Perspectives on Contemporary Professional Work
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Perspectives on Contemporary Professional Work

Challenges and Experiences

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.
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Chapter 2: Hybrid organizations and hybrid professionalism: changes, continuities and challenges

Julia Evetts


Change is a constant feature of professional work but the speed and prominence of change is growing as increasingly professionals (such as doctors, nurses, pharmacists, teachers and social workers) now work in employing, hybrid organizations. Most professionals, including engineers, journalists, performing artists, the armed forces and police, find occupational control of their work and discretionary decision-making increasingly difficult to sustain. The increasing employment of professionals in organizations is having effects on both professionalism and the organizations in which professionals work. Both are changing and each is affecting the other. Faulconbridge and Muzio (2008) use the notion of ‘hybridity’, where different strands of professionalism and other organizational principles co-exist and co-penetrate each other producing new hybrid arrangements. In particular, it seems that whatever management there is in professional organizations, it is more likely to have consensual rather than executive or directive connotations. The notion of ‘hybridity’ is useful in that it implies combinations of characteristics, mixtures and linkages of different elements, producing a distinctive form. Both professionalism and organizations are changing as a result of their co-existence; both are co-penetrating and mutually affecting each other. This chapter will focus on professionalism and how it is changing and being changed in the employing organizations in which professionals now work. I begin by briefly indicating my preferred theoretical interpretation of professionalism, namely as an occupational value and as a discourse. Next I return to the ideal-types of organizational and occupational professionalism which I originally described in Evetts (2006).

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