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Evidence in action: a Thompsonian perspective on evidence-based decision-making in social work

Publiceringsår: 2008
Språk: Engelska
Sidor: 29-42
Publikation/Tidskrift/Serie: European Journal of Social Work
Volym: 11
Nummer: 1
Dokumenttyp: Artikel i tidskrift
Förlag: Routledge Taylor & Francis


Evidence-based practice presupposes evidence-based decision-making. In the debate it is argued that a social work fashioned after evidence should be more rational, less authoritarian and built on scientific knowledge, respect and ethics. Yet the empirical evidence that this idea works is weak. In fact the difficulties met during efforts to implement evidence could be a sound reaction. Indeed difficulties experienced could be a defensive organizational reaction to a new, disturbing technology. In this article James D. Thompson’s classical study Organizations in Action from 1967 is applied to evidence-based decision-making in social work. It shows to date that many problems have been given, at best, tenuous attention. It is argued that a focus on evidence will raise ambiguity and complexity levels within organizations and that new professional specialists will emerge. Further, new constellations of power will appear, leading to a change of balance within the domains of social work.


  • Social Work


  • ISSN: 1369-1457

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