Digitalization of Social Work Practice: Contrasting Service Structures and Target Groups

  • Sabine Klinger Karl-Franzens-Universität Graz https://orcid.org/0000-0002-4104-7257
  • Andrea Mayr Karl-Franzens-Universität Graz
  • Susanne Sackl-Sharif Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst Graz
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

Abstract

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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Author Biographies

Sabine Klinger, Karl-Franzens-Universität Graz

Dr. Sabine Klinger MA. is Teaching and Research Assistant in Social Pedagogy at the Department of Educational Studies, University of Graz, Austria. She is graduated in Educational Studies (Dr.) at the Philipps-University-Marburg, Germany and Gender Studies (MA.) at the University of Graz, Austria. She was post-graduate scholar at the Center for Gender Studies at the University Basel, Schwitzerland and at the Interdisciplinary Graduate School ‘Gender Relations between Work, Organization and Democracy’ at the Philipps-University-Marburg, Germany. Sabine Klinger is/was lecturer at different University such as at the Department of Educational Studies at the University of Vienna, the University of Graz (Austria) and at the Philipps-University-Marburg (Germany). Furthermore she is lecturer at several Centers for Gender Studies e. g. the Alpen-Adria-University of Klagenfurt, at the University Graz and the Philipps-University-Marburg). She has researched and published in the areas of social pedagogy, gender studies, migration, education and gender, qualitative social research

Andrea Mayr, Karl-Franzens-Universität Graz

Mag.a Dr.in Andrea MAYR ist als wissenschaftliche Projektmitarbeiterin an der Universität Graz und als Professorin im Fachbereich Bildungswissenschaften sowie als Koordinatorin des Schwerpunktes Sozialpädagogik an der Privaten Pädagogischen Hochschule Augustinum beschäftigt. Ihre Arbeitsschwerpunkte in Lehre und Forschung liegen in den Bereichen Digitalisierung in der Sozialen Arbeit, Partizipation, Diversität und soziale Ungleichheit. Derzeit ist sie tätig als Projektleiterin und wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiterin im Projekt "Soziale Dienstleistung im Zeitalter der Digitalisierung – Digitale Transformationsprozesse aktiv mitgestalten!" (AK Steiermark, "Digitalisierungsfonds Arbeit 4.0", 2020-2022).

Susanne Sackl-Sharif, Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst Graz

Mag.a Dr.in Susanne SACKL-SHARIF, Bakk. MA ist als Senior Scientist an der Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst Graz sowie an der Universität Graz beschäftigt. Ihre Arbeitsschwerpunkte in Lehre und Forschung liegen in den Bereichen Digital Literacies, soziale Medien, Digitalisierung der Arbeitswelt, populäre Kulturen und politische Partizipation. Aktuell ist sie als Principal Investigator im Projekt "Understanding Youth Participation and Media Literacy in Digital Dialogue Spaces" (The Research Council of Norway, 2020-2024) und als Soziologin im Projekt "Soziale Dienstleistung im Zeitalter der Digitalisierung – Digitale Transformationsprozesse aktiv mitgestalten!" (AK Steiermark, "Digitalisierungsfonds Arbeit 4.0", 2020-2022) tätig.

Published
2022-05-30
How to Cite
Klinger, S., Mayr, A., & Sackl-Sharif, S. . (2022). Digitalization of Social Work Practice: Contrasting Service Structures and Target Groups. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung / Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 23(2). https://doi.org/10.17169/fqs-22.2.3851
Section
Single Contributions