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Emotional intelligence, emotion and social work: context, characteristics, complications and contribution

Morrison, Tony (2007) Emotional intelligence, emotion and social work: context, characteristics, complications and contribution. British Journal of Social Work, 37 (2). pp. 245-263. ISSN 0045-3102

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Emotional intelligence (EI) has become one of the new management ‘buzz’ terms. It is
suggested that this is the missing ingredient that separates average from top management
or performance. However, despite its potential relevance for social work practice,
there has been little investigation and few reports about its application in social work
settings. This paper seeks to stimulate debate about the role of EI in social work practice
by considering its development, definitions and problematics. Whilst the empirical
evidence supporting the existence of a separate and measurable EI is ambiguous and
emergent, the role of emotion in the organization of human behaviour is more firmly
established. The paper examines the role of EI and emotion in relation to five core
social work tasks: engagement of users; assessment and observation; decision making;
collaboration and co-operation; dealing with stress. The paper situates itself in the rapidly
changing context of social work: the merger of social services departments with
larger more powerful bureaucracies; the movement towards integrated service delivery;
and the new social work degree. It is argued that social work needs to identify its
claims to professional competence at a time of such change, one of which is the ability
to use relationships to address users’ needs. This requires the capacity to handle both
one’s own and others’ emotions effectively.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: UoA 40 (Social Work and Social Policy and Administration) © The Author 2006. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The British Association of Social Workers. All rights reserved.
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Subjects: H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Schools: School of Human and Health Sciences
Related URLs:
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Depositing User: Sara Taylor
Date Deposited: 24 Aug 2007
Last Modified: 28 Aug 2021 23:30


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