Professions and the Pursuit of Transparency: Two Cases of Soft Autonomy
2009 (English)In: Organization Studies, ISSN 0170-8406, E-ISSN 1741-3044, Vol. 30, no 5, 509-527 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Contemporary professions are increasingly challenged to open up to scrutiny from the outside. Earlier research is focused on two main types of responses and consequences: colonization by a managerial logic of self-monitoring and decoupling of auditing and professional practice. This paper describes a different type of response which implies that professionals get actively involved in monitoring their own activities, without losing their professional autonomy. Two cases from Swedish healthcare were investigated: accreditation at a hospital laboratory and the national quality registries. In both cases, professional involvement took the form of translation and negotiation in expert networks, restrained by a certain resistance towards external monitoring, but driven by an interest in legitimizing and developing professional work. The resulting situation is characterized as a 'soft autonomy' which combines professional internalization of originally non-professional auditing ideas with maintained professional control over evaluation criteria.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2009. Vol. 30, no 5, 509-527 p.
professions, transparency, healthcare services, audit society, soft regulation, soft bureaucracy, soft autonomy
Research subject Business Studies
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-103839DOI: 10.1177/0170840609104396ISI: 000266362800003OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-103839DiVA: diva2:218834