Thesis

154 Chapter 6 of a situation, which may surpass their (individual) professional roles and responsibilities. Participants learned that it is sometimes necessary to scale up – involve superiors or ask for help (at an earlier stage) – since they cannot influence all situations themselves. The hierarchy at DCIA and the focus on following protocols and guidelines may limit staff’s own initiative (Van Houwelingen et al., 2015). Our results show that prison staff indeed did experience limitations regarding their level of influence. We noticed that staff tried to make changes based on insights gained from MCD, but that they also felt restricted in their practice in doing so. Awareness of these limitations and constructively addressing critical issues, on an individual level or on a more organizational level, requires an understanding of where the various responsibilities for these critical issues belong. This is part of a collective moral learning process. Some participants became more aware of the experienced restrictions to improve practice (e.g., hierarchy, protocols, and guidelines) and sometimes therefore mentioned a lack of outcomes of MCD. Hence, our data reflects a moral learning process concerning the awareness of how to address responsibilities and deal with limitations. In order to increase prison staff motivation for and engagement with improving practice, it is necessary to further explore, discuss and research the role of experienced restrictions and how to make better use of the insights and outcomes of MCD. Ultimately, this could create more possibilities to increase the experienced relevance and outcomes of MCD, and above all, contribute to a greater impact on improving practices by means of MCD. There is a potential lack of moral awareness among Dutch prison staff (Paanakker, 2020, pp. 151, 158; Van Houwelingen et al., 2015, p. 81). Strengthening moral awareness is therefore an essential part of moral learning for prison staff. Paterson (1979, p. 128) points out that understanding the subject matter of moral choices is crucial. Our data shows that MCD helped prison staff better understand their moral dilemmas (including differences between professional and personal levels) and organizational challenges. MCD made prison staff focus on moral aspects of their profession and talk more indepth than they usually do. MCD helps prison staff to look beyond what is customary and reflect on it in an antidogmatic manner. As stated in the Introduction, we need the perspectives of others to better contextualize a situation. Improving our understanding of the contextuality is important during MCD, since moral learning emerges from joint reflections on experiences from concrete situations (Inguaggiato, Porz, et al., 2019; Widdershoven & Molewijk, 2010). Prison staff learned during MCD to look beyond their own interpretations of situations, and to see the relevance and value of learning from

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