‘Bring yourself to work’ : rewriting the feeling rules in ‘personalised’ social work

Whitaker, EM ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-1370-1071 2019, '‘Bring yourself to work’ : rewriting the feeling rules in ‘personalised’ social work' , Journal of Organizational Ethnography, 8 (3) , pp. 325-338.

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Purpose: This paper explores how feeling rules are constructed, experienced and contested within personalised social work practice. It considers how organisations seek to shape practitioners towards certain forms of emotional display in increasingly market-oriented conditions. It contributes to our understanding of the place of ‘backstage’ emotional labour in seeking to shape and direct social work practice.

Design/methodology/approach: A single immersive ethnographic case study of an English social work department was undertaken over a period of six months.

Findings: The paper reveals embedded tensions which emerge when practitioners are caught between traditional bureaucratic function, the incursions of the market and feeling rules of relatability, commitment and creativity.

Originality/value: The paper contributes to the scant literature on frontline experiences of personalisation in children’s services and the importance of ‘backstage’ emotional labour for shaping and directing social work practice. Importantly, it considers the complexity of emotional labour within an organisational context which is neither fully marketised, nor fully welfarised, a position many welfare organisations now find themselves in.

Item Type: Article
Schools: Schools > School of Health and Society > Centre for Applied Research in Health, Welfare and Policy
Journal or Publication Title: Journal of Organizational Ethnography
Publisher: Emerald
ISSN: 2046-6749
Related URLs:
Depositing User: EM Whitaker
Date Deposited: 17 Apr 2019 14:19
Last Modified: 16 Feb 2022 01:42
URI: http://usir.salford.ac.uk/id/eprint/51103

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