Ethical practice in the contemporary human services

Lonne, B, McDonald, C and Fox, T 2004, 'Ethical practice in the contemporary human services', Journal of Social Work, vol. 4, no. 4, pp. 322-343.


Document type: Journal Article
Collection: Journal Articles

Title Ethical practice in the contemporary human services
Author(s) Lonne, B
McDonald, C
Fox, T
Year 2004
Journal name Journal of Social Work
Volume number 4
Issue number 4
Start page 322
End page 343
Total pages 21
Publisher Sage Publications Ltd
Abstract This paper examines the findings of an exploratory study of emerging ethical issues and practices reported by a sample of human service managers and practitioners in public and non-profit agencies in Queensland, Australia. Findings: The contemporary context in which human services are delivered in Western societies is characterized by increased marketization, contractualism and managerialist practices, all of which entail different ethical values from those traditionally embraced by the social work profession. Utilizing qualitative and quantitative methodologies, this research identifies current and emerging challenges to ethical practice and existing organizational responses to it. Widespread concern about the negative aspects of changed structural arrangements on ethical practice in the contemporary human services is highlighted. Differences in the ways in which organizations and practitioners are responding to these changes are examined. The limitations of existing approaches and ethics codes are noted. Applications: Implications for organizations, practitioners and educators are explored, and more pro-active management and training strategies are advocated. Further research is required to identify the often-understated negative effects on ethical practice of the market-based reforms of human service structures and processes.
Subject Social Work not elsewhere classified
DOI - identifier 10.1177/1468017304048059
Copyright notice © 2004 Sage Publications
ISSN 1468-0173
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