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Title: A study of the views of practitioners, managers and the professional body, on the purpose of support and supervision for guidance practitioners working as personal advisers
Author: Reid, Hazel L.
Awarding Body: Open University
Current Institution: Open University
Date of Award: 2005
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In the context of Connexions and an inclusion agenda, practice for careers advisers (now called personal advisers) has changed. Those working intensively with the 'harder-to-help' appear to need support and supervision. For most (at practitioner, manager and the professional institute level) this is a novel practice and the meanings/perspectives on what it is, and what it can do, are not shared. The study explored these views using a qualitative approach with the intention of foregrounding differences and similarities. Following dissemination of the findings, the aim is to enhance the effectiveness of any models put into place. In exploring the formation of a discourse on support and supervision in the field of career guidance, the study evaluated the usefulness of discourse theory. Through the use of discourse theory the study also examined the need for support and supervision. Ten personal advisers, three line managers and three representatives of the professional and training body were interviewed. Analysis employed the techniques of a grounded, thematic approach that searched for the most important themes for each group. Three main themes emerged from that analysis: - the need for a structured process - managing stress and avoiding burn out - time constraints within a bigger picture of constant change. Although there were many similar views about the purpose of support and supervision, there were differences in emphasis between the groups. For personal advisers the central purpose was to 'manage stress and avoid burn out': support and supervision was viewed as offering a restorative space within, at times, a stressful work environment. While line line managers and representatives of the professional community also talked about this, their views about purpose brought to the fore other aspects. Line managers viewed monitoring of performance as a central function of support and supervision. For the professional representatives the purpose of support and supervision was to 'enhance professional development within the bigger picture of organisational change'. Both groups made use of a professional discourse that placed the needs of the client at the centre of the purpose of support and supervision. They also viewed support and supervision through a lens that must consider accountability and use of the resources of time and personnel: for line managers this was the primary focus of their talk about support and supervision. Foucault's concept of 'productive power' was used in the examination of these differences. The central story for the personal advisers was the need for a restorative space to manage stress and avoid burn out. This discourse on the purpose of support and supervision was positioned above the function of benefiting work with clients. The study concludes that this discourse needs to be heard and not silenced by other more powerful views on the purpose of support and supervision.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ed.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available