FSD3364 Influencing Policy Making in Municipal Social Work 2017

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  • Simola, Jenni (University of Helsinki. Faculty of Social Sciences)


equal opportunity, health professions, job satisfaction, local government services, organizations, political influence, professional ethics, social justice, social welfare, social workers, values, welfare policy, working conditions


The study charted occupational values and work conditions of Finnish social workers in Helsinki, Espoo and Vantaa, as well as their views on constructive social work and political influencing. First, the respondents were asked how important they personally considered different principles concerning inequality, diversity and equity. It was examined how often the respondents came across situations at work where they had to act against their ethical principles, how often they felt that the way their organisation operated contradicted their personal values, and how often they witnessed problems built into society or their organisation that affected the clients' situations negatively. Additionally, the respondents were asked to assess their own workplace well-being.

Next, it was examined whether the respondents had opportunities in their current work to influence political decision-making, to participate in societal discussions and to impact the organisation's practices. The respondents were also asked to assess how important they considered being able to influence different aspects of political decision-making in their work.

The respondents' opinions were charted on which objectives should be prioritised in political influencing by municipal social work organisations. Several questions examined the organisations' attitudes toward political influencing and their preparedness in utilising social workers' expertise in the development of services. The survey also charted the respondents' own interest and experience in political influencing. Finally, attitudinal statements examined the respondents' opinions on the role of social work and reasons behind poverty.

Background variables included year of birth (categorised), field of social work, municipality where the workplace is located, years of experience as a social worker (categorised), years of experience in current job (categorised), type of employment contract, social worker qualification, level of education, year when R had graduated (categorised), and whether R was studying to become a social worker at the time of the survey.

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