Hvad leder vi efter? En feltanalyse af ledelse af socialt arbejde

Publikation: Ph.d. afhandling/ kandidat/ diplomKandidatspecialeForskning


Starting with the French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu's theories on sociological field analysis this thesis will analyse the field 'management in social work' in Denmark.

Pierre Bourdieu's theories are based upon a persistent focus on the battles going on between the positions in the field, the issue being the right to define what is most important in the field - it's illusio.

The thesis attempts to describe the field, where management in social work takes place, by analyzing empirical examples of the battles going on in the field and thereby creating its structures.

The purpose of the field analysis is to make it possible to understand the relations, positions, battles and institutional conditions constituting management in social work.

The theoretical construct will set out explicitly the position of the researcher in the field and the researcher's focus on his/her own assumptions during the analysis process. The two authors of this thesis are heads of social work departments, both with a background as social worker, and they relate to this implicitly and explicitly in the construction of the field.

The analysis falls into three parts:

* A retrospective part analyzing modern organisation theory and evidence-based science being key issues in the construction of the field.

* A critical discourse analysis of two texts illustrating positions in the field; based on the theory of the British linguist Norman Fairclough.

* A combined qualitative and quantitative attitudinal survey among heads of departments, all former social workers themselves.

The following parts of the analysis establish the field:

Modern management rationales (governmentality), based on New Public Management, regulate the public sector, thus expecting a considerable autonomy within each institution. At the same time the central administration continuously interferes and changes decisions made on a lower level. This type of management creates pressure and makes prioritizing difficult for heads in the public sector, but it also potentially leads to more development.

Evidence-based science is important in the development of social work, but a rigid scientific way of thinking does not imply the recognition of context-based elements, and in social work one should therefore only use this method carefully and critically.

Language and communicative practice are key elements, when managing social work, and the critical discourse analysis shows how a specific discoursive practice can help establishing certain values as a definition of truth concerning the field 'social work'.

The heads of social work departments, who participated in the survey, generally found their work both interesting, challenging and demanding.

Finally the process concentrates on areas, that could contain substantial potential progress concerning the field, e.g. new ways of implementing modern management.
StatusUdgivet - 2010


  • Socialt arbejde og sociale forhold
  • Ledelse, organisationsudvikling og innovation