Thesis

177 General discussion insights into practice improvements, why bother to reflect at all? Chapter 3 showed that some participants said their manager should be present in MCD since the manager should be making the decisions. Chapter 2 also showed how staff experience dilemmas concerning their level of influence, e.g., about whether or not to deviate from the superior’s view or existing protocol, whether to ‘speak up’ or ‘let it be.’ Chapter 6 showed that MCD helped staff reflect on their position, role, and limitations. Facilitators mentioned it is crucial for prison staff to ‘feel seen’ and ‘feel heard’. For staff to feel more room to (positively) influence practice, they need to experience that their views matter. For a valuable dialogue within an organization, ‘involvement of all parties by equal say, and openness and frank speaking’ is needed (Abma et al., 2009). Valuing the perspectives of all prison staff seems to be required to improve understanding and knowledge of each other. Gadamer calls upon the concept of ‘docta ignorantia’, as mentioned in Chapter 1, to refer to the superiority of asking questions: as a person, you need to know what you do not know (Gadamer, 2014, p. 345). Only by asking questions can you understand that something can be different than what you initially thought since you lack the insights and experiences to completely ‘know.’ Asking questions is complex; those who already think they ‘know’ are incapable of asking questions (Gadamer, 2014, p. 346). Hence, in whatever position you find yourself – or whatever your hierarchical role in an organization– it is essential to realize how much there still is to learn. Hence, all prison staff should keep asking questions to improve their understanding and knowledge. Such an ‘exchange of views’, especially on moral challenges, was not that common in the Dutch prison context. As shown by Molleman & van Ginneken (2013, p. 36), who state that the approachability of colleagues and the possibility to discuss moral challenges between colleagues did not appear to be optimal. In practice, I observed that some prison staff with executive tasks – such as security guards – experienced feeling ‘not heard’ in decisions by superiors, and they are not always accustomed to asking their superiors about the reasons behind a decision. DCIA stated they want a culture where staff members challenge each other, and share perspectives, through joint reflections about the why of actions and decisions. As DCIA stated: ‘it is considered a quality if staff discuss their doubts’, at all levels of the organization and to keep asking each other questions to find out how best to address a situation (DCIA, 2016). Exchanging views and perspectives, jointly reflecting on the why of actions and valuing the sharing of doubts are all conditions needed for a reflective organization, and this is what MCD can contribute to. 7

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