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Anna Cregård
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Inter-occupational cooperation and boundary work in the hospital setting

Cregård, Anna

Article in journal (Refereegranskat)


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to add a little piece to the research on boundary work and inter-occupational cooperation by addressing two questions: how do actors perform boundary work in an inter-occupational cooperation project that seeks to improve the personnel health work in a hospital setting? What impact does the boundary work have on such cooperation in the personnel health project?

Design/methodology/approach: The study is based on individual, in-depth interviews and participative observations of focus group discussions conducted at a regional municipal organization in Sweden. Respondents are hospital line managers, experts and strategists in the HR departments, and experts from the internal occupational health service.

Findings: The concepts on boundary work, which include closing/opening boundary strategies, provide the framework for the empirical illustrations. The cooperation runs smoothly in the rehabilitation work because of an agreed upon process in which the professionals’ jurisdictions are preserved through closing strategies. Illness prevention and health promotion are not areas of inter-occupational cooperation because the stronger actors use closing strategies. While the weaker actors, who try to cooperate, use opening boundary strategies in these areas, they are excluded or marginalized.

Research limitations/implications: The empirical investigation concerns one cooperation project and was completed at one data collection point.

Originality/value: No similar study of boundary work and inter-occupational cooperation in a hospital setting is available despite the frequency of this professional group configuration in practice. A more inclusive concept of professionalism may facilitate the study of boundary work and inter-occupational cooperation among actors with different professional authority. © Emerald Publishing Limited 2018

Key words: Collaboration; Cooperation; Boundary work; Jurisdiction; Occupation; Personnel health

Cite: Cregård, Anna, Inter-occupational cooperation and boundary work in the hospital setting, Journal of Health Organisation & Management., 32:5, s. 658-673, 2018