Specialization or integration of the personal social services? Effects on interventions and results
The project examines how specialized versus integrated personal social services organizations, conditions social workers interventions and results.
The main question concerns how personal social services organizations should be organised to facilitate interventions that lead to positive client effects, and at the same time are efficient. The aim of the study is to describe and analyse how integrated respectively specialised personal social services organisations condition social workers´interventions and client effects. Theoretical perspectives guiding the project are organisational theory and theory of social work practice.
The main research question of the project concerns the way the Personal Social Services (PSS) best can be organised to achieve good results for people in need of those services. The PSS in Sweden is up to the present organised in different ways in different municipalities. In some municipalities the organisation is integrated in the way that each social worker handles almost all forms of interventions, while in other municipalities the organisation is specialised in the way that different kinds of interventions – and sometimes even different phases in the helping process – is divided between different social workers. At the same time, all municipalities are subjected to the same laws and general guidelines. The knowledge is very limited regarding which organisational model that is best suited to meet clients’ needs and problems.
The aim of the study is to describe and analyse how integrated respectively specialised personal social services organisations condition social workers´interventions and client effects. Theoretical perspectives guiding the project are organisational theory and theory of social work practice. The project was carried out in three Swedish municipalities with different organisational models: 1) specialised organisation, 2) integrated organisation and 3) a combined organisation with elements of both specialisation and integration. Data will be gathered in four different ways: 1) by questionnaires to social workers and clients, 2) by interviews with politicians, senior officials, social workers and clients, 3) by focus group interviews with social workers and 4) by gathering official documents, guidelines etc.
The project is expected to lead to better knowledge about the way different organisational models condition interventions and effectiveness in achieving best possible results on behalf of clients. There are professional and ethical as well as administrative and economical reasons to gain knowledge on such conditions.