The consequences of assistant roles in the public services: Degradation or empowerment?

Bach, Stephen, Kessler, Ian and Heron, Paul (2007) The consequences of assistant roles in the public services: Degradation or empowerment? Human Relations, 60 (9). pp. 1267-1292.

Abstract

This article considers whether and how shifts in the division of labour in the context of organizational change lead to the empowerment or degradation of workplace roles. It focuses on the emergence of assistants in the British public services and, in particular, whether this leads to the degradation or empowerment of those who fill the role and the professionals they work with. Concentrating upon assistant roles in education and social care, case study findings suggest that as these roles develop, the assistants themselves and their co-professionals are empowered to some degree both in terms of their work and employment conditions. However, it notes that these consequences are not unambiguously positive for the stakeholders and vary by sub-sector. The article lends support to those who have argued that changes in the division of labour result in blended and potentially contradictory outcomes for the workers involved. It also contributes to a literature which suggests that outcomes are contingent upon context, proposing that sub-sector conditions can be influential.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Assistants; Modernization; Professions; Public management; Work organization
Subject(s): Organisational behaviour
Centre: Faculty of Organisational Behaviour
Date Deposited: 25 Jan 2012 20:04
Last Modified: 23 Oct 2015 14:06
URI: http://eureka.sbs.ox.ac.uk/id/eprint/1876

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