Interdisciplinary cooperation in the field of measure, means and method. A quick fix in professional assignments.

Research output: Contribution to conference without a publisher/journalPaperResearch

Abstract

Interdisciplinary cooperation in the field of measure, means and method. A quick fix in professional assignments.

In Denmark as in other European countries there is considerable political attention to key concepts like preventive work and early detection in relation to vulnerable children and young people. There is an implicit political assumption that preventive work and early detection reduce both the number of children being in vulnerable life circumstances and the level of their vulnerability. The professional frontline workers are key figures in this assignment as the interdisciplinary cooperation between different professional groups is highlighted as a confusion of measure, means and method in problem solving.

The objective of this paper is to discuss the implications of the interdisciplinary cooperation between four different groups of professionals (teachers, preschool teachers, social workers and nurses) in relation to both the nature of the cooperation and the consequences on the vulnerable children and young people as the confusion of measure, means and method and who is doing what under which circumstances seem to create competitive perspectives and logics in the assignment between the four groups of professionals.

My case is based on the implementation of a developmental strategy (interdisciplinary cooperation is a key concept in the strategy) in a large Danish municipality with 4500 employees. All employees from the political administrative level, through the professional management level and to the level of the frontline workers are all directly or indirectly professionally engaged in perspectives on vulnerable children and the young people. The study is a mixed methods study, including a pre-study with 9 administrative managers, followed by two surveys (January 2017 – 3000 respondents and February 2018 – 2800 respondents) and combined with 33 qualitative interviews (15 individual and semi structured interviews and 18 focus group interviews).

Findings based on qualitative interviews with the political and administrative management show that interdisciplinary cooperation is a matter related to the frontline workers. The management level expects the development of the interdisciplinary cooperation to occur in existing forums and without further skill acquisitions. It looks like the responsibility for the cooperation is pushed over to the employees.

Preliminary findings based on interviews with the frontline workers and the surveys show that the frontline workers experience quite a number of barriers in the interdisciplinary cooperation. The four groups of professionals all express lacking knowledge about each other’s work fields. They point to some kind of professional conformity or inertia that prevent new perspectives to develop. It looks like there is a kind of professional hierarchy within the four groups of professions, which is characterized by conflict of interests and lack of understandings that leads to a protection of one´s own profession rather than exploring new perspectives that accommodates vulnerable children and young people.

I argue that interdisciplinary cooperation as a prerequisite for preventive work and early detection in relation to vulnerable children and young people is challenged by organizational conditions that for the frontline workers - conditions that lead to a protection and high lightening of one´s own profession at the expense of other professions. By exposing interdisciplinary cooperation in confusion of measure, means and method it becomes unclear for the employees exactly what the task is and how to act under certain circumstances. The initial goal of making preventive work and early detection in relation to vulnerable children and young people become a byproduct. Interdisciplinary cooperation is not a quick fix in professional assignment.



Original languageEnglish
Publication date5 Oct 2018
Publication statusPublished - 5 Oct 2018
Externally publishedYes
EventEUSARF 2018: All children, all families - University of Portugal, Porto, Portugal
Duration: 2 Oct 20185 Oct 2018
http://eusarf2018porto.com/en/introduction

Conference

ConferenceEUSARF 2018
LocationUniversity of Portugal
Country/TerritoryPortugal
CityPorto
Period02/10/1805/10/18
Internet address

Keywords

  • children and youth

Cite this