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Book part
Publication date: 15 October 2020

Jane S. VanHeuvelen

Autonomy has long been established as a critical component of professional work. Traditionally, autonomy has been examined as the extent to which an individual or a…

Abstract

Autonomy has long been established as a critical component of professional work. Traditionally, autonomy has been examined as the extent to which an individual or a professional group controls the decisions and knowledge used in their work. Yet, this framework does not capture the additional work activities that professionals are increasingly expected to perform. Therefore, this chapter argues for theoretically expanding our understanding of professional autonomy by bringing in the concept of articulation work. Using the case of healthcare organisational change, this study assesses how shifts in work practices impact autonomy. Data come from longitudinal ethnographic fieldwork and in-depth interviews conducted at a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit as it underwent significant structural changes. Findings show that professionals were forced to change articulation work strategies in response to new organisational structures. This included changes in the way professionals monitored, assessed, coordinated and collaborated around patient care. Furthermore, these shifts in articulation work held important implications for both workplace and professional autonomy, as professionals responded to changes in their work conditions.

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Professional Work: Knowledge, Power and Social Inequalities
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-80043-210-9

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Book part
Publication date: 8 July 2015

Heidi K. Gardner and Melissa Valentine

This chapter examines collaboration among highly autonomous, powerful, professional peers to explain why the benefits of teamwork that scholars typically find in…

Abstract

Purpose

This chapter examines collaboration among highly autonomous, powerful, professional peers to explain why the benefits of teamwork that scholars typically find in traditional teams may not apply. The chapter analyzes the perspectives of individual professionals to show that, in this setting, collaboration is often seen as more costly than rewarding for the individuals involved. It presents a conceptual framework exploring this paradox and suggests directions for future research to elaborate an underlying theory.

Methodology/approach

The chapter draws on extensive qualitative data from surveys and interviews in three professional service firms, including a top 100 global law firm, a boutique executive search firm, and a large, US-based commercial advisory firm. Findings are married integrated with organizational theory to develop testable propositions for future research.

Findings

Because senior professionals collaborate with peers who have the autonomy to choose to work collectively or independently, power and authority are not means to create a team or make it effective. Findings show how professionals interpret the relative costs and benefits of collaboration, and suggest that in most cases, senior professionals will not attempt it or give it up before collaborations can reap important benefits. Thus, short-term costs prevent opportunities to experience longer term benefits for many professionals. Yet, some professionals have figured out how to use “instrumental collaboration” to shift the balance in their favor. The chapter’s conceptual framework uses a longitudinal perspective to resolve this seeming paradox.

Research implications

The chapter presents a nascent theory of instrumental collaboration, including five testable hypotheses, an emergent conceptual framework, and suggestions for specific future research directions.

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Book part
Publication date: 3 June 2008

Belinda Boon

In 2005, a qualitative study was undertaken to explore the educational events, personal experiences, and job circumstances that a selected group of non-MLS library…

Abstract

In 2005, a qualitative study was undertaken to explore the educational events, personal experiences, and job circumstances that a selected group of non-MLS library directors working in small Texas communities believed were significant in contributing to their professional development. Face-to-face interviews were conducted with 17 female library directors working in Texas communities with populations of 25,000 or less using open-ended questions, and interviews were recorded and transcribed for later analysis. Four major topic areas relating to the professionalization of non-MLS library directors were identified from the data: (1) job satisfaction, including library work as spiritual salvation, librarianship and the ethic of caring, making a difference in the community, and pride in professional identity; (2) professional development, including hiring narratives, continuing education and lifelong learning, mentoring and professional development, and the importance of the MLS degree; (3) challenges facing small community library directors, including gender-based discrimination, resistance from local governing officials, and geographic isolation; and (4) guidelines for success, including understanding the community, becoming part of the community, making the library the heart of the community, business and managerial skills, and people and customer service skills.

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Advances in Library Administration and Organization
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-0-7623-1488-1

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Book part
Publication date: 15 August 2004

Janet Carson

This study takes the position that the vitality of academic libraries is grounded in the working experiences of its librarians. It suggests that a full understanding of…

Abstract

This study takes the position that the vitality of academic libraries is grounded in the working experiences of its librarians. It suggests that a full understanding of problems facing contemporary information professionals in the post-industrial workplace requires an analysis of the labouring aspects as well as the professional nature of their work. The study of changes in the academic library work experience thus depicts the state of the library, and has implications for other intellectual workers in a social environment characterized by expanding information technologies, constricted economic resources, and the globalization of information production. Academic librarians have long recognized that their vocation lies not only in the classical role in information collection, organization, and dissemination, but also in collaboration with faculty in the teaching and research process, and in the contribution to university governance. They are becoming increasingly active in the protection of information access and assurance of information quality in view of information degradation on the Internet and various compromises necessitated by interaction with third party commercial information producers.

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Advances in Library Administration and Organization
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-84950-284-9

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Book part
Publication date: 15 October 2020

Sida Liu

Professionals often dislike dirty work, yet they accommodate or even embrace it in everyday practice. This chapter problematizes Andrew Abbott’s professional purity thesis…

Abstract

Professionals often dislike dirty work, yet they accommodate or even embrace it in everyday practice. This chapter problematizes Andrew Abbott’s professional purity thesis by examining five major forms of impurities in professional work, namely impurity in expertise, impurity in jurisdictions, impurity in clients, impurity in organizations, and impurity in politics. These impurities complicate the relationship between purity and status as some impurities may enhance professional status while others may jeopardize it, especially when the social origins of professionals are rapidly diversifying and professional work is increasingly intertwined with the logics of market and bureaucracy. Taking impurities seriously can help the sociology of professions move beyond the idealistic image of an independent, disinterested professional detached from human emotions, turf battles, client influence, and organizational or political forces and towards a more pragmatic understanding of professional work, expertise, ethics and the nature of professionalism.

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Professional Work: Knowledge, Power and Social Inequalities
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-80043-210-9

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Article
Publication date: 9 December 2020

Per Nikolaj Bukh, Karina Skovvang Christensen and Anne Kirstine Svanholt

This paper aims to explore how the introduction of new accounting information influences the understandings of cost-consciousness. Furthermore, the paper explores how…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to explore how the introduction of new accounting information influences the understandings of cost-consciousness. Furthermore, the paper explores how managers use accounting information to shape organizational members’ understanding of changes, and how focusing on cost-consciousness influence professional culture within social services.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper is based on a case study, drawing on sensemaking as a theoretical lens. Top management, middle management and staff specialists at a medium-sized Danish municipality are interviewed.

Findings

The paper demonstrates how accounting metaphors can be effective in linking cost information and cost-consciousness to operational decisions in daily work practices. Further, the study elucidates how professionalism may be strengthened based on the use of accounting information.

Research limitations/implications

The study is context specific, and the role of accounting in professional work varies on the basis of the specific techniques involved.

Practical implications

The paper shows how managers influence how professionals interpret and use accounting information. It shows how cost-consciousness can be integrated with social work practices to improve service quality.

Originality/value

The paper contributes to the literature on how accounting information influences social work. To date, only a few papers have focused on how cost-consciousness can be understood in practice and how it influences professional culture. Further, the study expands the limited accounting metaphor research.

Details

Qualitative Research in Accounting & Management, vol. 18 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1176-6093

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Article
Publication date: 11 May 2020

Sally Smith, Thomas N. Garavan, Anne Munro, Elaine Ramsey, Colin F. Smith and Alison Varey

The purpose of this study is to explore the role of professional and leader identity and the maintenance of identity, through identity work as IT professionals

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to explore the role of professional and leader identity and the maintenance of identity, through identity work as IT professionals transitioned to a permanent hybrid role. This study therefore contributes to the under-researched area of permanent transition to a hybrid role in the context of IT, where there is a requirement to enact both the professional and leader roles together.

Design/methodology/approach

The study utilised a longitudinal design and two qualitative methods (interviews and reflective diaries) to gather data from 17 IT professionals transitioning to hybrid roles.

Findings

The study findings reveal that IT professionals engage in an ongoing process of reconciliation of professional and leader identity as they transition to a permanent hybrid role, and they construct hybrid professional–leader identities while continuing to value their professional identity. They experience professional–leader identity conflict resulting from reluctance to reconcile both professional and leader identities. They used both integration and differentiation identity work tactics to ameliorate these tensions.

Originality/value

The longitudinal study design, the qualitative approaches used and the unique context of the participants provide a dynamic and deep understanding of the challenges involved in performing hybrid roles in the context of IT.

Details

Information Technology & People, vol. 34 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0959-3845

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Article
Publication date: 24 February 2020

Martin Löwstedt and Rikard Sandberg

Research concerned with standardization of the construction process has generally considered the challenges from only rational and instrumental perspectives. The purpose…

Abstract

Purpose

Research concerned with standardization of the construction process has generally considered the challenges from only rational and instrumental perspectives. The purpose of this paper is to foreground a social perspective of this challenge. Specifically, the work of construction site managers is explored through a professional work lens in order to emphasize significant misalignments with the principles of standardized production in the construction industry.

Design/methodology/approach

Data are drawn from a longitudinal (2014–ongoing) case study of site managers’ work in a large Swedish construction company. The research design is characterized by an explorative approach, altogether consisting of 44 in-depth interviews at the site manager level (28) and at other managerial levels (16). All the interviews were transcribed verbatim and analyzed particularly to highlight two contrasting dominant discourses: “standardized construction production” and “site manager work.”

Findings

The findings show that site manager’s work is enmeshed with a particular type of professional expertise and identity that is ideologically crafted around a proclivity for free and independent work. It is outlined in detail how these social dimensions of work are enacted to form an ongoing (and successful) resistance to organizational initiatives that are based on principles of standardization.

Originality/value

This study improves our understanding of an unresolved social challenge that impedes the transformation toward more standardized construction production. It adds new perspectives and value to current research by reminding that (and how) significant changes in production processes also seriously implicate professional work.

Details

Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, vol. 27 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0969-9988

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Article
Publication date: 1 June 1987

David Baker

Library assistants were originally considered to be professional librarians in the making, and were trained accordingly. With the expansion of libraries and librarianship…

Abstract

Library assistants were originally considered to be professional librarians in the making, and were trained accordingly. With the expansion of libraries and librarianship, Britain's “apprenticeship” system of qualification gave way to formal library school education, and a new category of “non‐professional staff” was created, of people who were unwilling or unable to proceed to graduate‐level qualification. The development of non‐professional certificates of competence in the UK is described against parallel developments in the US, Canada and Australia; the COMLA training modules are also examined. The theoretical and practical issues surrounding training are discussed, training schemes and qualifications in the four countries analysed, and the relative merits of in‐house training and external certificate programmes argued.

Details

Library Management, vol. 8 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0143-5124

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Article
Publication date: 26 September 2019

Helen Thacker, Ann Anka and Bridget Penhale

The purpose of this paper is to consider the importance of professional curiosity and partnership work in safeguarding adults from serious harm, abuse and neglect.

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to consider the importance of professional curiosity and partnership work in safeguarding adults from serious harm, abuse and neglect.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper draws on a range of materials including: review of published materials in relation to professional curiosity, reports from adult serious case reviews (SCRs) and safeguarding adult reviews (SARs); relevant materials drawn from the SAR Library, thematic reviews of SARs and Google searches; observations from practice and experience. It also refers to the relevant academic literature.

Findings

Lessons from SCRs and SARs show that a lack of professional curiosity and poor coordination of support can lead to poor assessments and intervention measures that can fail to support those at risk of harm and abuse. There are a number of barriers to professionals practicing with curiosity. Working in partnership enhances the likelihood that professional curiosity will flourish.

Practical implications

There are clear implications for improving practice by increasing professional curiosity amongst professionals. The authors argue that there is a scope to improve professional curiosity by utilising and developing existing partnerships, and ultimately to help reduce the number of deaths and incidents of serious harm.

Originality/value

The paper considers the importance of employing professional curiosity and partnership work in safeguarding adults’ practice, so enabling practitioners to better safeguard adults at risk of abuse and neglect.

Details

The Journal of Adult Protection, vol. 21 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1466-8203

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