This study investigates the use of the digital curriculum vitae (CV), a digital information system, in social work with vulnerable clients. The investigation takes the constructionist grounded theory approach to examine twenty-one open-ended qualitative interviews with social workers in Danish job centres. Social workers use digital CVs in three ways. First, they collect detailed information about their clients through a digital CV, which tests their vulnerable positions. Second, social workers can use the information collected in the digital CV to reveal skills and resources that clients do not value and rework the attitudes of clients towards the labour market. Third, social workers who work with the most vulnerable clients avoid and adapt digital CV usage to benefit their clients and thus resist prescribed procedures. Overall, the use of digital CVs depends on the perceived vulnerability of the clients. The current study shows that social workers collect and strategically employ digitally stored information to help their clients. Hence, they may risk overlooking the complexity of social issues or compromising the transparency of social work. The study demonstrates that the digitalisation of public service makes social work strategic in response to socially and technologically constraining welfare situations.
Bibliographical notePublished online: 03 March 2023.
- Social work
- Vulnerable clients