Caring for the organization: Social workers as frontline risk managers in neonatal intensive care units

Carol A. Heimer, Mitchell L. Stevens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations

Abstract

Though both sociologists of the professions and social workers themselves would predict that social work will be concentrated where there is social "trouble," neither can fully account for variations in the allocation of social work and the mix of social work tasks we observed. Using our research in neonatal intensive care units, we offer an account of social work as organizationally based caring. We argue that social workers are interactional and legal shock absorbers, that they buffer their employing organizations' central processes and their most powerful personnel from the disruptions of social variability, and that they protect the hospital from legal liability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)133-163
Number of pages31
JournalWork and Occupations
Volume24
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management

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