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Nudging social workers towards interpretive vigilance: approaches supporting management of conduct in the workplace

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journal contribution
posted on 2023-06-21, 06:01 authored by Lel Meleyal
In the UK, Government Inquiries into health and social work failures have burgeoned ever more bureaucratic regulatory mechanisms for managing the conduct of professionals. This article draws on the concepts of Nudge Theory and Interpretive Vigilance to consider the impact upon the social work profession of mandatory registration (license) with a regulatory body. The author’s earlier UK based empirical qualitative study found that, as a regulatory method, registration had perverse consequences contrary to its purpose. A secondary analysis of data identified ‘nudge’ points which encouraged social workers to engage proactively with conduct issues in the workplace. Risks caused by both active and passive failures of ‘interpretive vigilance’ by social workers, who had witnessed concerning conduct of other professionals in workplaces, were identified. Criticisms of nudge theory as ethically dubious are considered in relation to the transparency of nudge interventions. It is proposed that, in the context of international concern about the inefficiency of regulation, nudge theory may be a low cost, light touch, local approach to encouraging social workers to exercise interpretive vigilance to conduct related risks and to take active collective ownership of conduct management in the work place.

History

Publication status

  • Published

File Version

  • Accepted version

Journal

European Journal of Social Work

ISSN

1369-1457

Publisher

Taylor & Francis

Issue

6

Volume

20

Page range

935-946

Department affiliated with

  • Social Work and Social Care Publications

Full text available

  • Yes

Peer reviewed?

  • Yes

Legacy Posted Date

2016-09-21

First Open Access (FOA) Date

2018-04-27

First Compliant Deposit (FCD) Date

2016-09-21

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