Social Work Ethics in Saudi Arabia: An Exploration

Abdulaziz Albrithen, Linda Briskman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Ethical approaches to social work are central to professional practice, with social workers expected to adhere to ethical standards in their work contexts. The expansion of social work in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has coincided with changes in life patterns that saw a decline in the social solidarity of families, tribes and communities. Discussion of social work ethics has not been robust at this stage and nor has the desirability or otherwise of introducing a code of ethics. Up until now, the application of social work ethics in Saudi Arabia is largely dependent on theoretical frameworks offered to students, as there is an absence of accrediting or licensing bodies. This paper examines the evolution of social work and social work ethics in Saudi Arabia and discusses similarities and differences with Western notions of ethics. It reports on research conducted with social workers in Saudi Arabia using both qualitative (focus groups) and quantitative (questionnaire) methods. The research responded to two core research questions: how do social workers in Saudi Arabia understand ethics in their practice and is a code of ethics the way forward for the social work profession in Saudi Arabia? The findings suggest that there is more need for ethics development in Saudi Arabia and increased research to guide the development of a code that coheres with the Saudi context.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2192-2209
Number of pages18
JournalBritish Journal of Social Work
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Saudi Arabia
  • Social work ethics
  • Western constructions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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