Australian social workers’ understandings of technology in practice

Journal article

Harris, Sera. (2021). Australian social workers’ understandings of technology in practice. Australian Social Work. pp. 1-13.
AuthorsHarris, Sera

Existing international research that tracks technology use in social work practice often focuses on specific forms of technology. The study outlined in this article explored Australian social workers’ understanding and use of technology related to their practice experiences more broadly. With a sample of 100 participants who had less than 12 months to 20+ years of social work experience, the study found that Australian social workers utilise technology without clear boundaries, policies, or professional access. It found that organisations prioritise technological resources for outcomes measurement rather than finding ways technology could benefit service user relationships. Social workers attempt to mediate practice tensions and complexities by understanding client-centred approaches rather than specific theories or social work models with technology. This study suggests that guidelines and conceptualisations for social work practice with technology require further development. This article argues for a social work–based understanding of technology as a context of practice, requiring social workers to navigate profession-specific knowledge, skills, and values to contribute to social work–led technology.

Keywordssocial work practice; technology; social workers
JournalAustralian Social Work
Journal citationpp. 1-13
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Scopus EID2-s2.0-85114020472
Research or scholarlyResearch
Page range1-13
Publisher's version
All rights reserved
File Access Level
Output statusIn press
Publication dates
Online01 Sep 2021
Publication process dates
Accepted24 Jun 2021
Deposited12 Jan 2022
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‘Caring and connected’ : Technology and social worker self-care
Harris, Sera and Stout, Brian. (2021). ‘Caring and connected’ : Technology and social worker self-care. Journal of Social Work Practice. pp. 1-14.