Since the start, Forum for Research on Professions research projects have been collected under the umbrella of three overarching themes:
The double movement for expansion and transformation of professionalism
From the 1990s continuing to the present, the number of students admitted to Swedish universities has increased considerably. The increase has however not been among students belonging to the traditional high status professions such as law and medicine but instead students who follow vocationally-orientated study programmes. Higher education in Sweden can consequently be described as having gone through a change where a more focused and in-depth vocational orientation today is forming and broadening the Swedish university system.
At the same time that the Swedish university system has been undergoing change there has been a systematic and intensified trend towards adopting a more academic approach to vocationally-orientated higher education. Through abstract and scholarly knowledge, the new degree programmes are forced into the academic standard parallel with the new forms of systematic knowledge developed in relation to these professions.
Research projects brought together under the umbrella of this theme share the examination of the tensions between vocation, profession and education. It is of interest to focus on the dilemma in connection with the professionalization of new professions and the nature and significance of professional knowledge.
Projects which have already started
- Equal opportunities and a gender perspective as the bearer of professional change and increased academic focus: changes in Swedish higher education for actors and actresses, artists and mimics
- The medical profession and global expertise
- From battle fields to high-tech operation theatres: the emergence of surgery as a complex profession
- The professional vocation's conditions and values: a study of the Swedish professions during 1996- 2010.
- The HERE group - Higher Education Research and Evaluation
- Background, choice of study and labour market for students in academic (vocational) education in Växjö, 1970- 2005
- Getting one's foot in the professional door- entry strategies and effect on the gender structure
- The professional landscape. A study of the historical growth of the professions and their present significance in Swedish working life.
- Bearers of the knowledge society: a sociological study of the Swedish professions' historical growth and their importance in modern working life
- The Swedish StudData project
- The Police Research Network's European StudData.
Transparency and governance in professionalism
Autonomy has traditionally been one of the main characteristics of a profession. In the concept of professional autonomy, (i) power and ability of a profession lies in its evaluation and judgement of the merits of its own work and (ii) in the opportunities provided for the profession as a whole to evaluate its own work through professional codes of practice and norms as well as taking disciplinary measures against members in the profession who do not follow these codes.
More recently, professional autonomy has been challenged at a societal and everyday level by trends which have come to emphasize transparency. On a societal level, EU directives bringing about an enforced use of international accounting and auditing standards for listed companies can be seen as an example of this. On a national level, a further example can be seen in the form of the establishment of national medical quality registers.
The requirements for transparency have also led to the implementation of new instruments of governance and an increased production of various documents. The common denominator of these tricks of the trade is that they are intended to increase the visibility of professional processes making it possible to for persons outside the profession to exert governing influences.
Research projects which have been gathered under this theme focus on the relationship between autonomy and transparency. A primary purpose is to investigate the relations between professional decision makers, professional autonomy, norms and knowledge as well as the effects which various tools for transparency have on professionalism.
- In the wake of transparency- national quality registers for quality or control?
- The collective professional picture of teachers as expressed in teaching journals
- The analytical system and documentation- an idea in passage
Projects in progress
- Freedom with responsibility or responsibility under supervision? On the effect of document control on autonomy, knowledge base and norm systems among professionals
- The negative side of professional autonomy
- From professional autonomy to external decided standards – a study of changing discourses of control
- Balanced Scorecard in the health care system- experience from the use of Balanced Scorecards from local health authorities
- Auditing – new forms of control
- From professional autonomy to externally approved standards – a study of changing discourses of control
- Effects of transparency as a form of institutional logic- examples of national quality register within health and hospital care.
- The language of rehabilitation: representations of crime victims in police texts
- Senior managers with public tasks: the professionalization of leadership within schools and health care and its importance.
- At the crossroads between cautionary principles and the courage to be creative- the work of the teacher in a risk-filled and scrutinizing society.
The establishment of professional boundaries and professional enclosure as a means of retaining status and a monopoly for a specific labour market, is a classic research area within this research tradition. The delimitation and definition of the profession is closely related to the legitimacy based on the professional needs and expertise.
Without legitimacy and professional confidence it is difficult for a profession to establish itself in its niche. Confidence must however be continually built up from a base in relation to other participants in the network where professional boundaries have been drawn, for example with reference to the state or a client. Professionalism can therefore be seen as a process rather than as a stable condition. The drawing of professional boundaries can therefore be regarded from the perspective of the profession and in relation to society as a whole. Within the profession, the drawing of professional boundaries takes place through specialization and professional stratification with the purpose of discharging various social functions or to increase the status of the group in question.
The drawing of boundaries can also take place in relation to other professional groups. For example, studies on the co-operation between police and social workers have shown how professional tasks as well as boundaries between the two professions are continually acknowledged in the practical interaction (Johnsson & Svensson, 2006a; 2006b).
The work of drawing boundaries and inter-professional relations is the third theme within the research group. Questions of interest include investigations into how expansion and change of professional status can be seen in the light of the drawing of professional boundaries but also as a way for professions to grapple with the dilemma of transparency and governance. In addition, research is carried out into professional identities and to what extent professional identity has changed in various organisations.
Projects which have been started
- Defining professional identity through the drawing of professional boundaries and confrontation- controversies in the professional logic of artists and psychiatrists.
- Surveillance of a market- towards an improved classification and description of the corporate governance system
- The effect of corporate governance on the accuracy of profit forecasts. A comparative study of financial analysts.
- When the right to receive sickness benefit is taken away
- The auditor's role in a changing corporate governance system
- Planned projects
- The demands of demand: the professional fat of Swedish music education in the postwar era
Working paper series
The Balanced Scorecard as
an Integrator of Interests in Healthcare Organisations
PDF Size: 94.2Kb Updated: December 8th 2006