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The experience of providing management consultation to supervisors and administrators for employee assistance program directors in higher education

Nancy Fink Myers, University of Nebraska - Lincoln

Abstract

This research examined the experience of providing management consultation to supervisors and administrators for ten EAP directors in higher education. Five areas were explored: (1) the management consultation process the EAP director provides to supervisors and administrators; (2) what influences the way in which the EAP director provides these management consultation services; (3) how the EAP director explores the individual, departmental or organizational influences on the presenting problem; (4) what the EAP director does to reach a broader level of experience or awareness for the supervisor during the consultation; (5) metaphors for the meaning of work as an EAP director and consultant. Using phenomenology as the methodology, long interviews were conducted with each of the EAP directors. The process of phenomenological reduction was used to describe the essential experience of management consultation. Results indicate that EAP directors use their intuition, clinical and organizational skills when engaged in management consultation. The EAP director works with the manager to create a mutually formulated plan for addressing the concerns of the manager or the concerns for the employee or both. Longevity on the job appears to be helpful in building the EAP director's consultation confidence and abilities. Building key relationships within the workplace appears to build trust in the EAP director's ability to be approached for help with sensitive problems. The quality of the relationship the EAP director has with the supervisor is fundamental for broadening the supervisor's experience and awareness level. The EAP director uses an interactive systemic approach to explore and help the supervisor or administrator see the individual, departmental, organizational, cultural and environmental influences on the consultation problem. These EAP directors have rich metaphors for the work that they do. ^ It is suggested that the established EAP core technology be expanded to include the essence of consultation practice inherent in many EAP practitioner interactions with supervisors and administrators. In addition to the original seven core technologies, EAP practice should also reflect: (8) Provision of management consultation that provides appropriate interpersonal communication practices and helps create productive work relationships between employees, their managers and their workplaces. (9) Serving as a change agent to facilitate the work organization's need to preserve its human capital. ^

Subject Area

Business Administration, Management|Sociology, Industrial and Labor Relations|Education, Higher

Recommended Citation

Myers, Nancy Fink, "The experience of providing management consultation to supervisors and administrators for employee assistance program directors in higher education" (2000). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI9967397.
http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/dissertations/AAI9967397

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