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Advancing agendas: a grounded theory of engagement with interagency meetings

By J.E. Wood


In the UK, the development of integrated children's services over the past six years has led to an increased need for public sector managers to attend strategic, interagency meetings. However, there is little research in this field that can be used to support managers in ensuring positive outcomes from such meetings. The aim of this research was to identify the main concerns of managers attending strategic, interagency meetings and to develop a theoretical framework that can account for the ways in which they resolve these concerns. The research used classic grounded theory, an inductive methodology that results in a set of integrated, conceptual hypotheses that are grounded in the data. Data were obtained primarily from interviews and observation of meetings. The main concern of managers attending interagency meetings was identified as being to achieve the maximum personal value from engagement with the meetings. This main concern is resolved via the core category of 'advancing agendas', which accounts for most of the variation in the behaviour of the participants. The grounded theory of Advancing Agendas explains the social strategic process by which meeting participants: identify a personal agenda, that is, an understanding of what they want to get out of their engagement with the meetings; plan a strategy with which to advance this agenda; engage in the meetings and evaluate the outcomes of their actions. Advancing Agendas provides a framework that can be used by those who are chairing or attending interagency meetings, to support them in achieving the desired outcomes. Specifically, it can be used to understand the impact of meeting participants' differing motivations for attending meetings, to recognise situations in which group members' personal agendas conflict with the intended function of the meetings, and to identify ways of enabling full participation and engagement

Publisher: UCL (University College London)
Year: 2010
OAI identifier:
Provided by: UCL Discovery

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