Imaginary epistemic objects in integrated children's services

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Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to describe the problem of achieving “organizational justice” for children within integrated children's services. Justice is understood, following Byers and Rhodes discussion of Levinas as respecting the “unique and indivisible” character of a given child. Design/methodology/approach – The empirical material reported here is drawn from a large study of interagency working in children's services in the UK. Data are taken from Developmental Work Research sessions. Methodological details are outlined in Daniels et al. and Leadbetter et al. Findings – The key finding discussed here is that in order to balance the outcome measures used in children's services, participants use a further abstraction “the outcome of improved outcomes”. The logical and practical consequences of this abstraction are analysed. Originality/value – The paper offers an empirically grounded contribution to conceptual debates about otherness and ethics in organization. In particular, it argues that a concern for the other need not preclude a high level of concrete categorization and minute target setting. The philosophical debate is seen to be “resolved” in practice.

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Journal Article

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