G5 Doctoral dissertation (article)
Vammaispalvelun asiakas-työntekijäsuhteen rakentuminen vuorovaikutuksessa (2021)
The communicative construction of client-worker relationship in disability services

Nykänen, H. (2021). Vammaispalvelun asiakas-työntekijäsuhteen rakentuminen vuorovaikutuksessa [Doctoral dissertation]. Jyväskylän yliopisto. JYU Dissertations, 452. http://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-951-39-8914-9

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editors: Nykänen, Hanna

eISBN: 978-951-39-8914-9

Journal or series: JYU Dissertations

eISSN: 2489-9003

Publication year: 2021

Number in series: 452

Number of pages in the book: 1 verkkoaineisto (107 sivua, 39 sivua useina numerointijaksoina)

Publisher: Jyväskylän yliopisto

Place of Publication: Jyväskylä

Publication country: Finland

Publication language: Finnish

Persistent website address: http://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-951-39-8914-9

Publication open access: Openly available

Publication channel open access: Open Access channel


Social work plays a key role in ensuring equality for citizens, as successful social work can ensure that marginalized people receive the support and help they need. The route toward the achievement of set welfare policy goals is built both at the level of the institution and management, as well as in the everyday encounters between workers and clients. However, social services also receive criticism from clients due to clients´ experiences of inequality and injustice. The aim of this dissertation is to describe how the client-worker relationship in disability services is constructed discursively through interaction. This research produces information that supports the creation of client-worker relationships and thereby the development of client services and experiences. Specifically, this dissertation consists of four qualitative research articles. The data consist of blog posts written by clients of disability services and their relatives, interviews with disability service workers, and observation data from disability services’ client juries. The research also relies on social constructionism and utilizes various discursive methods of analysis. The results show that the meaning of the client-worker relationship is constructed by the simultaneous negotiation of institutional roles as well as interpersonal expectations and needs, which are rooted in the contradiction between interpersonality and institutionalism. The discourse of the institutional role is associated with a power asymmetry that appears problematic, especially when the meanings constructed by the worker about the client and the client’s needs conflict with and overrule the client’s own meanings. The conclusions problematize the role of the client-worker relationship in preventing client exclusion from the perspective of building experiences of inclusion and eliminating otherness.

Keywords: services for the disabled; customer service; customer relationship; interaction; customer orientation; customer experience; discourse; doctoral dissertations

Free keywords: client-worker; disability services; interpersonal communication; relation dialectis; identity; power; conflict

Contributing organizations

Ministry reporting: Yes

Reporting Year: 2021

Last updated on 2022-24-11 at 20:50