UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Probation officers and the work environment : coping well with change Dzedzora, Vivian


This was a qualitative, exploratory study that focused on three research questions: 1) what is the lived experience of experienced probation officers who are coping well with change, 2) what are the self-sustaining strategies probation officers use to cope well with on-going change in their work life, what hindered them from doing well, and were there things that would have been helpful but were unavailable, and 3) whether the research interview itself had an impact on probation officers’ sense of well being. This study used a descriptive phenomenological approach to gather information about probation officers’ experiences of career and change, and the Critical Incident Technique (CIT) (Flanagan, 1954) to elicit helping and hindering incidents and wish list items. A quantitative component was embedded in the form of a pre-and-post scaling question to determine if the interview process itself had an impact on the participants. Data from the phenomenological portion of the study elicited major themes for each of the relevant questions and established the contextual framework for the CIT component of the study. Data from the CIT portion of the study elicited ten helping, hindering and wish list categories. These ten categories represent the strategies that probation officers utilize in order to cope well with change. Data from the quantitative component of the study indicated that the research interview had minimal impact on participants. Implications for further research and theory development along with suggestions for workers, organizations, and counsellors are discussed.

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