Profiles

Tommy Lundström. Foto: Eva Dalin

Tommy Lundström

Professor i socialt arbete

Visa sidan på svenska
Works at Department of Social Work
Telephone 08-674 73 64
Email tommy.lundstrom@socarb.su.se
Visiting address Sveavägen 160, Sveaplan
Room 733
Postal address Institutionen för socialt arbete 106 91 Stockholm

About me

My research and teaching includes child protection, evidence based social work and social work organization. I have written about the Swedish history of child protection and is currently working with the project "The new child welfare market - a study of producers of residential care". 

Publications

A selection from Stockholm University publication database
  • 2018. Tommy Lundström, Marie Sallnäs, Emelie Shanks. Nordic Social Work Research

    The field of residential care for children and youth in Sweden is often termed unstable and turbulent. During recent decades the field has been subject to many changes. In this study, the development and changes in the field of residential care for children and youth in terms of ownership structure and treatment ideas will be analysed. The study is particularly focused on the changes in ownership structure that have taken place during the 2010s. It also analyses changes in treatment ideas, and discusses how these may relate to transformations of ownership structures as well as to dimensions of institutional logics, such as legislation and other types of normative pressure from the environment. The result reveals that of the approximately 450 treatment oriented residential care units (excluding homes for refugee children), close to 80 % are today run by private companies and to a growing extent by large for-profit corporations. Parallel – and possibly related – to the changes in ownership structure, the dominant treatment ideas have changed over time. The changes in the field can be summarised as a transformation from small-scale establishments with a family logic, to large-scale establishments with a professional logic, or more specifically from a domination of small family run units with milieu therapy to big business and a focus on evidence based interventions.

  • 2018. Hugo Stranz, Åke Bergmark, Tommy Lundström. Socialvetenskaplig tidskrift
  • 2017. Pernilla Leviner, Tommy Lundström.
  • 2018. Emelie Shanks (et al.). Socialtjänstmarknaden, 116-133
  • 2018. Tommy Lundström, Marie Sallnäs, Stefan Wiklund. Socialtjänstmarknaden, 61-84
  • 2017. Patrik Karlsson, Anders Bergmark, Tommy Lundström. International Journal of Social Welfare 26 (2), 177-187

    Research indicates that a number of psychosocial interventions are effective for reducing behavioural problems in youth. These interventions are now often included on best practice lists aiming to facilitate informed treatment choices among practitioners. However, analyses in neighbouring research areas have highlighted serious shortcomings in how primary studies are analysed and how studies are synthesised in research reviews. This study took a closer look at the evidence of efficacy for psychosocial interventions that aim to reduce behavioural problems in youth, as shown in systematic research reviews by the Cochrane and the Campbell Collaborations (n = 8). The findings suggest a bias towards overemphasising the efficacy of the interventions in several reviews, an over-confidence in the validity of the findings in some reviews and, overall, a somewhat uncertain evidence base for the efficacy of the interventions. Systematic reviews are crucial for summarising research but more attention to methodological issues may be needed in this area.

  • 2017. Tommy Lundström. Tvångsvård av barn och unga
  • 2017. Åke Bergmark (et al.). Socionomens forskningssupplement (41), 34-48
  • 2016. Tommy Lundström. Socionomen (1)
  • 2016. Gabrielle Meagher (et al.). Social Policy & Administration 50 (7), 805-823

    This article analyzes the transformation of Swedish residential care homes for children from a regionally coordinated, public social service system into a thin, but highly profitable, national spot market in which large corporations have a growing presence. Marketization and privatization are theorized as complex processes, through which the institutional structure and logics of this small, but significant, social policy field changed profoundly. Using official documents, register data, media reports and existing research, three consecutive phases in the development of the children’s home market are identified since the early 1980s. Change was driven on one hand by policies inspired by New Public Management, which shifted public authority horizontally to the private sector, and vertically to local authorities (funding) and to the state (regulation). On the other hand were responses of local authorities and private actors to the changing incentives that policy shifts entailed. During the first two phases, both the proportion and size of for-profit providers increased, and the model of family-like care was replaced by a professional model. Cutting across the trend of privatization in the third phase was establishment of a parallel system of homes for unaccompanied refugee children – mostly in public ownership. Similarities with privatization in the English system of children’s care homes are noted. By showing how the Swedish market for residential care has been created by policy and by actors’ responses to those reforms, the article provides a foundation for thinking through how the predictable, significant and well-documented problems of such care markets might be addressed.

  • 2016. Stig Elofsson, Tommy Lundström, Emelie Shanks. European Journal of Social Work 19 (5), 664-678

    The purpose of this study was to examine how middle managers within the personal social services in Sweden perceived demands, control and support at work. The study group included 402 frontline, second tier and third tier managers who have answered questions concerning their work situation and perceptions of their psychosocial work environment. Based on Karasek's demand–control model, a ‘high strain’ group was defined and analysed further. The results showed that this group experienced less support from immediate superiors, but no correlation could be found between high strain and other forms of support, such as courses on leadership, managerial supervision or networks. Organisational factors, such as municipality size, managerial level, number of subordinates and field of social work, seemed to be of little importance. Comparisons between the ‘high strain’ group and other managers showed that the high strain group spent more hours working with administration, that they to a lesser degree regarded budget responsibility as a way to exercise power in the organisation and that they had a more negative view on their organisation, especially concerning the possibility to influence decisions. They also had less confidence in the way the organisation was governed.

  • 2015. Patrik Karlsson, Tommy Lundström. Socialmedicinsk Tidskrift 92 (5), 553-565

    ADHD är den snabbast växande psykiatriska diagnosen bland unga i Sverige. Till många av de diagnostiserade förskrivs också läkemedel. I artikeln analyseras geografiska skillnader i förskrivning. De kommunala skillnaderna är mycket stora men skillnaderna kan bara i viss grad förklaras av variabler på kommunal nivå. Kommunernas tillhörighet till landsting tycks ha stor betydelse för nivån på förskrivning och systemfaktorer som olikartad organisering, mer eller mindre explicit policy och professionell hållning diskuteras som tänkbara förklaringar till skillnader som inte endast kan ha att göra med förekomst av fenomenet.

  • 2015. Tommy Lundström, Emelie Shanks. Socionomens forskningssupplement (3), 26-41
  • 2015. Åke Bergmark, Tommy Lundström, Hugo Stranz. Socialvetenskaplig tidskrift 22 (2), 133-151

    R&D units in Swedish social services: From local integration to regional collaboration.

    For a period of over thirty years, the emergence of R&D units serving locally based Swedish social services has been considered an important ingredient in the evolvement of more professional and knowledge-based social services. It has also been regarded as a vital component for increasing practice orientation in social work research, both inside and outside the universities. In this article we describe and analyse the development of these units, with respect to their pro-liferation, organizational features and how they are valued by representatives of local social servi-ces. Our data show that almost every municipality in Sweden is, in one way or another, served by an R&D unit. These units, however, display a considerable variation with respect to basic resour-ces, activity and organizational framework. Data enabled the identification of four basic catego-ries that, more or less, represent different phases in the evolvement of R&D activities. At one end, representing the early stages, there are units integrated with and exclusively serving single municipalities. At the other end there are R&D units organized within regional associa-tions, serving multiple municipalities and in general established in recent years. In between, there are two categories of R&D units formed in direct collaboration between a limited number of municipalities – one category formally connected to academia, another with less systematic con-tacts with university-based research. In general, development over time has resulted in a dilution of resources and an increasing distance between practice and R&D activities. Originally, the units were established by the initiatives of the municipalities and expected to respond to research needs emanating from practice. The regional associations have to a considerable extent been initiated and funded by earmarked state grants with the intention to implement evidence-based practice.

  • 2015. Emelie Shanks, Tommy Lundström, Stefan Wiklund. British Journal of Social Work 45 (6), 1871-1887

    With respect to marketisation and managerialism, the changes in the Swedish social services resemble the changes in many other countries. This article analyses how Swedish middle managers within the personal social services reason about professional identity, everyday work and leadership in the context of these changes. The study draws on four focus group interviews with a total of twenty-two managers. The results suggest a persisting social work identity among the managers, although noticeable changes have taken place within the social services. For example, the managers' budgetary and administrative responsibilities have increased, and relations to private companies in the area of residential care place new demands on their managerial skills. The managersseem to find some of the new conditions easier to integrate with their social work identity than others. The resistance to the reforms appear to be less obvious in Sweden than in, for example, the UK. There are a number of possible explanations for this. For example, it may be connected to the relatively mild implementation of marketisation and managerial strategies, a less apparent downsizing of social work and a relative lack of central state bureaucratic control.

  • 2014. Emelie Shanks, Tommy Lundström, Åke Bergmark. Human Service Organizations: Management, Leadership & Governance 38 (5), 435-447

    This study focuses on managers in the personal social services and aims to explore these managers’ qualifications and their views on what sources of knowledge have contributed most to their managerial competence. Findings indicate that most managers have undergone in-service managerial training and that a majority appear to rely on sources of knowledge that could be described as practice oriented for attaining managerial competences. This practice orientation is discussed in relation to the character of the in-service managerial training, the knowledge base of social work, and the lack of postgraduate managerial education offered by the Swedish schools of social work.

  • 2015. Tommy Lundström, Filip Wijkström. Med kärlek till det oordnade., 179-215
  • 2014. Patrik Karlsson, Anders Bergmark, Tommy Lundström. Evidence & Policy 10 (1), 61-76

    We explore how four evidence-producing organisations in the US go ahead when they rate the evidence base for psychosocial interventions, using the Incredible Years programme as our case study. The findings demonstrate variation in the procedures and resulting evidence claims across the organisations, with some organisations being strict and some being permissive. The presence of such conflicting practices highlights central challenges for the evidence-based practice framework and its ambition of obtaining uniform evidence statements. We conclude that practitioners and policy makers should be aware of such variation in order to be able to make informed decisions regarding which programmes to use.

  • 2014. Tommy Lundström, Marie Sallnäs. Tre decennier med socialtjänstlagen, 47-67
  • 2014. Maria Andersson Vogel, Marie Sallnäs, Tommy Lundström. Journal of Children's Services 9 (3), 248-260

    Purpose– The purpose of this paper is twofold: first, to report results from a quasi-experimental study of outcomes of a leaving care project for youth placed in secure unit care and second, based on the (zero) results, to analyse and discuss the interplay between organisational boundaries, social work and the target group when implementing a project such as the one studied.

    Design/methodology/approach– The outcome study had a quasi-experimental design. The young people in the leaving care programme were compared with a matched reference group who did not get the special leaving care services. Data were collected (structured Adolescent Drug Abuse Diagnosis-interviews) when the young people entered secure units and on follow-up (registered crime and re-entry into care).

    Findings– The outcome study showed that the leaving care project had no effect on the young people's situation at follow-up regarding re-offending and re-entry into secure unit care. This is understood and discussed in relation to the poor implementation of the leaving care project along with an inbuilt conflict between state and local municipality that overshadowed the good intentions of the project.

    Research limitations/implications– The effect study has a quasi-experimental design, and hence differences between the project group and the comparison group at T1 cannot be fully precluded, although nothing is pointing in such a direction. The unclear content of the intervention makes it difficult to decode how the variation in the support given to the young people eventually impacted the results. The zero-results apply to group level, but that may not be valid for each and every one in the project.

    Practical implications– According to earlier research, a key person following young persons through different phases of the care trajectory may be of importance. Learning from the CoC project, one can conclude that such a key person should preferably take the role of advocate for the young person, and not be an administrator mainly concerned with coordinating other professionals. Further, when planning and financing is split between organisations, that split hinders efforts to actually mobilise support for young people leaving secure unit care.

    Originality/value– Few leaving care services are designed for youth with severe behavioural problems and hence, the research is scarce. This study contributes with important knowledge about leaving care interventions for the target group.

  • 2011. Karen Healy, Tommy Lundström, Marie Sallnäs. Australian Social Work 64 (4), 416-431

    In this paper we present a comparative analysis of out-of-home care in Australia and Sweden. We compare the age structure of the out-of-home care population and the types of out-of-home care services provided to children and young people in both countries. Our analysis reveals that in Australia the out-of-home care service system is focused mainly on children who are deemed to be abused or neglected within their families, while in Sweden the majority of the out-of-home care population are teenagers who cannot live with their families for emotional or behavioural reasons. These population differences intersect with variations in the forms of service provision in both countries, with a much greater reliance on home-based care in Australia than in Sweden, while there is more extensive use of residential care in Sweden. We envisage that this paper will demonstrate how the age structure of the out-of-home care population, though rarely considered in international comparative child welfare research, reveals much about the assumptions on which State intervention with children and young people is based. We intend that this analysis will assist social workers to better understand and address the gaps in the quality and comprehensiveness of out-of-home care service provision to children and young people in both countries.

  • 2012. Tommy Lundström, Marie Sallnäs. Children and youth services review 34 (2), 396-402

    This article investigates siblingcontact among Swedish fostered children in foster and residentialcare. The study also examines a potential link between siblingcontact and psychosomatic status. Highly structured interviews were conducted with 240 young people (13–18 years) in out of homecare. Results show unfulfilled desire for siblingcontact among children in Swedishout-of-homecare. Nearly 40% of the children interviewed see their siblings more seldom than monthly and a good half of the children—more girls than boys—want more siblingcontact. The longer the time the children have spent in care, the greater is the risk of being without contact with brothers and sisters; and the more seldom the children see their siblings, the more they crave contact. The Swedishfamilyservicesystem is obviously no guarantee of fostered children keeping their desired contact with brothers and sisters. Thus, an important task for social workers and others involved in the life of separated children is to open opportunities for contact—if the children want it. From achildren's rights perspective, it is fundamental to facilitate siblingcontact among fostered children according to their own wishes.

  • 2011. Anders Bergmark, Tommy Lundström,. European Journal of Social Work 14 (3), 323-337

    Since the start of the 1990s, a number of professional fields in the Western world have been confronted with increasingly explicit demands for scientific assurance regarding the effects of the work they do. The debate on the relationship between research and practice in social work has often been carried out under the heading of evidence-based social work or evidence-based practice (EBP). This article is based on a survey distributed to a representative sample of social workers and middle managers within the Swedish municipal social services. The results indicate a generally positive attitude among Swedish social workers towards EBP; at the same time they show a low level of active contact with the research literature of relevance for EBP. The results are contextualized and discussed against the background of some major methodological issues in EBP, such as, for example, the so called Dodo bird verdict in psychotherapy outcome research.

  • 2011. Tommy Lundström. Familj, vardagsliv och modernitet. Göteborgs universitet: Institutionen för socialt arbete
  • 1997. Tommy Lundström, Filip Wijkström.
  • 2010. Tommy Lundström. Socialvetenskaplig tidskrift 17 (1), 82-91
Show all publications by Tommy Lundström at Stockholm University

Last updated: November 13, 2018

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