Research that belongs to 'Professionals and Performance' is about the following questions and related descriptions:
- How do professional fields develop and how do they develop professionalism?
As professionals are trained and socialised, they develop professional identities and (self-)images of what it means to be professional. New conditions are not automatically translated into new occupational identities and images. First, professional fields are increasingly fragmented. Professional (sub-)groups and segments within a field develop different views and establish different ways of working. There are re-stratifications, e.g. when elite professionals focus on complex case treatment and routine professionals deal with the bulk of production portfolios. Second, professional work is increasingly dependent on outside environments, media influences and multiple stakeholders. When both professional effectiveness and legitimacy are under pressure, identities and (self-)images have to adapt. The question is whether this is occurring, and if so, why and how?
- How do norms and routines affect professionals and professional work?
After many years of relatively undisturbed autonomies, professional work has been regulated in new ways since the 1980s and 1990s. Managerialism and New Public Management set business-like standards, which led to clashes between managerial/organisational and professional norms and routines, in two ways. First, what are effective norms? Second, who sets and enforces effective norms?
Although these clashes led to resistance against managerial intrusions and to radical criticism of standards per se, more viable research perspectives have focused on standardisation processes in and around professional work and on the effectiveness and legitimacy of norms and routines. Professional fields will have to re-set and re-establish routine in professional work. The question is, what are appropriate norms, and how are they set?