Research that belongs to 'Professionals and Performance' is about the following questions and related descriptions:
- How do professional fields control and empower their members?
The main issue is how professional fields, professional members and other relevant stakeholders deal with control and empowerment challenges caused by a changing society and organisations. Professionals are subject to all types of control, regulation and governance: legislation, codes of conduct, public opinion and social norms and values. Changing societies create new challenges beyond coercive and normative control principles, for example towards models of self-regulation and self-control. This causes a paradox (Smith and Lewis, 2011) of control and empowerment. The coexistence of professional control and compliance by government and professional autonomy and self-control raises the question of how to control and empower professionals effectively. The different control and empowerment regimes, and the combinations of these control and empowerment regimes, present a paradox for professionals: the elements seem ‘logical in isolation’, but ‘irrational and inconsistent’ when juxtaposed. This raises challenges for professional fields and their members.
- How do professionals organise and lead professional work?
Public policies have introduced new aims (such as risk reduction, accountability and striving for cost control, increased speed and effectiveness and market competition) into many professions. Technology is rapidly transforming professional work. At an organisational level, results are measured constantly and routines are adapted to ensure performance. Increasingly, professional performance is realised in a context of multi-layered interactions (specialised teams, organisations, associations, certifiers, standard organisations, supervisory bodies). This requires a different level of organisation within professional fields.