Professional work and management

These are uncertain times for professionals. There is an emerging consensus that professional work in advanced capitalist societies is undergoing significant restructuring (Reed 2000), while the assumptions previously held about the professions and professional work have been challenged. As Dent and Whitehead have argued: The social and cultural assumptions that surround the term “professional” have never been subject to so much question as they are now. . . . The certainties, divisions and assumptions which held true for most of the twentieth century are no longer available to us. (Dent and Whitehead 2002, 1) The relationship between professionals and the organizations in which they work has long been of interest to academics (Parsons 1954; Blau and Scott 1962; Larson 1977, 1990; Tolbert and Barley 1991). However, the changing socio-economic and political climate of the past two decades has served to bring the discussion to the fore. Significantly, the emergence of managerialist agendas, which impact upon both public and private sector organizations, has had far-reaching implications for professionals, and it has raised new questions about the latter’s relationship with management and the organizations in which they work....