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“Bring yourself to work”: rewriting the feeling rules in “personalized” social work

“Bring yourself to work”: rewriting the feeling rules in “personalized” social work The purpose of this paper is to explore 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/approachA single immersive ethnographic case study of an English social work department was undertaken over a period of six months.FindingsThis paper reveals embedded tensions that emerge when practitioners are caught between traditional bureaucratic function, the incursions of the market and feeling rules of relatability, commitment and creativity.Originality/valueThis 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. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Organizational Ethnography Emerald Publishing

“Bring yourself to work”: rewriting the feeling rules in “personalized” social work

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
© Emerald Publishing Limited
ISSN
2046-6749
DOI
10.1108/joe-06-2018-0030
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

The purpose of this paper is to explore 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/approachA single immersive ethnographic case study of an English social work department was undertaken over a period of six months.FindingsThis paper reveals embedded tensions that emerge when practitioners are caught between traditional bureaucratic function, the incursions of the market and feeling rules of relatability, commitment and creativity.Originality/valueThis 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.

Journal

Journal of Organizational EthnographyEmerald Publishing

Published: Oct 2, 2019

Keywords: Social work; Personalisation; Emotional labour; Feeling rules

References