Author: Mo, Yuen Han Kitty
Title: In search of a knowledge map of external social work supervision in Shenzhen, China
Degree: DSW
Year: 2015
Subject: Social workers -- Supervision of -- China -- Shenzhen Shi.
Social work administration.
Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Department: Department of Applied Social Sciences
Pages: x, 261 pages
Language: English
Abstract: This study aims to explore the distinctive features of external social work supervision practice in Shenzhen, one of the cities in the Chinese Mainland, from the perspectives of both the external supervisors and the local supervisees in dyads. Its ultimate objective is to provide a knowledge map required for a competent external social work supervisor in the Chinese Mainland. The perceived problem of the theory, practice and knowledge gap is built on the assumption that an established knowledge map can inform external supervision practice. An existing knowledge map produced by O'Donoghue and Tsui (2012) represented the knowledge used by social work supervisors in general situations. However, greater attention should be given to investigating the type of knowledge associated with external supervision practice in the particular institutional and cultural context of the Chinese Mainland. Data gathered in this qualitative study significantly assisted the advancement of external supervision knowledge. Information was gathered from 16 in-depth interviews with supervisors and supervisees in eight dyads, an interview with a Head of a social work agency in Shenzhen and a focus group with three experienced external supervisors in Hong Kong. The cultural and institutional context of Shenzhen was also analysed. The practice of social work in the Chinese Mainland was deeply embedded in the institutional and cultural contexts, which created opportunities and obstacles for social work development. The participants discussed the contextual factors they faced within the reality of social work practice. A list of supervisory competence and skills was unfolded during the interviews. The findings revealed the particular social, cultural and institutional contexts that were favourable or unfavourable to social work development. Favourable contexts involved government input, policy support or educational and emotional support by external supervisors. Unfavourable contexts involved severe brain drain, political culture, problems of positioning social work in a society or inadequate knowledge and experiences of social workers. This study further discovered that the external supervision functions were mainly educational and supportive; supplemented with administrative support and mediation of conflicts. Supervisees expected their external supervisors to be teachers, supporters and role models. The external supervision was based on a developmental perspective. Different forms of the parallel process existed in the external supervision process. Indeed, there was a consultation relationship between external supervisors and social work agencies or the employing units of Shenzhen. The ideal supervisor was one who had cultural sensitivity, flexibility, ability of communication and trust building, use of own expertise and supervisory strategies. The issue of power and authority in a supervisory process was explored. To this point, the respectful attitude of supervisees towards supervisors reflected the traditional Chinese culture. The findings suggested that former supervision experiences and existing supervision practice were closely linked. Furthermore, a knowledge map with knowledge of cultural competence was proposed. These findings provided valuable information that knowledge of culture should be included in supervisory practice.

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