University of Worcester Worcester Research and Publications

The Social Construction of Bereavement Support In Voluntary Organisations

Robinson, C.H. (2011) The Social Construction of Bereavement Support In Voluntary Organisations. PhD thesis, University of Worcester.

Social_Construction_pdf.pdf - Accepted Version

Download (1MB) | Preview


This qualitative, phenomenological study focuses on the social construction of bereavement support in voluntary organisations. Three organisations were selected for the research project. These were an adult hospice, a local branch of Cruse, and PEAL (Parents Experiencing Adult Loss); an organisation unique to the locale at the time that the research for this study was conducted. Grounded theory research methodology was used to identify how these organisations construct their services. A key feature of this is their use of volunteers as bereavement supporters.
The prime objective of the study was identification of the social construction of these three agencies. In particular the intention was to reveal features contributing to the shaping of their service provision. To this end the research design was developed with the aim of allowing respondents scope for self-expression.
Twenty, one-to-one, face-to-face semi-structured interviews were conducted and audio-taped with self-selected respondents from the three agencies. The core category to emerge from the data was „boundaries‟ which was further divisible into commonly held properties classifiable as personal, professional, organisational and societal. Each of these were sub dividable, forming what might be referred to as a family tree. Underpinning this framework of boundaries is a common psychological approach to service provision which draws on the Freudian tradition in counselling. A further feature in their commonality is that of the profile of the volunteer workforce which is drawn largely from a mono-cultural, middle class sector of the community.
The central contention of the thesis is that in this instance, boundaries have become a significant influence on the shaping of service provision. It is argued that an overriding individualist perspective can serve to ensure that traditional boundaries are established and maintained, making a more diverse approach to service provision difficult to attain.
Key words: boundaries (personal, professional, organisational, societal); social construction; bereavement support; grounded theory; individualism; power; culture; volunteer motivation.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information:

A thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the University's requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
A print copy of this thesis is held on Level 4 at the Hive.

Uncontrolled Discrete Keywords: social construction, bereavement support, voluntary organisations
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Divisions: College of Health, Life and Environmental Sciences > School of Allied Health and Community
Depositing User: Janet Davidson
Date Deposited: 01 May 2012 15:33
Last Modified: 08 Jun 2021 09:23

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item
Worcester Research and Publications is powered by EPrints 3 which is developed by the School of Electronics and Computer Science at the University of Southampton. More information and software credits.