This thesis is a case study about the forms of appearance and the consequences of relations and communication in collaborative work between school and child-care providers. The empirical data consists mainly of interviews, but include also a number of written documents.
The aims of the study are:
• First, to review how relations and communication appear in collaborations between school and child-care.
• Second, to examine the consequences of relations and these communica-tions for cooperation between different professions in school and child-care.
• Third, to review how these relations and communications between child-care and school are influenced by organizational conditions.
The theoretical frame of reference has four sections. The first comprises some comprehensive assumptions for the thesis. The second deals with perspectives on relation and communication. The third discusses cooperation as organizing of social processes. The fourth examines, from a neo-institutional standpoint, how organizational conditions influence professional relations and communication in these collaborations.
Regarding relations, the analysis shows that there was regular face-to-face-contact between different professional groups but variations in frequency of contact. One contributing cause to the variations was geographical distance. Another cause was the extent to which the groups shared common interests. It also became evident that there were variations in the distribution of power partly caused by systemic, structural, conditions and partly by episodic and temporary aspects.
The analysis also shows that communication has four content types. First, work communication, refers to the everyday communication in cooperation. News- and status communication concerns actors, at different levels, informing other actors about their status. Management communication, partly concerned the coordination of areas of responsibility on the management level. It also con-cerned the managers’ direction of the operative level. Value and culture communication, included discussions about the underlying assumptions of different programs.
Relations and communication affected those areas of knowledge and those programs that would be a part of the cooperation. If the actors did not agree with one another they had to negotiate to reach an agreement that both parties accepted. Communication also influenced the opportunity to organize cooperation around children’s needs. For example communication influenced flexibility in the cooperation. To make this possible continuous communication was necessary as was the opportunities to create similar knowledge about each other’s competence and how it was manifested in the practical work.
Regarding the organizational conditions, institutional rules affected the actors opinions about whom they should cooperate, and therefore communicate, with. In spite of that, the actors on the operative level had a space to act strategically. Therefore the implementation of cooperation, to a great extent, was formed in communication between actors who were involved in the every day work.
Umeå: Socialt arbete , 2005. , 257 p.
school/child-care, cooperation, professions, relations, communication, organization