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ERIC Number: EJ912747
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Jan
Pages: 10
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0037-8046
Client Participation in Managing Social Work Service--An Unfinished Quest
Leung, Terry T. F.
Social Work, v56 n1 p43-52 Jan 2011
"Client participation" is a popular ideal and object of rhetorical commitment in social work service. But the much-touted potential of this concept requires careful and critical scrutiny. This article reports on a study of client-participation initiatives in the Hong Kong welfare sector. The study identified significant differences in the institutional structure of client-participation initiatives and their social dynamics between service units targeting elderly people or people with disabilities and those targeting a clientele with supposed moral or psychosocial failures. The findings suggest that client-participation mandates allowing sustained interaction with service users through regular membership in a structure for discussion are more effective than ad hoc measures with unstable participation, assuming that the goal is mutuality and trust in cooperative inquiry with service users. The findings also suggest that both a service provider's genuine belief in the primacy of the users' voice and a user's legitimate claim of experiential knowledge are imperative to realizing the potential of client participation.
National Association of Social Workers (NASW). 750 First Street NE Suite 700, Washington, DC 20002. Tel: 800-227-3590; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Hong Kong