This presentation offers findings from an interpretative case study that explored the practice of nurse educators within a European Nurse Education Network. Increasingly, universities are relying on networks and collaboration to expand through increasing strategic advantage and providing wider educational opportunities for their students and staff without fully understanding how these can be sustained (Wakefield & Dismore 2015). A qualitative case study methodology was used with different methods of data collection in this iterative process, beginning with a focus group of the participants in the network to collaboratively frame the study. Followed by documentary analysis of a significant sample of artefacts/documents produced by the network, these findings were then triangulated with data from eight interviews with participants of the network using a cross-case analytical framework. Findings suggest that network activity was mediated through a form of social capital (Putnam, 2000) that is suggested to have sustained the existence of the network over a period of twenty years. Through strong bonding capital within the network there was a clear reciprocity of activity and trust that lubricates the network practice thus ensuring efficiency and benefits for most institutions involved. This is particularly interesting as the network has been self-governing nor has it received any external European funding during existence. Bonding social capital is described as `sociological super glue` and participants appear to value this within their relationships with each other. However, this is not all positive, as findings also suggested a darker side to social capital which suggested a level of embeddedness within a culture that perpetuate wider inequalities within the network that produced exclusivity. Findings from this case study also indicated a level of practice that is dysfunctional and impacts on the future development of the network. Recommendations for educationalists when establishing partnerships to consider how social capital can be encouraged which will produce sustainable benefits and commitment from staff. However, that this activity needs to be scaffolded within a diverse participation and different forms to social capitl to ensure equality and positive development that is beneficial to all involved.
|Title of host publication
|NETNEP 2018 conference proceedings
|Published - 6 May 2018