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Male social worker dispositions: A multiple case study

Mark A Giesler, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


The literature lacks a discussion of the male presence in social work. Using the theoretical framework that gender role assumptions influence perceptions about occupations, this multiple case study explored how 12 male social workers perceived their occupational roles. The grand tour question was, "How do male social workers describe their professional experiences?" The sub-questions for the study were: (1) How do male social workers choose their careers? (2) How do male social workers describe their preservice preparation programs? (3) How do male social workers describe their job duties? (4) How do male social workers describe their supervisors and co-workers? (5) How do male social workers react to stereotypes about males in social work? ^ Data analysis of the interview transcripts resulted in six themes: (a) movement into and within the profession, (b) preservice training experiences, (c) job challenges, (d) perceived stigma, (e) male privilege, and (f) identified strengths. The themes were applied to Evans' (2002) writings on negotiation and emotional work. The study problematized the assumption that males in female-identified professions universally reproduce power and privilege in their attempts to resolve gender role conflict. Male social workers negotiate their status as gender minority in ways that both sustain and challenge hegemonic masculinity. ^ Implications for both social work practice and academia were shared. The social work academy and workplace were encouraged to consider gender-based biases that might impact males' participation in the field.^

Subject Area

Social Work|Sociology, Industrial and Labor Relations|Gender Studies|Education, Higher

Recommended Citation

Giesler, Mark A, "Male social worker dispositions: A multiple case study" (2006). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3230063.