Welfare-to-work has imposed constraints on professional social work, yet research into the exercise of professional responsibility in public welfare settings has paid limited attention to the organizational context of professionals. This article examines how professionals define their responsibilities and how they shift certain aspects of their decision making responsibilities within the team and in the organization of the Jobcentre. A discourse analysis of 19 interviews with team members in Danish rehabilitation teams found three different ways of managing tensions between different features of institutional and professional responsibilities: deferring responsibility to the legislation, emphasizing the importance of inter-professional team work, and emphasizing the professional responsibility of individuals. These empirical findings are discussed in relation to Bauman’s theory on division of work and displacement of responsibility. This paper concludes that, while considerable organizational mechanisms are at play that displace moral and professional responsibility, professionals seek to manage these challenges in (inter-)professionally responsible ways.
- professional responsibility
- inter-professional team