• Mona Lee Hansen
4. term, Social Work, Master (Master Programme)
New Public Management, and other neo-liberal management principles, are becoming increasingly popular within the public sector, driven by demands for efficiency and derived evidence-based methods. Processes are standardized, not only internally within the public sector itself, but also in the frontline, where e.g. social workers meet the citizens. The question is however, if processes that are based on interaction between human beings, and that are often in place to guide citizens out of complex social problems, can be standardized?
This paper investigates how MOSAIK, a standardized process guiding social workers in their work as parole officers, is translated in the frontline of the official Danish probation service. Data for the analysis is gathered through case studies based on observations of MOSAIK talks between parole officers and their clients, interviews with parole officers and focus-groups, and analyzed using primarily actor-network theory (ANT), but also supplementing context near theory, Human Service Organizational Technology and Street-level Bureaucracy, is leveraged.
The study finds that certain patterns becomes visible when analyzing how the standard is translated. In the first pattern, the social worker is experienced as being in control of the work with the clients, using the standard MOSAIK as a tool to actively structure their work. This group seem to rely more on the principles of the standard, than on the detailed instructions, and might even seem more satisfied with their daily work.
In the second pattern, the standard seems to be in control; the social worker depends heavily on the MOSAIK structure, and often struggle to implement the specifics of the standard. This group of social workers generally seem to be more stressed, and express a feeling of inadequacy.
In reality, the observed sessions with the clients and social workers are often somewhere in between the two basic figures, however with a clear tendency to favor one of them.
The study further sees a tendency in the underlying factors guiding the decisions of the social worker in their translations of the standard, and arrives at two main factors that are balanced in every contact with the clients, a) the balance between prioritizing the client or the system highest, and b) prioritizing the MOSAIK principles or concrete guidelines highest.
All in all, MOSAIK seem to be either experienced as a constructive supportive factor in the daily work, to help in deeper dialogue with the clients, or an opponent. Based on the findings, the study finds it valuable to arrive at a more varied view at standards. Furthermore, it could be valuable to further study what elements in standards that either work with or against the social workers, and to investigate exactly what standards can, and should, be used for.
Publication date14 Sep 2018
Number of pages100
External collaboratorKriminalforsorgen
Specialkonsulent, Analyse og evaluering Susanne Clausen Susanne.Clausen@krfo
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