• Anja Brinch Hansen
4. term, Social Work, Master (Master Programme)
The aim of this qualitative study of team meetings in a Child and Family Department is to uncover and unfold how professional disagreement is expressed among social advisors at team meetings and to identify what elements may either hinder or encourage the expression of professional disagreement.
Based on an interactionist understanding, I have chosen to investigate this by observing team meetings in a Child and Family Department in a medium-sized municipality. The observational study is supplemented by interviews with social advisors. In this way, I have studied both the social advisors’ own understanding of the phenomenon as well as the phenomenon occurring in practice. The analysis is unfolded in an interaction between problem areas, empirical evidence, and theory, with emphasis on Erwin Goffman's theoretical and analytical concepts.
Overall, it can be concluded from the study that professional disagreement is in fact present among social advisors at team meetings, although it might not be explicit as it is often expressed in a relatively mild and cautious manner. The professional disagreement manifests itself through opposition and, if it is constructive, it can encourage reflection within the individual social advisor. However, if the professional disagreement creates resistance within the social advisor, this will cause the person to withdraw. The individual’s need for acknowledgement as well as trust and confidence within the team may be inhibitory elements which contribute to the absence of professional disagreement. In addition, the need for ventilation – the act of sharing complicated issues – is often viewed as greater than the need for professional unfolding.
Despite the fact that the social advisors talk positively about curiosity, wonder and professional disagreement (and that this factor has been identified as key to promoting professional disagreement), this element is rarely expressed at team meetings.
It can be both difficult and demanding to raise professional disagreement at team meetings, but it is nevertheless important to focus on professional disagreement in order to ensure professional development in social work.
Publication date13 Sept 2018
Number of pages72
ID: 286926421