Digitalization of Social Work Practice: Contrasting Service Structures and Target Groups
Keywords:social work, perspective of professionals, social work practice, child and youth welfare, elderly care, nursing, group discussions, thematic coding, cross-case analyses, individual case analyses
In the last 10 to 20 years, digitalization processes have permanently changed the fields and practices of social work. The spectrum of digital applications, fields of application, and contexts of use is broad, and digital technologies open up new possibilities in the care and support of addressees as well as in the organization of social work practice. In addition, collaborations within social work organizations and with network partners are changing. In this article we focus on the question of how the digitalization of social work practice is perceived and evaluated from the perspective of social work professionals. To answer this question, nine group discussions were conducted with 30 professionals. The group discussions were analyzed cross-sectionally using the strategy utilized by SCHMIDT (2013) to identify similarities and differences between the organizations surveyed. On the other hand, following the method of thematic coding according to FLICK (2012), individual case analyses and contrasting analyses were conducted to elaborate on particularities and central themes of the field. It became apparent that the perception and evaluation of digitalization processes in the field of social work are related to three topics: 1. target group (children and adolescents vs. seniors), 2. service structure (mobile activities vs. stationary activities), 3. general organizational conditions of the supporting organizations (understanding of digitalization, rules/guidelines).
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Copyright (c) 2022 Sabine Klinger, Susanne Sackl-Sharif, Andrea Mayr
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.