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Configuring Spaces For Constructive Debates

Mariline Comeau-Vallée, Ewan Oiry, F. Gilbert
Published 2019 · Sociology

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When various professionals engage in collaborative work, they face the major challenge of striking a delicate balance between consensus and controversy. This article investigates the process of developing constructive debate within a space in the healthcare sector. It does so through a longitudinal case study of a space that gathers together different professionals who propose innovative practices to meet the unusual needs of mental health clients. Using the angle of boundary work, we identified three successive configurations during implementation of the space and three forms of boundary work practices engaged in by managers to develop constructive debates. Our contribution to the literature is twofold: 1) we show the supportive effect of creating new boundaries for constructive debate; and 2) we enrich the literature of ecology of spaces by suggesting that interactions between spaces are not restricted to external spaces, but also include embedded spaces. JEL Codes: I10, M19, M59
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