Why do working relationships not change? The need for a new approach to disability partnership research and social change – Disability & Society


Although researchers, service providers, and clients are determined to improve partnerships within disability services, a lack of partnership persists. Using our research as a case study, we reflect on three limitations of common research methods and social change techniques in this area. We suggest that typical approaches struggle to move beyond taken-for-granted ideas, common-sense solutions, and established ideology in the field of disability. Consequently, they often fail to reveal important barriers to collaboration, identify innovative solutions, or initiate meaningful improvements in partnership. We propose a new approach to partnership research and reform grounded in a pragmatic model of social change and argue that projects based on isolated or simplistic data, majority-rule decision-making, simple and efficient planning, and restricted inside perspectives (where storytelling is limited) must be complemented by observational studies, socio-cultural analyses, and critical investigations. In short, we must understand why working relationships do not change to improve disability services.

SOURCE: Jan Gelech, Michel Desjardins, Elise Matthews, and Raissa Graumans, “Why do working relationships not change? The need for a new approach to disability partnership research and social change”, Disability & Society, Published online 29 Jan 2017

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