01 SES 05.5 PS, General Poster Exhibition
General Poster Session during Lunch
Public-sector organisations such as those in education and health care have witnessed the introduction of a new public management (NPM) culture, with tightened accountability, decreased autonomy, and a higher workload for employees (e.g. Moos 2009; Hökkä & Vähäsantanen 2012). At the same time, they are expected to produce high-quality services, and to develop work practices and organisational operations. Furthermore, professionals need to engage in continuous workplace learning, to cross over the traditional professional boundaries of their work, and to reshape professional identities within changing work practices (e.g. Billett, 2011; Helleve, 2010; Hökkä, 2012). Bringing about sustainable individual and organisational transformation is a challenging task, and it seems that effective methods and tools are needed to enhance multilevel learning and changing. Challenged by this, the research project aims to understand how professional agency is practised, and how it can be promoted through multilevel interventions in education and health care organisations.
In this research project, we see professional agency as exercised when professional subjects and/or communities exert influence, make choices, and take stances on their work and professional identities (e.g. Hodkinson ym., 2008; Vähäsantanen & Eteläpelto, 2011). Thus, the practice of professional agency enables professional subjects and communities to create new, creative work practices, collaborative work strategies, and the transformation of professional identities. Professional agency is practised within the socio-cultural conditions of the workplace. It is closely intertwined with subjects’ backgrounds, including their professional identities, knowledge and competencies, and individual work histories.
This research project aims to i) identify different ways of practising professional agency in a variety of work contexts, including a central hospital and university; ii) elaborate how professional agency is practised in boundary-crossing conditions, and in the course of structural reforms within work organisations, iii) create a multi-coupling programme for the promotion of professional agency at individual and collective levels, and iv) develop a theoretical model of professional agency within the framework of a subject-centred socio-cultural approach. In this project, the interventions include i) identity coaching, which aims to support identity reshaping and the adoption of new work roles and identity positions at the individual level, through a variety of educational tools and methods, and ii) dialogical and interactive work conference, which aims to create a platform for learning and change at the community and organisational level through participatory and dialogical group work (e.g. Kalliola & Mahlakaarto, 2011).
Billett, S. (2011). Subjectivity, self and personal agency in learning through and for work. In M. Malloch, L. Cairns, K. Evans & B. O’Connor (Eds), The international handbook of workplace learning (pp. 60-72). London: Sage. Hammersley, M. & Atkinson. P. (2007). Ethnography. Buckingham: Open University Press. Helleve, I. (2010). Theoretical foundations of teachers’ professional development. In J. O. Lindberg & A. D. Olfsson (Eds.) Online learning communities and teacher professional development: Methods for improved education delivery (pp. 1−19). Hershey: IGI Global. Hodkinson, P., Hodkinson, H., Hawthorn, R. & Ford, G. (2008). Learning through life. Learning lives summative working paper no. 1. Hökkä, P. (2012). Teacher educators amid conflicting demands: tensions between individual and organizational development. Jyväskylä studies in education, psychology and social research. University of Jyväskylä, nro. 433. Hökkä, P. & Vähäsantanen, K. (2012). Agency-centred coupling – a better way to manage an educational organization? (submitted). Kalliola, S. & Mahlakaarto, S. (2011). The methods of promoting professional agency at work. In H. Jian, L. Deen, M. Songge & P. Simin (Eds.), Proceedings of 7th International Conference on RWL. Shanghai: East China Normal University. Moos, L. (2009). Hard and soft governance: The journey from transnational agencies to school leadership. European Educational Research Journal, 8(3), 397–406. Vähäsantanen, K. & Eteläpelto, A. (2011). Vocational teachers’ pathways in the course of a curriculum reform. Journal of Curriculum Studies, 43(3), 291–312.
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