quality of social assistance services. This highlights the significance of organizational goals regarding how street-level bureaucrats perform tasks within their discretionary powers.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Taylor & Francis, 2023
National Category
Social Work
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:mau:diva-61789 (URN)10.1080/2156857x.2023.2218385 (DOI)001159723900001 ()2-s2.0-85161423038 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2023-08-07 Created: 2023-08-07 Last updated: 2024-02-26Bibliographically approved
Nordesjö, K. (2022). Att göra socialt arbete genom standardisering: Rättssäkerhet eller exkluderande praktik?. In: Elin Ennerberg; Peter Gladoic Håkansson (Ed.), Plats för vem?: Om arbetets inkludering och exkludering (pp. 283-299). Lund: Nordic Academic Press
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Att göra socialt arbete genom standardisering: Rättssäkerhet eller exkluderande praktik?
2022 (Swedish)In: Plats för vem?: Om arbetets inkludering och exkludering / [ed] Elin Ennerberg; Peter Gladoic Håkansson, Lund: Nordic Academic Press, 2022, p. 283-299Chapter in book (Other academic)
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Lund: Nordic Academic Press, 2022
National Category
Work Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:mau:diva-58666 (URN)9789189361317 (ISBN)
Available from: 2023-03-16 Created: 2023-03-16 Last updated: 2023-09-29Bibliographically approved
Nordesjö, K., Ulmestig, R. & Denvall, V. (2022). Coping with tensions between standardization and individualization in social assistance. Nordic Social Work Research, 12(4), 435-449
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Coping with tensions between standardization and individualization in social assistance
2022 (English)In: Nordic Social Work Research, ISSN 2156-857X, E-ISSN 2156-8588, Vol. 12, no 4, p. 435-449Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Today’s ambition to adapt and individualize welfare delivery poses a challenge to human service organizations at the same time seeking to standardize clients, with consequences for street-level bureaucrats. In this article, the implementation of an instrument for standardized assessment of income support (IA) in Swedish social services is used to investigate what strategies street-level bureaucrats use to cope with tensions between standardization and individualization. Results from six focus groups in two organizations show how job coaches cope by individualizing their practice towards the client, while caseworkers equally often cope through standardization, which could work towards or against the client, in order to keep their discretion and handle organizational demands. Results point to a loose coupling between IA as an organizational tool for legitimacy, and as a pragmatically used questionnaire. Conflicts and contradictions are left to street-level bureaucrats to deal with.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Routledge, 2022
National Category
Social Work
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:mau:diva-36953 (URN)10.1080/2156857X.2020.1835696 (DOI)001026167700004 ()2-s2.0-85111159648 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2020-11-25 Created: 2020-11-25 Last updated: 2024-06-17Bibliographically approved
Denvall, V., Nordesjö, K. & Johansson, K. (2022). Metagoverning social work knowledge structures. Nordic Social Work Research, 12(5), 808-812
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Metagoverning social work knowledge structures
2022 (English)In: Nordic Social Work Research, ISSN 2156-857X, E-ISSN 2156-8588, Vol. 12, no 5, p. 808-812Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The increasing fragmentation and the rising number of organizations in society create major challenges when implementing knowledge structures. In this article, we propose that the concept of metagovernance is useful when addressing these challenges. The enhancement of knowledge structures in the Swedish social services is our study object. Networks at national, regional and local levels have been organized and facilitated by national resources and agreements since 2003. The shifting of participants, switching assignments and ambiguity about the networks’ purposes created difficult conditions for successful implementation. In this paper, we argue that fragile top-down government and shifting local network organization provide limited opportunities to ensure that new knowledge structures will have an impact on social work practice. Research is based upon monitoring a national program that started in 2003, affecting five universities and their surrounding regions and municipalities. The article is also based upon observations and interviews among national and regional actors. Results show that national agencies are hands-off, but still in control by setting up legal and discursive frameworks for those networks. It is argued that this creates new challenges for participating organizations and professionals in social work.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Taylor & Francis, 2022
National Category
Social Work
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:mau:diva-42142 (URN)10.1080/2156857X.2021.1893210 (DOI)001026169800014 ()2-s2.0-85124123894 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2021-05-10 Created: 2021-05-10 Last updated: 2023-08-15Bibliographically approved
Nordesjö, K., Scaramuzzino, G. & Ulmestig, R. (2022). The social worker-client relationship in the digital era: a configurative literature review. European Journal of Social Work, 25(2), 303-315
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The social worker-client relationship in the digital era: a configurative literature review
2022 (English)In: European Journal of Social Work, ISSN 1369-1457, E-ISSN 1468-2664, Vol. 25, no 2, p. 303-315Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The social worker-client relationship is described as essential to social work but is a broad and multi-layered concept. Today, the relationship is strengthened and challenged by digitalisation. The aim of this configurative literature review is to understand how research on social work from 2015 to 2020 describes and analyses digitalisation’s significance for the social worker-client relationship. Three themes depict the benefits and disadvantages of digitalisation, how digitalisation generates new ethical questions and dilemmas, and the different theoretical perspectives used. Future research should go beyond the pros and cons of digitalisation and should use various theoretical approaches to challenge data, illuminate client perspectives, and pose additional questions.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Taylor & Francis, 2022
National Category
Social Work
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:mau:diva-45168 (URN)10.1080/13691457.2021.1964445 (DOI)000686832300001 ()2-s2.0-85113791489 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2021-08-23 Created: 2021-08-23 Last updated: 2024-02-05Bibliographically approved
Denvall, V. & Nordesjö, K. (2021). Bortom det instrumentella idealet: Om kunskapsanvändning i utvärderingssystem. In: Stig Linde; Kerstin Svensson (Ed.), Välfärdens aktörer: Utmaningar för människor, professioner och organisationer (pp. 101-130). Social Work Press
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Bortom det instrumentella idealet: Om kunskapsanvändning i utvärderingssystem
2021 (English)In: Välfärdens aktörer: Utmaningar för människor, professioner och organisationer / [ed] Stig Linde; Kerstin Svensson, Social Work Press , 2021, p. 101-130Chapter in book (Other academic)
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Social Work Press, 2021
National Category
Social Work
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:mau:diva-46179 (URN)10.37852/oblu.118.159 (DOI)978-91-7895-542-8 (ISBN)978-91-7895-543-5 (ISBN)
Available from: 2021-10-04 Created: 2021-10-04 Last updated: 2024-04-08Bibliographically approved
Nordesjö, K. & Fred, M. (2021). Special Issue Introduction: The Power of Evaluation. Offentlig Förvaltning. Scandinavian Journal of Public Administration, 25(3/4), 3-15
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Special Issue Introduction: The Power of Evaluation
2021 (English)In: Offentlig Förvaltning. Scandinavian Journal of Public Administration, ISSN 2000-8058, E-ISSN 2001-3310, Vol. 25, no 3/4, p. 3-15Article in journal (Other academic) Published
Abstract [en]

The aim of this special issue is to invite scholars in public administration to address issues of power in relation to evaluation practices in the public sector. Power is one of those big, difficult, and inherently nebulous concepts that both scholars and practitioners appear to consciously or unconsciously avoid. Our ambition in this introduction is not to present a comprehensive conceptual review of power, let alone to present the many different aspects of evaluation. Rather, this is a humble attempt to foster a more explicit discussion of the relationship between power and evaluation. The aim of this introduction is, firstly, to introduce a few basic distinctions and conceptualisations of the relationship between power and evaluation. Secondly, we would like to highlight three themes where power may be an especially fruitful lens when analysing, or just trying to make sense of, evaluation procedures. These are themes found in evaluation research, but where power is not always acknowledged or accounted for. We call them (1) Evaluation and instrumental power, (2) Evaluation and contextual power, and (3) Evaluation and performative power.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Göteborgs universitet, 2021
National Category
Political Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:mau:diva-48197 (URN)10.58235/sjpa.v25i3-4.7048 (DOI)2-s2.0-85135967951 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2021-12-15 Created: 2021-12-15 Last updated: 2023-12-15Bibliographically approved
Nordesjö, K. (2021). The constitutive effects of social investment evaluation. Evaluation, 27(2), 210-228
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The constitutive effects of social investment evaluation
2021 (English)In: Evaluation, ISSN 1356-3890, E-ISSN 1461-7153, Vol. 27, no 2, p. 210-228Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Evaluation has different uses and impacts. This article aims to describe and analyse the constitutive effects ? how evaluation forms and shapes different domains in an evaluation context ? of evaluation related to an evidence-based policy and practice, by investigating how the evaluation of social investment fund initiatives in three Swedish municipalities is organized and implemented. Through interviews and evaluation reports, the findings show how this way of evaluating may contribute to constitutive effects by defining worldviews, content, timeframes and evaluation roles. The article discusses how social investment fund evaluation contributes to a linear knowledge transfer model, promotes a relation between costs and evidence and concentrates the power over evaluation at the top of organizations.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Sage Publications, 2021
Keywords
constitutive effects, EBPP, evaluation use, social investment
National Category
Social Work
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:mau:diva-37660 (URN)10.1177/1356389020969712 (DOI)000598803900001 ()2-s2.0-85097390527 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2020-12-20 Created: 2020-12-20 Last updated: 2024-02-05Bibliographically approved
Projects
Organisational and social safety climate in human service organisations – Developing proactive approaches and tools for research, practice and intervention; Malmö UniversityUtilizing situated knowledge: social investments as instruments for local government and organization?; Malmö University; Publications
Fred, M., Hall, P. & Mukhtar-Landgren, D. (2022). Samverkan som marknadsskapande: introduktionen av social impact bonds i Sverige och Finland. In: Åsa Hedberg Rundgren, Charlotte Klinga, Mikael Löfström, Linda Mossberg (Ed.), Perspektiv på samverkan: Om utmaningar och möjligheter i välfärdens praktik. Studentlitteratur AB
Organisations
Identifiers
ORCID iD: ORCID iD iconorcid.org/0000-0003-3565-6563

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