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From Needs to Relationships to Organisations: Transactional Complexity in Social Work in the Swedish Social Services

Artikel i vetenskaplig tidskrift
Författare Evelyn Khoo
Lennart Nygren
Ahmet Gümüscü Gümüscü
Publicerad i British Journal of Social Work
ISSN 0045-3102
Publiceringsår 2019
Publicerad vid Institutionen för socialt arbete
Språk en
Länkar https://doi.org/10.1093/bjsw/bcz141
Ämnesord complex needs, complexity, family, social services, social worker
Ämneskategorier Socialt arbete

Sammanfattning

This article explores how Swedish social workers in different sectors of the social services understand complexity in relation to the needs found in ‘family’ and in social work practice. The study is based on interviews with 60 social workers in five service sectors: child welfare, elderly care, disability care, substance abuse, and social assistance. The social workers’ reports of understanding and dealing with families with complex needs, reveal distinctions between deep rooted versus broader needs. Complex family needs are transformed into complex cases based on family composition, relationships between clients and social workers, and organisational context. Complexity theory, and in particular the term transactional complexity, is applied to describe the interactive relationship in and between complex needs, relational complexity and organisational complexity. The boundaries between these three domains are not distinct, and the interconnectivity and complexities occurring in and between them contribute to the production of much of the “wickedness” that exists in social work practice. Social workers may gain from this knowledge in order to unravel the often intangible complexity that commonly appears in social work with families.

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