Common goals improve collaboration within juvenile care

When three professional actors within juvenile care understand each other’s goals and direction the collaboration can become more successful.

This is demonstrated in Goran Basic's study, where the aim was to analyse examples of successful collaboration within social work in Swedish juvenile care, even if the collaboration was successful only during shorter interaction sequences. In addition, the aim was to analyse how and when the actors within the juvenile care in Sweden demonstrated successful collaboration and who were involved in the construction of this phenomenon.

According to the study, it is not the official meetings in themselves that decide whether a collaboration is successful or not. Instead, it is crucial that the different parties both literally and figuratively speaking understand each other, and each other's working methods, goals and motives. When people from several different occupational groups participate in a meeting, successful collaboration is stimulated. The results also show that the forming of larger alliances or so-called triads across organisational boundaries guarantees a successful collaboration. A coherent triad consists of three different actors belonging to different categories that are in agreement and do not fight each other. There are different types of constellations, for instance the one between the youth being treated and the social services and the nursing home, or between managers and coordinators.

When the professional actors establish a coherent triad with external actors (parents or youth) in order to relieve tension from earlier conflicts, a successful collaboration is established. When some professionals dissociate themselves from other professional collaboration partners, conflicts can be erased, creating new conditions for coherence within the triad.

The study is based on 119 field observations of organised meetings and informal get-togethers in connection to visits to departments in Sweden, social services offices, and the head office of The Swedish National Board of Institutional Care.

More information

Basic, Goran (2017) "Observed successful collaboration in social work practice: coherent triads in Swedish juvenile care". European Journal of Social Work, DOI: 10.1080/13691457.2017.1289897.

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Contact information

Goran Basic, +46470-70 89 59 / goran.basic@lnu.se
Tove Nordén, +4670-367 14 53f