Thesis

178 Chapter 7 Empowerment and moral courage of MCD participants In the DCIA training program and the researched MCD sessions, prison staff is challenged to have an active and responsible attitude toward improving themselves and the organization (DCIA, 2016). However, being asked to work more on developing their moral reflection and moral decision-making seems like a big switch for staff who are used to following strict protocols or managerial decisions. By initiating a training program fostering reflection in all prison staff, one could say that DCIA is trying to encourage or even empower prison staff. Empowerment is a process that promotes the participation of people and organizations in gaining control; ‘people develop new beliefs in their ability to influence personal and social spheres’ (Wallerstein & Bernstein, 1988). Based on the work of Freire, empowerment can be achieved through a dialogical approach ‘in which everyone participates as equals and co-learners (Wallerstein & Bernstein, 1988). MCD facilitates a group reflection where everyone in the session is approached as equals; all perspectives matter in the learning process. Hence, MCD as an intervention potentially helps empower participants. Empowerment is not a central goal of MCD, and our research design was not devoted to analyzing a possible change in staff empowerment. However, I do notice elements throughout our data that indicate a process of empowerment for some staff members after participation in MCD. Our quantitative data in Chapter 5 showed that after the MCD series, prison staff are more willing to ask why decisions are made by colleagues and their managers. Furthermore, the outcomes in Chapter 6 showed that MCD, for some parts, had an encouraging effect on prison staff to stand up for themselves or their team. Or MCD participants showed more assertiveness during their practice— for example, by addressing unacceptable behavior or high work pressure sooner. MCD created increased confidence to address issues or get involved in decision-making processes, e.g., due to a better understanding and substantiation of their perspective and the optional courses of action. It takes courage to address issues or other people’s behaviors in a hierarchical culture or when you depend on each other for your safety. It also takes ‘moral courage’: bridging the gap between having an understanding of what acting in a morally sound way means and actually acting on this in practice, or addressing the related situations with others (Blasi, 1983; Karssing, 2011, p. 234). Talking about and reflecting on situations of moral courage can ultimately promote it (Karssing, 2011, p. 240). Some results indicate that MCD helped prison staff to bridge the gap between insights and actions. Chapter 5, for example, did indeed show that, after MCD and compared to the control group (with prison staff that

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