Regler och handlingsutrymme i socialt arbete
Sammanfattning: The aim of this study was to research how social workers working with homelessness use their discretion in relation to the categorization of clients. This study was performed in the context of a new guideline being set at the researched organization. The guideline determined that one of the classifications of clients, which the social workers previously actively worked with, no longer will be a part of the organization's target group. Therefore, social workers would no longer be able to work with the clients they used to. The study was created to understand how the social workers felt and acted in response to this change and how, or if, they used their discretion to counteract the guideline. The study was constructed by six qualitative, semi-structured interviews with social workers working with homelessness at the social services in Malmö, Sweden. The social workers had different professional roles at the organization to add different perspectives on the issue. For the theoretical framework, Michael Lipsky's theory of street-level bureaucracy was applied as well as Roine Johansson ́s translation of the theory for Swedish use. For further discussion of the organizational aspects of the study, Kerstin Svensson’s perspective of the new-institutional theory was added. Moreover, Tatiana Saruis’s perspective of street-level bureaucracy and discretion was applied. The result of the study showed that, while the social workers were discontent with the change that the guidelines brought, they did not use their discretion to counteract the guidelines in any major way. However, they did actively voice their discontent with their colleagues and managers as a way to possibly create change down the line.
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