'You don't have to shout' - vocal behaviour in social work communication


Hanna, S. and Nash, M. 2011. 'You don't have to shout' - vocal behaviour in social work communication. Social Work Education. 31 (4), pp. 485-497. https://doi.org/10.1080/02615479.2011.564610
Title'You don't have to shout' - vocal behaviour in social work communication
AuthorsHanna, S. and Nash, M.

In the context of an increasing trend toward indirect service user/practitioner contact, this article argues that voice quality, vocal features, and the use of paralanguage can facilitate communication and/or negatively reinforce social difference and professional hierarchies of power in social work practice. These issues will be considered with reference to a finding from a qualitative research study undertaken in New Zealand with Intake Social Workers (ISW) at the National Contact Centre of Child Youth and Family (CYF). The National Contact Centre (NCC) is a social work call centre, and the official entry point to New Zealand's statutory child protection system. The research explored how ISWs constructed their practice in a call centre environment. The study identified the importance to many ISWs of achieving a calm, respectful telephone manner towards service users. A smaller number of participants showed more in-depth appreciation of the impact of vocal behaviour on practice, drawing attention to the effect of paralanguage on relationships with callers. Strategies for the teaching of this skill set to social work students will be considered.

PublisherTaylor & Francis (Routledge)
JournalSocial Work Education
Publication dates
Print31 Mar 2011
Publication process dates
Deposited04 Jul 2014
Output statusPublished
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1080/02615479.2011.564610
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