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Translating Robotic Process Automation in social work: Aspired changes and the role of technology

Conference contribution
Authors Agneta Ranerup
Published in Presented at the 17th Scandinavian Workshop on E-government (SWEG), Gothenburg, January 29-30 2020
Publication year 2020
Published at Department of Applied Information Technology (GU)
Language en
Keywords Robotic Process Automation, social work, dissemination, Actor-Network Theory
Subject categories Information Systems, Social aspects, Public Administration Studies


The focus in this study is on digitalization and Robotic Process Automation (RPA) in social work. The study provides a qualitative analysis of three events related to the dissemination of information technology in social work: The first implementation of RPA in a municipality in Sweden, a dissemination project run by this municipality and a dissemination project run by the national agency of municipalities in this country. They all involve translations of aspired changes related to digitalization and RPA in social assistance. Our research questions are: 1) What are the leading actors ́ ideas about aspired changes related to the digitalization in general, and the RPA in particular, in decisions about social assistance? 2) What is the role of technology? Variations found were regarding the larger aims with the aspired changes and the issue of trust in citizens. Other aspired changes where similar: such as the focus on a streamlined application process, the issue of measuring results, introducing an e-application and maximizing services to citizens. A significant effect of the aspired changes was the need to increase the usage of information technology among citizens who apply for social assistance. This need and the focus on helping applicants to become self-supporting serve to support an inclusive perspective on citizens in need.

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Utskriftsdatum: 2020-08-12