On Friday 8 March 2019 at 12.45 hrs. Lizet van Donkersgoed-van Zwet will defend her PhD thesis Exploring Ethics in the Practice of Public Welfare Professionals.
Structural dialogue among professionals the answer to dilemma between law and care ethics
How do public welfare professionals - client managers - approach their task of both applying the law and taking care of the client? To inquire into the basic dilemma between law ethics and care ethics Lizet Van Donkergsoed-van Zwet attended case conversations that discussed whether to choose a law abiding approach or a tailor-making approach.
Tailor-making appeared to involve extra risks for the client manager. It is more time-consuming and complex. You cannot appeal to the law to back you up in accounting for a tailor-made decision. Moreover, it will always result in a dilemma regarding the demand of equal treatment. Following rules seems the safe way out.
How to keep the route of tailor-making open and invite ethical decision-making? A possible answer appears to be a structural dialogue among professionals, like case conversations, based on relational responsibility, which emphasizes:
- openness to other and otherness
- listening, being present
- suspending judgements
- reflexive attention to the relational processes
- power to/with other, rather than power over other.
Lizet van Donkersgoed-van Zwet is a PhD student affiliated to the Utrecht University School of Governance (USG).