Accountable and countable : information management systems and the bureaucratization of social work

Burton, Judith A. & van den Broek, Diane (2008) Accountable and countable : information management systems and the bureaucratization of social work. British Journal of Social Work, 39(7), pp. 1326-1342.

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A key feature of new public management is the tendency to equate quality and accountability with documentation (Tsui and Cheung, 2004). Human service organizations increasingly rely on computer databases to compile and record client information and to demonstrate outcomes for quality assurance and accountability purposes. This has resulted in substantial changes in work practices, processes and relationships for social workers. This paper draws on interview data from social workers in several Australian agencies to examine professional interactions with, and response to, changes in their work after the introduction of new technologies. It particularly focuses on the shift of accountabilities from professional values and identities to organizational and bureaucratic accountabilities. The paper recognizes that while social workers have always been subject to organizational accountabilities, due to the changes in social service delivery and limited practitioner input into the implementation of new technologies, tensions between professional and bureaucratic accountabilities have intensified.

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ID Code: 13930
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional Information: For more information, please refer to the journal's website (see hypertext link) or contact the author.
DOI: 10.1093/bjsw/bcn027
ISSN: 1468-263X
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY (160000) > SOCIAL WORK (160700) > Social Work not elsewhere classified (160799)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > COMMERCE MANAGEMENT TOURISM AND SERVICES (150000) > BUSINESS AND MANAGEMENT (150300) > Innovation and Technology Management (150307)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Past > Schools > Social Work & Human Services
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2008 (The authors): Licensed to Oxford University Press
Deposited On: 01 Jul 2008 00:00
Last Modified: 29 Feb 2012 13:46

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