Exploring strategies and challenges in dealing with involuntary clients. A study in the context of United Arab Emirates

Al ketbi, Rashed (2019) Exploring strategies and challenges in dealing with involuntary clients. A study in the context of United Arab Emirates. [Thesis (PhD/Research)]

Text (Whole Thesis)
FINAL THESIS - 06.12.2019.pdf

Download (3MB) | Preview


The practice of dealing with involuntary social service clients raises considerable concerns about effectiveness across the globe. The United Arab Emirates is not an exception. Practitioners are expected to perform with due diligence and empathic care while dealing with resistant clients, nevertheless ensuring maximum service quality. Studies show that practitioners feel significantly challenged in the service delivery process. Clients often show negative reactions to practitioners for a number of reasons. The result is often a conflict-laden environment which delivers sub-optimal outcomes. It is therefore essential to explore the strategies and key challenges to manage involuntary, resistant social services clients. Previous Western-centric strategies and studies have identified several critical factors relating to the management of involuntary clients. Social services agencies in a number of developed countries, Australia amongst them, have been working to develop best practice models and procedures for managing involuntary clients. However, this has not received due attention in UAE both in academic, research, and practical application. Hence, this research explores the current strategies, experiences, and challenges in dealing with involuntary social services clients in the context of Social Services Centres (SSC) in the UAE within the broader socio-cultural environment of that country. This is a single method study. A qualitative method approach was adopted in the form of in-depth semi-structured interviews. Initially, a detailed literature review was carried out to identify the strategies and challenges in dealing with involuntary clients. From this analysis, in-depth semi-structured interviews were conducted with 21 participants comprised of social workers engaged in dealing with involuntary clients from three cities in UAE, which represented different regions and demographic variables. These were Abu Dhabi, Al Ain, and Al Gharbia. The technique used to analyse the qualitative interview findings was thematic content analysis. To confirm the results, Leximancer software Version 4.5 was used to reanalyse and validate them. This authenticated the overall qualitative interview findings. The most important and most ubiquitously used strategies are better communication and having a conducive atmosphere. Other major themes comprise a positive attitude, establishing a client profile, and freedom of expression. Further factors worth mentioning are the comfort, training and workshop, rapport building, confidence building, a helping nature, empathy, a calm attitude, safety measures and maintenance of boundaries. During the qualitative focused interviews, these factors emerged as quite prominent, and the participants stressed these as important for effective engagement with involuntary clients. The qualitative focused interviews revealed some important challenges which these social workers faced at the time of communication: clients’ anger, frustration, embarrassment, reluctance and a lack of confidence, discipline and motivation. All these pose huge challenges for social workers because they lead involuntary clients to a situation of poor communication with social workers. The interview outcome further revealed a combination of strategies followed at the three social worker centres situated in Abu Dhabi, Al Ain and Al Gharbia. Findings revealed that social workers are on the same page while dealing with such clients. Apart from the two strategies mentioned in all centres, communication and conducive atmosphere, the prominent themes emerging from these three social service centres were a positive attitude, a client profile, and freedom of expression. The study has opened an opportunity for social science researchers and industry practitioners, managers and educators as the strategies in dealing with involuntary clients in the context of the UAE were addressed in detail. It has created new knowledge for social workers not only in the Middle East but in other parts of the world wherein these strategies can be used to develop effective communication with involuntary clients. Hence, new learning for social workers across the globe has been offered. From the academic standpoint, this study gives in-depth insights into strategies and challenges which itself is an effective contribution to the literature.

Statistics for USQ ePrint 39942
Statistics for this ePrint Item
Item Type: Thesis (PhD/Research)
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts - School of Management and Enterprise (1 Jul 2013 - 17 Jan 2021)
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts - School of Management and Enterprise (1 Jul 2013 - 17 Jan 2021)
Supervisors: Soar, Jeffrey; Murray, Peter; Yusaf, Talal
Date Deposited: 20 Oct 2020 05:08
Last Modified: 21 Apr 2021 00:05
Uncontrolled Keywords: involuntary clients, social worker, resistant clients, strategies, challenges, Middle-East
Fields of Research (2008): 16 Studies in Human Society > 1607 Social Work > 160799 Social Work not elsewhere classified
Identification Number or DOI: doi:10.26192/j18w-1y69
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/39942

Actions (login required)

View Item Archive Repository Staff Only