Co-operation between Social Service Providers – a Comparison between Germany and Greece
The aim of this article is to provide an understanding of the co-operation between social service providers, delivering personal social services for the family as target group, in two municipalities in Germany and Greece. Based on a cross-national comparison between Germany and Greece, patterns of co-operation, and the influence of the socio-political context in terms of the respective legal framework, and the socio-cultural context in terms of the attitudes trust and solidarity will be explored. As methods, both analytical literature research and quantitative instruments, in particular a semi-structured self-completion mail questionnaire, were employed. As the German and Greek case shows, patterns of co-operation between social providers do not exclusively depend on the former stipulation by legal regulations. As in the Greek case, the existence of a wide range of forms and contents does not mean that there are a lot of linkages between the providers, and furthermore, that co-operation is frequent. As the Greek case shows, informal agreements as basis for co-operation implicate voluntary co-operation. Although the latter may be related to motivations of solidarity or contrary self-interest, they indicate stronger involvement in co-operation, and thus more action in terms of linkages and frequency.