Participatory action research in the studies of organizations providing social services
The aim of publication is to discuss the nature of participatory action research (PAR) in different types of elderly care organizations – private and public sectors. Participatory action research in organization is considered as interpretative qualitative research method for empowering and emancipation of managers and employees, promoting reflection and critical consciousness. The research is aimed to initiate changes of different directions in organizations fostering humanization approach in private organizations and commercial approach in public organizations. Public elderly care sector in Lithuania is characterized by critical shortage of services. As consequence, not publicly funded and profit-oriented private providers of elderly care emerged in the sector. In the context of enhancement of neoliberal social policy these two types of organizations face challenges to meet needs of users. Private organizations are fostered to promote values based on critical humanistic theory. Public organizations are fostered to introduce neoliberal concept of empowerment. Methodology of PAR is designed implementing several stages of research in private and public elderly care organizations to meet current challenges. The first stage of research project involved explorative focus groups in four organizations (two private and two public) seeking to reveal needs for change in elderly care organizations and to create scenarios for implementation
of these changes. The second stage implies practical realization of scenarios in organizations what will be led by reflections and critical group discussions with managers and employees. The last stage concludes the process of research by providing methodological guidance for promoting changes in organizations of different sectors and produce knowledge on development of practice in elderly care. The paper presents results of explorative focus groups analysis that enabled researchers and research participants to build scenarios for promoting change.
Keywords: Social Services for the Elderly, Participatory Action Research, Functioning of Organizations.