• Lise Täck Christoffersen
4. term, Social Work, Master (Master Programme)
This thesis examines the potentials and challenges of mentoring efforts as a mandatory based activity, from the client’s perspective. The target group is clients over the age of 30 who in addition to unemployment have other challenges that are preventing them from entering the workforce. These challenges can be health issues and/or social issues. I am interested in examining the expectations attached to the roles in mentoring efforts, which the mentor as well as the client will find themselves in, and how clients position themselves in relation to this. Mentoring used as a mandatory tool implies that clients are sought to be guided towards normative objectives which they may be motivated or partly motivated towards, that they will negotiate or distance themselves to. The dilemma in mentoring as a mandatory based activity is thus the tension between clients autonomy versus control. The mentors should motivate the clients to independently voice their own goals and desires which are in accordance with the normative goals, and thus seek to motivate the clients to want the normatively correct goals.
This thesis has a constructivist and interactionistic approach as my scientific paradigms, which is both a study on macro and micro levels. The theoretical basis for this thesis at the macro level is the theory by Michel Foucault, who with governmentality and the modern management of human self-management implies a perspective, where the power of mentoring as a mandatory based activity can be both productive and disciplining. The control template requires that the citizens are motivated, or becomes motivated to, recognize their challenges and decide on milestones for their personal circumstances for which they during the mentoring process must cooperate with the mentor to develop. The truth regime is the belief that everyone can be mentored/trained/developed to obtain a job.
The theoretical basis for this thesis at the micro level is the theories by Erving Goffman: Frame, role, line, facework and stigma. These theories are resulting in a perspective which is linked to expectations of the role that clients must join in, which they can distance themselves from, and/or negotiate in the specific interaction. With the use of these theories I will identify how clients position themselves to the frames, expectations and roles from the mentoring effort. The empirical data consists of documents, which is the jobcenter’s description with regard to the mentoring effort, as well as observations of conversations between mentor and 5 of the 6 responders/clients, and six qualitative interviews with clients participating in a mentoring program.
This thesis concludes that mentoring efforts as a mandatory activity has to set the expectations of clients who are not motivated to take part, or who distance themselves from the activity. The main challenge in mentoring, is when the clients is distancing themselves from the expectations that are set with regard to the particular role that is expected from the client. There is a tendency that the clients, whom distance themselves from this role, position the mentor in the role of systems guide, where cooperation is about applications for individual services and so on. There is also a tendency that clients, who are distancing themselves from the goals, also are distancing themselves from the truth regime; that everyone is able to evolve towards getting a job by the means of job training etc. The clients have participated in job training earlier, which according to them has not brought any progression towards getting a job. A number of clients point out structural conditions as the reason for why that they cannot get a job which this analysis and several studies suggest is a real challenge for the target group in this thesis. The overall challenge for mentoring as mandatory offer is thus that it does not seek a change in relation to the structural conditions, but seeks to motivate individuals to change their behavior, recognize their own challenges and accept the dogma that everyone can evolve towards a job. It is the conclusion that this dilemma is a contradiction in relation to the overall desire to help and support this group of clients, who often have serious challenges and issues besides unemployment.
Publication date2 Jun 2015
Number of pages99
ID: 213462829