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Transforming Professional Bureaucracies in Hospitals and Higher Education Institutions


The reforms that have been promoted in public organisations in developed countries since the 1970s are said to impose changes in professional bureaucracies by promoting self-governance and institutional autonomy and by challenging professionals’ status and their values and standards. Taking the specific case of Portugal, this paper intends to contribute to understanding to what extent professional bureaucracies, like hospitals and Higher Education Institutions (HEIs), have been affected by changes in state policies and how the professionals involved have responded to these organisational changes. Based on an empirical qualitative study the paper concludes that there are significant differences in the way the state changed the regulatory framework and the professional archetypes in hospitals and HEIs and that professionals give heterogeneous responses to these changes.




This research was supported by the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT) [Grant PTDC/CPE-PEC/104759/2008 and EXCL/IVC-PEC/0789/2012] funded by the Program COMPETE.


Carvalho, T. and Santiago, R. (2016), "Transforming Professional Bureaucracies in Hospitals and Higher Education Institutions", Towards a Comparative Institutionalism: Forms, Dynamics and Logics Across the Organizational Fields of Health Care and Higher Education (Research in the Sociology of Organizations, Vol. 45), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 243-269.



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