The ethical conflict of dual obligations amongst social workers: The role of organisational affiliation and seniority

Ester Zychlinski, Sagit Lev, Maya Kagan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations

Abstract

The purpose of the current study was to examine the frequency of ethical conflicts amongst social workers, deriving from dual obligations to clients and employers, as associated with their organisational affiliation and professional seniority. The sample included 723 social workers from three organisational sectors in Israel: The government sector, the third sector and the for-profit sector. Two-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) was conducted to examine the main and interaction effects of organisational affiliation and seniority on the frequency of ethical conflicts amongst social workers. Social workers in the for-profit and third sectors experienced a significantly higher frequency of ethical conflicts than those in the government sector. In addition, social workers with moderate seniority were found to experience ethical conflicts more frequently than those with low and high seniority. These findings have an important contribution to the ongoing public debate on the privatisation of social services, by pointing to the difficulties encountered by social workers employed in partially privatised social services in meeting their obligations to clients. Better public monitoring and adequate supervision of social workers are recommended. In addition, it is suggested that partial privatisation processes be reconsidered in the case of vulnerable populations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1854-1870
Number of pages17
JournalBritish Journal of Social Work
Volume50
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2020.

Keywords

  • Dual obligation
  • Ethical conflict
  • Government sector
  • Privatisation processes
  • Professional seniority
  • Third sector and forprofit sector

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