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 3: Impact of managerialism upon professionals in public services organizations

Graeme Currie and Charlotte Croft


In this chapter we consider the co-option of professionals into hybrid managerial roles, providing an exemplary tracer study to consider the impact of ‘managerialism’ (Clarke and Newman, 1997) upon professionals in public services organizations. Theoretically, through consideration of the experiences of hybrid managers in public services organizations, we highlight interlinked topics that we argue are most significant regarding professional responses to managerialism. These are: identity transition for hybrid managers (Croft et al., 2015a, 2015b); dynamics of professional organization and managerial accountability that frame the role of hybrid managers (Currie et al., 2015); transformational leadership enacted by hybrid managers to address all-pervasive ‘wicked issues’ facing professionals in public services organizations (Currie et al., 2009a, 2009b); and the cultural clash between managers and professionals, which shapes prospects for external control of front-line public service professionals (Raelin, 1995). Empirically, we focus upon a range of public service organizations and derive illustrations from large-scale funded studies, led by one of the authors, in the following settings: healthcare, social care, schools and police forces. In these settings we consider hybrid managerial roles enacted by: nurses leading clinical teams; a social worker leading a children’s safeguarding network; principals leading schools; and finally middle-level police officers tasked with becoming resource managers. Whilst our empirical illustrations are all set in England, we argue that the fast-paced managerial reforms in this national setting provide analytical lessons for other international contexts.

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