Table of Contents

Perspectives on Contemporary Professional Work

Perspectives on Contemporary Professional Work

Challenges and Experiences

New Horizons in Management series

Edited by Adrian Wilkinson, Donald Hislop and Christine Coupland

How is the world of professions and professional work changing? This book offers both an overview of current debates surrounding the nature of professional work, and the implications for change brought about by the managerialist agenda. The relationships professionals have with their organizations are variable, indeterminate and uncertain, and there is still debate over the ways in which these should be characterized and theorized. The contributors discuss these implications with topics including hybrid organizations and hybrid professionalism; the changing nature of professional and managerial work; profession and identity; and the emergence of HRM as a new managerial profession.

Chapter 4: The changing nature of professional and managerial work: issues and challenges from an empirical study of the UK

Les Worrall, Kim Mather and Cary L. Cooper

Subjects: business and management, human resource management, organisational behaviour


The Quality of Working Life (QWL) series of surveys began in 1997 (Worrall and Cooper, 1997); it has focused specifically on UK managerial and professional workers and it has allowed us to examine how the organizational settings in which managerial and professional work takes place have changed and how these changes have impacted on the nature of managerial and professional work as experienced by the workers themselves. A core theme has been to explore how organizations have changed and how organizational change has driven the redesign of work and working practices which, in turn, have impacted upon managerial and professional workers’ lived experience of work (Worrall et al., 2004). More specifically, the studies have allowed us to assess how macroeconomic pressures have impacted on the pace and nature of organizational change and how this has affected managers’ well-being, the hours that managers and professionals now work, how their work has intensified and how their sense of control over their own jobs has changed. In parallel with the QWL project, which is a quantitative survey, we have also been conducting a programme of qualitative research in the UK public sector.

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