Balancing responsibility, boundaries and time: social workers’ experiences in service user meetings – a multi-method study based on Interpersonal Process Recall
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionNordic Social Work Research. 2022, . 10.1080/2156857X.2022.2092541
The article focuses on social workers’ reflections on their own professional practice in conversations with vulnerable service users in the Norwegian Labour and Welfare Administration (Nav). Drawing on Interpersonal Process Recall (IPR), a video-based method, together with a focus group interview, the study explores the experiences and reflections of five social workers of in-situ encounters with service users. A key finding is that the social workers, who worked in two different offices within the work and activation field, perceived their professional practice as highly complex, negotiated, and ambiguous. The social workers nevertheless displayed a multitude of knowledge and competences, expressed through practical synthesis in the conversations. The article argues that more attention should be paid to ethical aspects of professional knowledge, such as when balancing contradictory considerations towards national workfare policies and vulnerable service users, and how to set the limits for their own professional responsibility in the work towards the service users. Furthermore, the article also directs the attention to another area of professional knowledge, as it explores time as an embedded and ubiquitous aspect of, and condition for, professional knowledge to unfold.