Abstract: How Workplace Social Capital Cultivate Social Workers' Voice Behaviors Under the Individual-Professional Dilemma (Society for Social Work and Research 26th Annual Conference - Social Work Science for Racial, Social, and Political Justice)

281P How Workplace Social Capital Cultivate Social Workers' Voice Behaviors Under the Individual-Professional Dilemma

Schedule:
Friday, January 14, 2022
Marquis BR Salon 6, ML 2 (Marriott Marquis Washington, DC)
* noted as presenting author
Zhao Ph., MA, Student, Central China Normal University, Wuhan, China
Zheng GH., PhD, Professor, Central China Normal University, China
Fan CY., PhD, Teacher, Central China Normal University, China
Abstract´╝Ü

Background/Purpose: Ethical dilemmas affect social workers' voice behavior and service quality. Most of the previous studies that have discussed ethical dilemmas in social work have focused on the structural, institutional, and cultural levels, exploring the ethical dilemmas between professional ethics and social ethics, and between social workers and clients. However, social work practitioners are not "tools" of professional ethics. When dealing with clients, professional ethics may conflict with their individual ethics.

Both the personal-professional dilemma and the vocal behavior of social workers occur in the midst of the workplace. This study examines the effects of three types of workplace social capital (linking, bridging, and bonding) on two types of employees (individual and professional) and their vocal behaviors. We hope that this study will motivate social work organizations to make adjustments that will help social workers express themselves freely and authentically and move beyond their personal and professional ethical dilemmas.

Methods: Data and sample: The data are from a survey conducted in mainland China in December 2020 titled Professional Strengths of Social Workers in Grassroots Governance. The survey used a multi-stage sampling method to purposively selected eight cities of different sizes from three provinces with different levels of economic development, and randomly selected 20 municipal districts and 100 social work organizations within the districts to obtain a total of 1669 valid samples.

Measures: We used a survey experiment in which the control condition and the intervention condition were randomly assigned to respondents. The intervention condition was a frequent category of legal aid programs in social work - severe child abuse,In this case, the social worker feels the tension between personal and professional ethics. Afterwards, we set up three different scenarios to reflect the power of social capital in the three workplaces and asked respondents how they dealt with this situation.

Results: We found that workplace social capital had different effects on social workers who adhered to different ethics; it significantly enhanced the voice behavior of social workers who adhered to professional ethics and reduced the voice behavior of social workers who adhered to individual ethics, but there was no significant effect of workplace social capital on the voice behavior of social workers who remained neutral. Meanwhile, the three types of workplace social capital had different effects on vocal behaviors, with linking social capital having the greatest effect, followed by bonding social capital, and bridging social capital having the least effect, both for positive and negative effects.And this difference may be related to the state of development of social work.

Conclusion and implication: Under personal-professional dilemmas, workplace social capital supports work ethics and inhibits employees' vocal behavior, thus affecting social workers' enthusiasm and quality of work. Therefore, social organizations that often deal with complex social issues (e.g., substance abuse, domestic violence, sexual assault) need to remain open, give social workers some space for personal values, and not put too much pressure on their professional values.