Deconstructing multi-agency working: an exploration of how the elicitation of 'tacit knowledge' amongst professionals working in a multi-agency team can inform future practice
Hymans, Michael (2007) Deconstructing multi-agency working: an exploration of how the elicitation of 'tacit knowledge' amongst professionals working in a multi-agency team can inform future practice. DAppEdPsy thesis, University of Nottingham.
The theory of organisational knowledge creation and conversion clarified the difference between explicit and tacit knowledge and highlighted the importance of tacit knowledge in the workplace. The key components of successful multi-agency working and accompanying group processes have been explained in terms of activity theory and the sharing of different forms of knowledge and practices. This research has illustrated how professionals in a multi-agency family support team construe their role in, and the role of, the team. The use of personal construct psychology and repertory grids (Kelly, 1951/1991) enabled team members to access their tacit knowledge about multi-agency working through sorting tasks involving similarities and differences, discrimination and selection. The sharing of elicited knowledge amongst the whole team as a participatory process helped build a common language around embedded tacit knowledge. It led to the identification of important role elements in which, for example, practitioners' roles in their previous teams influenced their views of their role in the family support team. Differences in ratings of elements for particular constructs produced dilemmas, such as whether professional identity should develop as the team evolved or when the team was established, which affected group cohesiveness. High staff turnover and lack of clarity over operational procedures within an activity system context resulted in the team oscillating between forming and storming stages of group development. This undulation together with team members' awareness of imminent comprehensive changes in core team structures and processes and their fear of the future led to incidental changes in core construing.
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