- Edge Hill University

Report
Relational Expertise: holding
together inter-professional working
Anne Edwards
University of Oxford
Overview
 The challenge: working on
complex problems
 The relational turn : core
ideas of relational expertise,
common knowledge,
relational agency
 Working with clients
 Working relationally both
horizontally and vertically
Some of the Research Studies
• A national evaluation of a government initiative aimed at promoting
inter-professional work
• Studies of Learning in and for Interagency Working ; and how
schools work with other agencies to prevent social exclusion
• A study of knowledge mobilisation in children’s services
• Two studies of the work of Directors of Children's Services
• Working with troubled families; a heritage project with museums
and community groups; negotiating new pedagogies into a South
African university; working across boundaries on a national
qualifications framework....
Helping Families Thrive
UK Child Poverty Pilot Programme
The Questions that led to the
Relational Turn in my Work
• What happens at the intersection of
practices?
• How are motives aligned so that interprofessional work can be done?
• What kind of expertise is involved in
this process?
A.N.Leont’ev and
the Object of
Activity
• The ‘object of activity’ is what is
worked on in an activity, for
example it might be a child’s
trajectory
• Actors objectify what matters for
them when working on an object
of activity - to create the object
motive
• The object motive is therefore seen
by different actors in different ways
• The relationship between actor
and object of activity is always
mediated by what matters in a
practice
Hedegaard:
Motives in
Practices
Plane of
analysis
Focus
What matters
Society
Traditions
(ways of
thinking)
Priorities
Institution
Practice
Values/
Motives
Activity
setting
Activity / social
situation
Motivation
Actions in
activity
Motives/Engag
ement/
Intentions
Person
A Cultural
Historical View
of Practices
Practices are ‘[h]istorically
accumulated, knowledgeladen, emotionally freighted
and given direction by what
is valued by those who
inhabit them’
(Edwards 2010:7)
New forms of work–fluid and responsive
horizontal inter-professional working
• Mulgan: a policy shift to networks and projects
and away from ‘traditional structures’ –
‘horizontal structures are essential to
complement vertical ones’ (2005:184)
• Christensen and Lægreid: horizontal working
between agencies needs ‘…[c]ooperative effort
and cannot be easily imposed from the top down’
so that ‘[T]he role of a successful reform agent is
to operate more as a gardener than as an
engineer or an architect’ (2007:1063).
Gardening Tool 1: Relational Expertise
• knowing who in addition to knowing what, why
and how;
• recognising the standpoints and motives of those
who inhabit other practices; and
• mutually aligning motives in joint work.
Relational expertise is an additional form of
expertise. It augments specialist expertise and
makes fluid and responsive collaborations
possible.
What does Relational Expertise Look
Like?
‘[I]t is only a matter of adjusting what you do
to other people’s strengths and needs.’
(Practitioner)
Nowotny: building
links and trying to
integrate
 ‘[E]xperts must now extend
their knowledge, not simply
to be an extension of what
they know in their specialist
field, but to consist of
building links and trying to
integrate what they know
with what others want to,
or should know and do.’
(Nowotny 2003: 155)
Gardening Tool 2: Common Knowledge
- mediating relational expertise in action
• Middleton – shorthand in medical team work
• Carlile – to mobilise knowledge across units in
the semi-conductor industry
Mediating What Matters with
Common Knowledge
• transfer
• translation
• transformation
• ‘capacity of the common knowledge to
represent the differences and dependencies
now of consequence…’ (Carlile 2004: 557).
Building Common Knowledge
A process of building common knowledge in talk at sites
of intersecting practices
i.
Recognising similar long-term open goals, such as high
quality education for all
ii.
Revealing values and motives in the natural language
of talk.
iii. Listening to, recognising and engaging with the values
and motives of others. Asking for and giving reasons?
Revealing What Matters – the
motives in practices
‘ [I] think the very first step is understanding
about what the sort of issues are….Professions
have very, very different ideas about need, about
discipline, about responsibility, about the impact
of systems ..…So I think the first step is actually to
get some shared understanding about effective
practices and about understanding the reasons
behind some of them. Understanding some of
the reasons why we are seeing these sorts of
issues.’
(Practitioner)
Knorr Cetina and
Epistemic Cultures
• As inter-professional work
increased, the knowledge
that mattered needed to be
articulated and justified and
motives became visible.
• They had to reveal what
mattered for them or, in
Knorr Cetina’s terms, what it
was that engaged and
engrossed them as
professionals.
Gardening Tool 3: Relational Agency –
working together in activities
(i) working with others, expanding interpretations
of the problem by recognising the motives of
others as they interpret the problem.
(ii) aligning one’s own responses to the enhanced
interpretations, with the responses being made
by the other professionals as they act on the
expanded understanding of the problem
 The expanded interpretations and alignments of
motives are mediated by common knowledge
Social worker
Care, family,
intervention
Common
knowledge
Curriculum,
attainment
Teacher
Child’s trajectory
Prisoners’ trajectories,
Fluency in rail traffic,
Common assessments,
Annual calendar of
supervisors’ work....
Building and Using Common Knowledge
at Sites of Intersecting Practices
• Practices are shaped and taken forward
by motives – and these motives shape
how we interpret problems
• Common knowledge is made up of what
matters for each practice (the motives)
(Edwards 2010, 2011, 2012)
• Common knowledge mediates
collaborations in the site of intersecting
practices
Jan Derry:
designing the
space of reasons
• Jan Derry brings together the
idea of a ‘space of reasons’ with
the idea of the knowledge in the
‘rough ground’ of experience.
• A space of reasons is where it is
expected that people will ask for
and give reasons for their
decisions.
• It connects with relational
expertise by offering a set of
ground rules for identifying what
matters (motives) in a practice.
Derry, J. (2008). Abstract rationality in education: From
Vygotsky to Brandom. Studies in the Philosophy of
Education,27, 49–62.
Relational
Expertise in
Leadership
“Leaders need to be able to
know their organisations
well and constantly identify
what needs to be realigned
in order to improve
performance and manage
change.”
(Munro, 2011: 106)
One version of
the problem
How do we attend to both
deliberate and nondeliberate action when
examining links between
action and strategy in the
practices associated with
leadership
(Tsoukas, 2010)
Another version of
the problem
“[e]mployees ‘ collective
capacity to create
organizational
transformations and
innovations is becoming a
crucially important asset
that gives new, dynamic
content to notions of
collaborative work and
social capital.”
(Engeström 2008: 199)
The Studies of Directors of Children’s
Services
• Time of massive transformation of children’s
services in order to integrate different services
• 1st study: revealed successful DCS were pedagogic
• 2nd study: focused on leadership for learning
* 10 highly successful DCS
* What did they do?
* How did they take forward their change
strategies?
* How did they create the new organisational
narrative? (Edwards and Thompson, 2013)
The DCS Study:
Leading for
Learning
• Ten DCS
• In this stage of the study
they completed two
templates about their
actions is activities in
practices each week for six
weeks
• They were then
interviewed based on their
completed templates
Name:
ACTIVITY : Very briefly describe one
everyday activity this week where you
were aware that you were promoting
learning (e.g. chairing a meeting;
working with colleagues examining
data).
ACTIONS: What did you do during the
activity i.e. what actions did you take?
(e.g. eliciting colleagues’ understanding
of a complex situation; modelling how
to interpret data). You can mention as
many actions as you like.
AIMS: What are the long term strategic
goals behind how you worked with
colleagues in this activity? How do your
actions in this activity relate to these
goals?
Date:
Name:
Date:
ACTIVITY : Very briefly describe one everyday
activity this week where you were aware that
you were promoting learning (e.g. chairing a
meeting; working with colleagues examining
data).
Attending Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee
ACTIONS: What did you do during the activity
i.e. what actions did you take? (e.g. eliciting
colleagues’ understanding of a complex
situation; modeling how to interpret data). You
can mention as many actions as you like.

AIMS: What are the long term strategic goals
behind how you worked with colleagues in this
activity? How do your actions in this activity
relate to these goals?




Modelled skills in listening to questions, simplifying
answers to ensure that Councillors (elected members
of the local authority) and members of the public
understand.
Presented reports which set out options around
difficult issues which could undermine partnership
arrangements.
Help colleagues understand the political agenda and
be able to work well with elected Councillors.
Drive forward strategies that demand strategic
commissioning and pooled budgets with health
partners at a time of significant organisational change
for the Council and Health sector.
Grow and nurture political acumen and skills and
confidence in working within a democratic process.
Finally
“What I propose is a.....a moral conversation in which the
capacity to reverse perspectives, that is, the willingness to
reason from the others’ point of view, and the sensitivity to
hear their voice is paramount.” (Benhabib, 1992, p. 8)
• Relational expertise is in addition to one’s core expertise
• It allows the expertise (resources) offered by others to be
surfaced and used
• It is relevant to horizontal collaborations across practices and
to the work of leaders
• It respects history, but is focused on going forward together

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