FRAGMENTED OR CONNECTIVE PROFESSIONALISM? STRATEGIES FOR PROFESSIONALIZING THE WORK OF STRATEGISTS AND OTHER (ORGANIZATIONAL) PROFESSIONALS

Authors

  • MIRKO NOORDEGRAAF,

    1. Mirko Noordegraaf is professor of Public Administration & Organization Sciences at the Utrecht School of Governance, Utrecht University, The Netherlands
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  • MARTIJN VAN DER STEEN,

    1. Martijn van der Steen is associate dean and deputy-director of the Netherlands School for Public Administration (NSOB), The Hague, The Netherlands
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  • MARK VAN TWIST

    1. Mark van Twist is professor of Public Administration at the Erasmus University of Rotterdam, and dean of the NSOB in The Hague, The Netherlands.
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Abstract

Many professionals, especially organizational ones (managers, controllers, strategists), face difficulties in organizing their professional fields. Work ambiguities and dependencies on outsiders make it difficult to set homogeneous standards and shelter occupational domains. Professionalism tends to be fragmented. It is questionable, however, whether professionalization is a matter of either enforced regulation or fragmented regulatory forms. More connective forms of professional control might enable groups to establish professional domains, despite ambiguities and dependencies. In order to understand professionalization dynamics in public domains and the relevance of connective professionalism, we study the development of one particular field, strategists in government. We show that the professionalization of Dutch strategists is fragmented: strategists are a varied and mobile group; they have different ideas about work; they depend on many other actors and factors. We also show that strategists opt for either more enforced forms of professionalism, or less professional control. Finally, we show how they might establish connective professionalism. By enacting embedded work spaces, strategists can reconfigure their work. This is also relevant for other (organizational) professionals.

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