University of Worcester Worcester Research and Publications

The Influence of Professional Cultures on Collaborative Working in Children's Centres

Messenger, Wendy (2012) The Influence of Professional Cultures on Collaborative Working in Children's Centres. PhD thesis, University of Worcester.

PHD Thesis Wendy Messenger (PDF).pdf - Submitted Version

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In Children’s Centres in England professionals from different heritages including Education, Early Years, Family Support and Health have been required to work collaboratively together in order to meet the needs of children and families. Through my work with Children’s Centre leaders and other Children’s Centre professionals, I came to understand this was a complex process that whilst bringing many opportunities, also presented challenges. This study seeks to understand professional culture and how it influences collaborative working within this context.
It is primarily a qualitative study and draws upon cultural and socio-cultural theory in order to provide a framework for understanding. It is also influenced by grounded theory and is based within the interpretive paradigm as it seeks to elicit the views of different professionals and to enable their voices to be heard. The first phase of the research involved the distribution of a questionnaire across one government region in England in order to conduct an initial scoping exercise. The second phase took the form of twenty eight semi-structured interviews with professionals from Health, Education, Family Support and Early Years. Sixteen of these took place within a Case Study Children’s Centre and twelve took place with others who became known as the ‘Bystanders’. Lastly a focus group interview within the Case Study Children’s Centre was undertaken.
Ethical considerations in relation to British Educational Research Association (BERA) Guidelines were followed and particular attention was paid in relation to confidentiality and anonymity. In order to ensure reliability and credibility, the research has been shared and scrutinised with others in a range of forums including peer researchers, and experienced professionals who have worked in the field.
The research findings suggest that professional culture does influence collaborative working in Children’s Centres but the personal qualities of the professionals themselves and intra-emotional challenges are also influential. Furthermore, different professional groups present with their own specific challenges and a culture of respectfulness needs to be developed based upon indicators described in the thesis. It is at the interface of respectfulness, professional culture and personal qualities that a new culture of the Third Space emerges and it is in this space that high quality collaborative working can take place. Furthermore, this new psychodynamic model of collaborative working has the potential of transferability to other contexts beyond Children’s Centres.

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 version of this PhD thesis is held on Level 4 at the Hive.

Uncontrolled Discrete Keywords: children, families, Children's Centres, collaborative working, professional culture
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
L Education > L Education (General)
Divisions: College of Arts, Humanities and Education > School of Education
Depositing User: Janet Davidson
Date Deposited: 19 Nov 2013 13:42
Last Modified: 17 Jun 2020 17:01

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