Professional supervision and professional autonomy

Karvinen-Niinikoski, Synnöve, Beddoe, Liz, Ruch, Gillian and Tsiu, Ming-sum (2019) Professional supervision and professional autonomy. Aotearoa New Zealand Social Work Review, 31 (3). pp. 87-96. ISSN 1178-5527

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INTRODUCTION: Supervision is a well-established component of practice in the health and social care professions. In recent years, however, relentless changes in the nature of professional roles within these contexts have led to corresponding variations in how professional practice supervision is configured and delivered.

METHOD: This article examines how professional supervision and its future are seen by an international group of experts in social work supervision. The evolving perceptions of social work supervision’s role, and the relationship to professional autonomy in the social sphere are explored with reference to the authors’ earlier research.

FINDINGS: The tension between supervision as a surveillant tool of management and a practice of critical reflection is acknowledged in literature as posing a threat to one aspect of professional autonomy and agency.

IMPLICATIONS: The authors pose an alternative, theoretically grounded, approach based on the traditions of critically reflective supervision to assist the recognition and management of the balance between support and surveillance or managerial organisational dimensions. Meta- theoretical understanding of professional supervision in the frame of human agency will help both practitioners and supervisors to construct sustainable and proactive social work. Instead of despairing about the loss of autonomy, the professionals may go through significant societal and professional transformations as subjects of their own expertise and professional agency.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Education and Social Work > Social Work and Social Care
Subjects: L Education
Depositing User: Deeptima Massey
Date Deposited: 25 Oct 2019 17:25
Last Modified: 01 Oct 2020 08:54

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