Teams interrupted: Social work teams as Communities of Practice and Coping during Covid-19

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


This chapter considers the functioning of social work teams during the Covid-19 pandemic. Existing research suggests that the team plays an important role in child and family social work. Informal conversations in the office act as a source of knowledge and supportive relationships with colleagues enable social workers to manage the emotional challenges of child welfare. However, during the pandemic mandatory home-working, coupled with increasingly hybrid working practices, presented both challenges and opportunities for social workers’ connection with colleagues. Drawing on research carried out by the authors, this chapter examines the impact of the pandemic on child and family social work teams in England. We introduce two concepts: Wenger’s (1998) Communities of Practice (CoP) and Korczynski’s (2003) Communities of Coping (ComC) as a theoretical framework for conceptualising teams. We consider the legacy of Covid-19 for social work teams, offering recommendations for supporting effective teamwork in the increasingly hybrid, post-pandemic world.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSocial Work During COVID-19
Subtitle of host publicationGlocal Perspectives and Implications for the Future of Social Work
EditorsTimo Harrikari, Joseph Mooney, Malathi Adusumalli, Paula McFadden, Tuomas Leppiaho
ISBN (Electronic)9781003374374
ISBN (Print)9781032215396
Publication statusPublished - 28 Apr 2023

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