Skip to content
Main menu hidden.

Organization, profession and knowledge

Research group Organization, profession and knowledge are core components in social work practice, and within this research profile they are regarded as parts of a coherent research area. These core components comprise: organization as structure and organizing as process; profession as category and professionalization as a process; knowledge as means as well as result.

Within this profile, researchers are studying how social work is organised within the public sector (e.g. the social services). An overarching question concerns how social work should be organised to best serve socially vulnerable people. A sub-theme concentrates on how the degree of organizational specialization (e.g. division of functions or in problem categories) within the personal social services, influences social workers' working conditions, interventions as well as their psychosocial health. Another theme focuses on what organizations do to strengthen their legitimacy in relation to their surroundings, for example other organizations.

In the last decade, questions about social work knowledge have become more pronounced in terms of the quest for evidence-based knowledge. Some of the central questions under scrutiny are: What is social work knowledge, what is regarded as knowledge, how and where is social work knowledge produced? How is knowledge disseminated and how is it used?
These key questions can be studied both theoretically and empirically. Researchers in this profile are particularly focused on the study of social workers' (socionomers) definition and use of knowledge. Another research theme relates to how social work students obtain and use knowledge. Yet another important research question is social workers' use of knowledge, and how different organizational models influence it.

Head of research


Participating departments and units at Umeå University

Department of Social Work

Research area

Social work
Latest update: 2018-12-04