5.2 Culture conversation
One of the variables in organisations that are staffed by professionals is that of working in sets of professional as well as personal relationships. Being a member of a profession implies a set of shared values and behaviours – a culture of professionalism in the organisation. The multi-agency work associated with educational institutions today adds another dimension to the discussion of context and culture, that of linking organisations and services into partnerships. These may bring together different professions with different professional norms and codes of conduct. In such situations, effective communication among different professionals is crucial for effective service delivery. This creates what Close and Wainwright (2010) highlight as the ‘culture conversation’.
Do you work in or know of an organisation that is now in a partnership or collaboration? Have you noticed differences between the professions involved? These could be their values, their ethics, their way of working, their success criteria.
Sometimes the differences in ways of working or success criteria can cause considerable anxiety and stress in a professional relationship. Close and Wainwright (2010) highlight the need for conversations to help reduce this effect. However, it is sometimes only in the working through of a problem or issue that the differences are highlighted or become an issue. It is very important at this stage that the conversations are continued, and leaders often need to mediate these.