“Resistance is futile”: the affordances and constraints of power upon learning in a multi-agency community-of-practice

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

Abstract

Purpose: This empirical paper examines the learning of professionals-practitioners within the multi-agency teams of a Children’s Services department. It develops new insights into how learning is afforded and constrained through power dynamics operating within this context. As collaboration increasingly becomes the norm across the sectors, this research typifies the broader challenges facing contemporary organisations across developed economies. Design/Methodological approach: Aligning with the socio-cultural perspective adopted, the research takes a qualitative and largely inductive methodological approach. Data were generated through photo-elicitation interviews. Findings: The data provide clear evidence that a new multi-agency community-of-practice had developed. However, within this community there were clear asymmetries in power relations. To some extent these mirrored the traditional professional hierarchies. However, other professional-practitioner groups were also being afforded increased power. This was both constraining and affording their learning, and that of others. Limitations/implications: The small-scale nature of this inquiry is recognised, as is its reliance upon reports of practice rather than workplace observations. Approaches to extending the research are offered. Originality/value: The research presents new insights into the realities of collaborative working: how power dynamics impact upon the learning and co-creation of new practice-knowing. The use of visual methods has offered new insights into these professional-practitioners’ lives that might have been left unrevealed through conventional methods. Practical implications: As we face the challenges of shifting workplace configurations in efforts to confront the complexities of change, there is a need for HRD-practitioners to recognise of how power dynamics within workplaces impact upon the learning of employees involved.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2014
Event15th International Conference on Human Resource Development Research and Practice across Europe (Universities Forum for HRD) - Edinburgh Napier
Duration: 1 Jun 2014 → …
http://www.ufhrd.co.uk/wordpress/

Conference

Conference15th International Conference on Human Resource Development Research and Practice across Europe (Universities Forum for HRD)
Period1/06/14 → …
Internet address

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