Other Studies

Hierarchical Embeddedness and Professionalization in Social Work: The Experiment of Social Work Services Set up by the Women's Federation of A City

Chen Weijie
School of Social Work, China Women's University
Collection of Women's Studies 2016-5

Abstract:Embeddedness is one of the basic concepts in understanding the development of social work in contemporary China. When examining how the embeddedness influences the professionalization of social work, scholars usually neglect the structures of embeddedness. Compared to the one-level embeddedness, the hierarchical embeddedness will impact on the relationship between administration and professionalization in more complicated ways. The experiment by the A Municipal Women's Federation shows that the seamless, hierarchical embeddedness is helpful in relieving the principal-agent dilemma and maintaining the professionalization of social work. However, given the financial restraints and the constraints of human resources, the seamless, hierarchical embeddedness is inevitably transformed into the isolated, hierarchical embeddedness during the service expansion driven by the demand of performance evaluations, which may lead to an anti-professionalization result.
Keywords:hierarchical embeddedness, social work, professionalization

Paper type:Published