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Professions and the Pursuit of Transparency: Two Cases of Soft Autonomy
Företagsekonomiska institutionen, Lunds Universitet.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Business Studies.
2009 (English)In: Organization Studies, ISSN 0170-8406, E-ISSN 1741-3044, Vol. 30, no 5, 509-527 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

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.
Keyword [en]
professions, transparency, healthcare services, audit society, soft regulation, soft bureaucracy, soft autonomy
National Category
Business Administration
Research subject
Business Studies
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-103839DOI: 10.1177/0170840609104396ISI: 000266362800003OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-103839DiVA: diva2:218834
Available from: 2009-05-25 Created: 2009-05-25 Last updated: 2010-12-29Bibliographically approved

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