The aim of this paper is to address the likelihood and implications of different social work concepts within a social service providing agency. Analysing two case studies focused on residential social services, we have identified the presence of several concepts of social work, and investigated the type of interaction between two different social work concepts – administrative-professional and philanthropic – in both facilities. These concepts were embodied in two types of official positions within the organisational structure: social workers and social service workers. We describe how different social work concepts influence the cooperation between their protagonists, and discuss their observed and potential implications for the quality of the service provided to clients. Finally, we present some suggestions for improving the quality of care under this specific setting.
social work conceptions, frontline workers, residential social services, case study