Submit a Manuscript to the Journal

Journal of Social Work Practice

For a Special Issue on

Social Work Teams

Abstract deadline
15 September 2023

Manuscript deadline
01 April 2024

Cover image - Journal of Social Work Practice

Special Issue Editor(s)

Laura Cook, University of East Anglia, UK
[email protected]

Pia Tham, Uppsala University, Sweden
[email protected]

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Social Work Teams

The Journal of Social Work Practice promotes the use of psychodynamic and systemic perspectives to explore practice, organisational culture and group processes in social work. We are pleased to announce a call for papers for a special issue of the journal, focusing on the role and function of teams in social work.

Teams are the key organisational structure through which social work services are delivered. Interactions between team members are important for professional judgement, wellbeing and retention among social workers. Discussion with team colleagues can provide emotional containment for practitioners and a secure base, helping them to manage the stressors of practice. Workers who feel well-supported by their teams are more likely to find satisfaction in their work and to stay in the profession. However, team dynamics and culture can also create barrier to effective practice. While existing research highlights the significance of teams and their influence on all areas of social work practice, these discussions are often subsumed within broader studies of professional judgement and wellbeing. This special issue seeks to bring teams to the fore, building our understanding of the relationship between social work teams, resilience, retention and decision-making.

Topics will include, but are not limited to:

  • The team as a site for emotional labour, support and containment
  • Sense-making, case construction and decision-making in teams
  • The team as a space for professional learning and socialisation
  • Knowledge-use and exchange in social work teams
  • Peer support and informal supervision within teams
  • Leadership and management in social work teams
  • Team culture, dynamics and defences
  • The legacy of Covid-19 for social work teams
  • Research methods used to study social work teams

Both empirical and theoretical contributions are welcome, relating to any area of social work. Submissions which explore the relationship between the areas above are particularly welcome (e.g. the impact of team culture on decision-making, or the relationship between informal support and professional learning etc.) This special issue is a valuable opportunity to establish an international picture of the current research and thinking on teams.

Submission Instructions

Submission guidelines

We invite authors to submit a 300-word abstract summarising their proposed article. Abstracts should be emailed to Dr Laura Cook at: [email protected]. The deadline for submission is Friday 15th September, 2023.The editors will then select a sample of abstracts to proceed to full article. Authors will be informed of the decision in early October 2023. The deadline for the full manuscript drafts will be early April 2024. The final special issue will consist of 8-9 articles across a range of countries and settings, published late 2024. Please contact either of the guest editors with any questions, or for an informal discussion around article proposals.

Guest editors

Dr Laura L. Cook is a Lecturer in Social Work at the University of East Anglia. She teaches across the qualifying and post-qualifying social work programmes. She is Director of the Centre for Research and Families (CRCF) and her research interests include professional identity, judgement and practice in social work. Her email address is [email protected].

Professor Pia Tham is based in the Department of Social Work, Uppsala University, Sweden. Her research interests include working conditions of social workers and the transition from university to working in the profession. More recently a special focus has been on factors contributing to work satisfaction and retention. Her email address is [email protected].


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