Globalisation: A myth or reality for social workers?
Revija Za Socijalnu Politiku, 8, (3), .
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The relevance of globalisation to social work practice is a matter of controversy. In this article, I define globalisation and examine its impact on social work practice by referring to a study involving the replies to a postal questionnaire of 179 social workers in the United Kingdom. I argue that although globalisation has had a significant influence on social work practice, how this has happened is poorly understood by practitioners who tend to focus on the policy changes affecting them more than they do on macro-level forces. In their replies, social workers reveal a pessimism about the shifts in practice as it has moved away from relationship building to contracting out and procedural norms and commercial values in their work with clients. These emphasise budgets and resources more than they do needs. Most of the practitioners argue that client choice has not increased under the contract regimes initiated by community care legislation and privatisation measures. On the other hand, their managers see more possibilities for improving service provision for users under the new regime. They are also more keen on performance-driven approaches to management, even those these instruments can be experienced as very controlling. Nonetheless, there are positives to globalisation as well as negatives. The bringing of the world closer together and the suggestions that British social workers should learn more about other cultures and countries in their training to be able to deal more effectively with international social problems is encouraging.
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