Change search
ReferencesLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Diskretionärt handlingsutrymme: en kvalitativ studie av socialsekreterares bedömningsgrunder vid ansökan om ekonomiskt bistånd
Kristianstad University, School of Health and Society.
Kristianstad University, School of Health and Society.
2012 (Swedish)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesisAlternative title
A qualitative study on the use of discretion : assessments by social workers specialized in social allowance (English)
Abstract [en]

With this study, our purpose has been to achieve profounded knowledge and understanding regarding the use of discretion among social workers specialized in social allowance issues. The Social Services Act, structured as a framework law in the Swedish context, provides the social worker with a certain degree of discretion, in order to enable accommodated decisions depending on client case specifics. This study problematizes these aspects of legal security, and our intention has been to examine which factors impact the assessments social workers carry out in statutory decisions of social allowance applications. To attain this, we narrowed down our intention into a number of distinct and delimitated research questions: (1) Which elements of the client case impact the social worker’s assessment? (2) Which external aspects influence the social worker’s assessments and decisions? (3) How do social workers decide the client’s credibility?


In order to establish answers to our research questions, we have utilized a qualitative approach of research by exerting qualitative interviews in addition to a vignette study. We have conducted five interviews with social workers specialized in social allowance issues. The empirical material was analyzed and illustrated in the view of Lipsky’s descriptive theory of street-level bureaucracy, and in the light of different theories of authoritarian power, as constituted by Lukes and Foucault.


Within the municipality subject to our research, our vignette study establishes the fact disparities exist among the assessments social workers decide from an application of social allowance. The result of our study exhibit social workers’ grounds of assessment are influenced by a number of aspects. These facets of impact compose internal factors existing within the client case frame. Related to the unique characteristics of a client’s situation, the internal factors also depend on the relation created between social worker and client. Furthermore, the social worker’s assessment is affected by external factors including colleague consultation, supervisor influence and contemporary work load levels. Additionally, our study implies aspects influencing decision-making of social workers occurring on a meta level, which we have opted to denominate semi-external factors. These factors embrace levels of client credibility as well as aspects of power present in the social worker – client relation.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. , 73 p.
Keyword [en]
social services, social worker, social work, social allowance, discretion, assessments, individual assessments, street-level bureaucracy, credibility, client credibility
Keyword [sv]
socialtjänsten, socialsekreterare, ekonomiskt bistånd, bedömningsgrunder, handlingsutrymme, individuell bedömning, frontlinjebyråkrater, trovärdighet
National Category
Social Work
URN: urn:nbn:se:hkr:diva-9401OAI: diva2:534614
Educational program
Social Work Study Programme
Social and Behavioural Science, Law
Available from: 2012-06-18 Created: 2012-06-18 Last updated: 2012-06-18Bibliographically approved

Open Access in DiVA

fulltext(239 kB)813 downloads
File information
File name FULLTEXT02.pdfFile size 239 kBChecksum SHA-512
Type fulltextMimetype application/pdf

By organisation
School of Health and Society
Social Work

Search outside of DiVA

GoogleGoogle Scholar
Total: 813 downloads
The number of downloads is the sum of all downloads of full texts. It may include eg previous versions that are now no longer available

Total: 351 hits
ReferencesLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link