Role of Technical Assistance and Relationships in Development of Initiatives to Address Precarious Work
thesisposted on 01.12.2019, 00:00 authored by Tessa Bonney
Despite the recognized implications of precarious work on worker health, few interventions aimed at addressing the drivers of these adverse health outcomes are described in the literature. Research suggests that in order to be successful, interventions aimed at protecting and promoting worker health should consider and seek to address the determinants of population health at multiple socioecological levels. However, in many cases, organizations that are well-poised to design and implement multi-level interventions to address complex problems, like precarious work, lack the necessary knowledge and skills to translate their goals into practice. Knowledge exchange is especially necessary to catalyze the development of policy, systems, and environmental (PSE) change to address the drivers of complex problems at the societal level. Universities may be well-poised to support knowledge, skill, and capacity building efforts to foster the development of multi-level interventions to address complex problems. Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) engaged primarily health-focused organizations interested in developing policy- and systems-level initiatives to address the drivers of precarious work in a six-meeting Action Learning (AL) process. The UIC researchers served as technical assistance (TA) providers in this process, focused on facilitating learning and promoting critical thinking among participants. Representatives from labor expert organizations also served as TA providers, focused on sharing content knowledge with participants. This exploratory qualitative study examined the role, facilitators, challenges, and impacts of university facilitation and TA, provided by university researchers and labor experts, in this context. Results from the study highlight the utility of a university connecting organizations from disciplines that are not already working together to promote the development of PSE change to address precarious work and suggest that TA provided by both university researchers and labor experts facilitated movement from knowledge sharing to collaborative action development.