Investigation Into The Factors Influencing Professional Working Association In A Built Environment

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Investigation Into The Factors Influencing Professional Working Association In A Built Environment


Chapter Two


Review Of Related Literature

2.1 Introduction

Professional work Associations has developed Best Practice Standards in Social Work Supervision (hereafter “Supervision Standards”) to support and strengthen supervision for professional social workers. The standards provide a general framework that promotes uniformity and serves as a resource for issues related to supervision in the social work supervisory community. The knowledge base of the social work profession has expanded, and the population it serves has become more complex. Therefore, it is important to the profession to have assurance that all social workers are equipped with the necessary skills to deliver competent and ethical social work services. Equally important to the profession is the responsibility to protect clients.

The NASW and ASWB Task Force on Supervision Standards maintain that supervision is an essential and integral part of the training and continuing education required for the skillful development of professional social workers. Supervision protects clients, supports practitioners, and ensures that professional standards and quality services are delivered by competent social workers. The NASW Code of Ethics and the ASWB Model Social Work Practice Act serve as foundation documents in the development of the supervision standards. These standards support the practice of social workers in various work settings and articulate the importance of a collective professional understanding of supervision within the social work community.


2.2 Theoretical Framework

2.2.0 Organizational Fields

DiMaggio and Powell defined a field as “sets of organizations tbat, in the aggregate, constitute an area of institutional life; key suppliers, resource and product consumers, regulatory agencies, and other organizations that produce similar services or products.” (1983: 148-149). Essential to this definition is the focus upon “sets” or “communities” (Porac, Thomas, & Baden-Fuller, 1989) of organizations that directly interact with one another or are influenced by each other in a meaningful way. Scott (1994) added the idea that patterns of interaction between organizational communities become defined by shared systems of meaning. These meaning systems establish the boundaries of each community of organizations, defining its membership, the appropriate ways of behaving, and the appropriate relationships between organizational communities (Lawrence, 1999). The notion of organizational field thus draws heavily upon the social constructionist account of reality (Berger &Luckman, 1967; Zucker, 1977, 1987).

Collective beliefs are seen as emerging from processes of repeated interactions between organizations. Organizations develop categorizations of their exchanges, which achieve the status of objectification and thus constitute social reality. Organizations, initially at least, behave in accordance with this socially constructed reality because to do so reduces ambiguity and uncertainty. Reciprocally shared understandings of appropriate practice permit ordered exchanges. Over time, these shared understandings, or collective beliefs, become reinforced by regulatory processes involving state agencies and professional bodies, which normatively and/or coercively press conformity upon constituent communities. Regulatory processes thus both disseminate and reproduce coded prescriptions of social reality.

Deviations from such prescriptions cause discomfort and trigger attempts to justify (that is, legitimize) departures from the social norm (Deephouse, 1999; Elsbach, 1994; Lamertz& Baum, 1997; Miller & Chan, 1995). The notion of “structuration,” which has been described elsewhere, captives this process of gradual maturity and specification of roles, behaviors, and interactions of organizational communities. Boundaries and behaviors are not, however, fixed. Structuration does not imply perfect reproduction (Ranson, Hinings, &Creenwood, 1980: Coodrick&Salancik, 1996). Furthermore, ever since Abbott’s (1988) treatise on the political nature of professional activity, it has been recognized that the jurisdictions of professions (which are communities of organizations) are not absolute but are the outcome of ongoing claims and counterclaims. The boundaries of organizational communities are constantly under review and subject to redefinition and defense. Examples of conflicts within fields and of de-structuration processes appear in D’Aunno, Sutton, and Price (1991), Holm (1995), Davis, Dieckman, and Tinsley (1994), and Scott, Ruef, Mendel, and Caronna (2000).

Institutional processes may, for a time, give a field the appearance of stability. Differences of interpretation and emphasis may be temporarily resolved by socially negotiated consensus. Within a mature field, the boundaries of occupational and professional communities, though implicitly contested, will thus exhibit phases of “isomorphic” stability. During these phases, practices are reproduced by regulatory and interactive processes. Nevertheless, the appearance of stability is probably misleading: fieldssbould be seen “not as static but evolving” (Hoffman, 1999: 352: see also SahlinAndersson, 1996). At times, fields may even “resemble institutional war” (Hoffman, 1999: 352). Up to the present period, however, the literature has focused upon the relative stability of fields: structuration is portrayed as increasing the specificity of, and consensus over, resilient logics of action.


Investigation Into The Factors Influencing Professional Working Association In A Built Environment


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