Emotion work: an exploratory Study of Experiences Among Family Law Practitioners

SUBRYAN, Andrea (2020). Emotion work: an exploratory Study of Experiences Among Family Law Practitioners. Doctoral, Sheffield Hallam University.

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Link to published version:: https://doi.org/10.7190/shu-thesis-00358


Family law practitioners can potentially experience display rule conflict in the workplace. Such conflicts result when family law practitioners comply with competing display rules from their profession, their organisation, and their clients. Research relating to display rule conflict is in its infancy. The phenomenon of display rule conflict was explored to contribute to knowledge in the literature and to inform family law practitioners of such conflicts and how to cope with them. To this end, a hermeneutic phenomenological study was conducted on family law practitioners' workplace experiences of display rule conflict. Two sociocultural theories, professional identity theory and community of coping theory, underpinned this study. Semi-structured interviews of ten family law practitioners comprising partners, solicitors, and paralegals provided data which were analysed by inductive thematic analysis and qualitative hermeneutic phenomenology. Findings revealed four themes: expectations, professional identity, support by offloading, and learning. Furthermore, all participants experienced emotional complexities, tensions and conflicts when they complied with competing expectations to manage and display appropriate emotions during interactions with stakeholders in accordance with diverse formal and informal display rules. Additionally, family law practitioners formed and participated in communities of coping as a means of dealing with display rule conflict. The theme, learning, threaded through the other themes where incidental learning in communities of coping or intended learning in communities of practice were of significant value to participants in this study. It is through learning that family law practitioners were able to recognise expectations from stakeholders and display rule conflicts in various forms and find ways of coping with such conflicts. Time constraints, identity conflict, and power status factors influenced the extent to which knowledge was shared in communities to negotiate the professional identity of the family law practitioners and to uphold perceived power imbalances in the workplace.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Thesis advisor - Richardson, Helen
Thesis advisor - Westaby, Chalen [0000-0002-6459-4675]
Thesis advisor - Taylor, Claire
Additional Information: Director of studies:
Research Institute, Centre or Group - Does NOT include content added after October 2018: Sheffield Hallam Doctoral Theses
Identification Number: https://doi.org/10.7190/shu-thesis-00358
Depositing User: Colin Knott
Date Deposited: 16 Apr 2021 12:22
Last Modified: 03 May 2023 02:01
URI: https://shura.shu.ac.uk/id/eprint/28526

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