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Practitioner identity in systemic intervention: Reflections on the promotion of environmental health through Māori community development

Midgley, Gerald; Ahuriri-Driscoll, Annabel; Foote, Jeff; Hepi, Maria; Taimona, Hone; Rogers-Koroheke, Marara; Baker, Virginia; Gregor, Jan; Gregory, Wendy; Lange, Miria; Veth, Johanna; Winstanley, Ann; Wood, David


Annabel Ahuriri-Driscoll

Jeff Foote

Maria Hepi

Hone Taimona

Marara Rogers-Koroheke

Virginia Baker

Jan Gregor

Wendy Gregory

Miria Lange

Johanna Veth

Ann Winstanley

David Wood


In systemic intervention, boundary critique is important. This means explicitly exploring the inclusion, exclusion and marginalization of both people and issues. Most of the practitioner's attention in boundary critique is usually focused on relationships between stakeholders (i.e. the participants in the intervention and those who might be affected by it). A significant focus is also the remit of the intervention: those things that need to be directly addressed or bracketed out in order to make a difference that is meaningful to a broad range of stakeholders. What is often less visible during boundary critique is the personal and/or professional identity of the practitioner, and the impact this may have on both relationships with others and the construction of people's understanding of the issues they are grappling with. This paper reflects on a project promoting environmental health through Māori community development that reveals the importance of personal and professional identity to systemic intervention. It is argued that it is impossible for practitioners to set aside their identities and become 'neutral' modellers or process facilitators. When this appears to happen it is because the practitioner's identity has been (often invisibly) constructed to legitimate his or her activities, and these activities do not transgress the expectations of participants that flow from their understanding of the practitioner's identity and role. Nevertheless, even though practitioner identities inevitably impact on the trajectory of interventions, at least some of their implications can be explicitly acknowledged and managed as part of systemic intervention. Some examples of management strategies are provided. Copyright © 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.


Midgley, G., Ahuriri-Driscoll, A., Foote, J., Hepi, M., Taimona, H., Rogers-Koroheke, M., …Wood, D. (2007). Practitioner identity in systemic intervention: Reflections on the promotion of environmental health through Māori community development. Systems research and behavioral science, 24(2), 233-247.

Journal Article Type Conference Paper
Acceptance Date Dec 12, 2006
Online Publication Date May 2, 2007
Publication Date Mar 1, 2007
Deposit Date Apr 25, 2018
Journal Systems Research and Behavioral Science
Print ISSN 1092-7026
Electronic ISSN 1099-1743
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 24
Issue 2
Pages 233-247
Keywords Strategy and Management; Information Systems and Management; General Social Sciences
Public URL
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