Conference Agenda

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Session Overview
RN19_10b: Adjustments and Ambivalences in professional work
Friday, 23/Aug/2019:
2:00pm - 3:30pm

Session Chair: Taru Siekkinen, University of Jyväskylä
Location: BS.3.28
Manchester Metropolitan University Building: Business School, Third Floor, North Atrium Oxford Road

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Adjustment Of German Doctoral Candidates In France And The Netherlands

Gregor Schäfer, Yasmin El Dali

University of Siegen, Germany

The research we would like to present has been conducted in the realm of a project funded by the German research foundation (DFG). The project has been conceptualized and developed by Prof. Dr. Karin Schittenhelm and looks at the migration of PhD students (EU-graduates of the Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences), who have concluded their higher education studies in Germany and moved to France and the Netherlands to continue their scientific career (i.e. PhD). Our research focuses in particular on the adjustment process the academics experience in the host countries. The research discusses factors that exercise positive and negative influence. With regard to theoretical frameworks the paper will discuss the different adjustment areas (Black 1988; Black & Stephens 1989) as well as a number of propositions developed and put forward by Black et al. 1991. It will also include the concept of self-efficacy (Bandura 1977) and theories of Church (1982), who argues that previous international experiences aid adjustment as more accurate expectations can be formed, which in return positively influence anticipatory and actual adjustment. The empirical data was gathered through the conduction of autobiographical narrative interviews (Schütze 1983). Conducting in-depth interviews und utilizing the documentary method (Bohnsack 2014) for analysis allows a comprehensive understanding of the decisive factors in the adjustment processes.

The Difference In The Ways Certified Care Workers Understand Tasks Based On Varying Vocational Education And Training In Japan: Making Reference To The Idea Of 'Dignity And Independence'

Yuma Suzuki

The University of Tokyo, Japan

The purpose of this research is to clarify how Vocational Education and Training (VET) affects the ways in which certified elderly care workers understand tasks differently in Japan.

In Japanese VET of elderly care, there are two ways to receive a certification as a professional elderly care worker, and there are many differences in how VET is conducted in each office. Therefore, this research will clarify how the difference in the experience of VET affects workers’ understanding about their tasks.

To achieve the purpose, semi-structured interviews with certified care workers were conducted; 13 of whom receiving their certificates by graduating from elderly care vocational schools and 10 of whom receiving their certificates by passing the national examination after spending necessary years on the job. In the interviews, we asked what types of VET the workers have experienced and how they understand their tasks.

From these interviews, the following results were obtained:

(1) The certified care workers can be classified into two categories. The first one is those who received enough VET (group A). The second is those who experienced insufficient VET (group B).

(2) The workers of group A considered that user-oriented care is important, but they endured their poor working conditions to keep the quality of care. In contrast, the workers of group B considered time-saving as more important than user-oriented care, but they had critical attitude toward poor working conditions.

The present result suggested that elderly care workers acquire self-sacrificing attitude by logic of user-oriented in VET.

Obscured by Ambivalence: Managerialist Institutional Work in Israel’s Welfare Ministry

Shachar Timor-Shlevin1,2,3

1Bar Ilan University, Israel; 2Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Israel; 3Ashkelon College, Israel

The encounter between managerialism and professional discourses is mainly presented as hierarchical where managerialism subjugates previously predominant professional discourses. An alternative stream of literature illustrates this encounter as mutual and hybrid, combining managerialist principles with professional ones. However, these portrayals fail to allow for a more complex analysis of the power relations between managerialism and professional discourses, particularly regarding critical professional discourses. Specifically, insufficient attention has been paid to the possibility that the ambiguity created by a stated willingness to promote critical-professional change, and actual practice directed at impeding such change, could shape power relations in a specific way.

This study uses the framework of institutional work to investigate this possibility by clarifying the power positions of managerialism and critical-professional discourse in a unique moment when the Israeli Welfare Ministry invited scholars who promote the critical-professional discourse to formulate pilot programs for families living in poverty. This created an analytical encounter allowing the examination of the unique institutional work of senior agents under conditions of ambiguity, where the opposing critical and managerial logics have to work together but implicitly challenge one another.

I conducted 23 interviews with social workers and 14 interviews with administrators identifying practices, routines and discursive power positions operating four forms of institutional maintenance work: underfunding, conditionality, suspicion, and rejection. My contribution lies in elaborating the institutional work directed at maintaining the institutional superiority of managerialism, under conditions of ambiguity. This ambiguity allows the appearance of hybridity while concealing the hierarchical position of the managerialist stance.

Mètis: A Concept To Capture The Blurred Culture Of A Constrained Occupational Group?

Soazig Di Bianco1,2

1Ecole Supérieure d'Agricultures d'Angers, France; 2INRA, UMR CESAER, Dijon, France

This communication explore the complex interplay between several components of professional culture, such as common values, rites and group beliefs, as well as the interplay between individual and group scales, and the coexistence of different sub-cultures.

We conducted a meaningful qualitative survey with 33 technical advisors of French agricultural cooperatives (33/161) and a questionnaire (97.5% response rate).

We show that “semi-remote” work sites provided to a large extent freedom of interpretation and application to the technical advisors, which develop operational autonomy and strong coping skills. This area of freedom is an offer of space for their sub-cultures to be expressed. We identify three professional subcultures. Each allows the job to be performed, but leads to different work practices and social interactions. These professional subcultures are reflected in the various debates that took place at professional meetings or in informal exchanges between technical advisors. For instance, the professional purpose of their interventions, the appropriate relationship with farmers and the desirable characteristics of a “good” farm advisor are different among our respondents. We explore how the porosity between farmers and technical salesmen professions helps acculturation and explains the similarities between their respective professional cultures. Bound together by this social proximity, farmers and technical salesmen have a significant impact on the cooperative cultural system.

Finally, we propose the concept of “mètis” to analyze the professional skills of technical advisors, developed under this very specific cultural transmission that gathers 3 major vectors: (i) organization (professional training, management), (ii) peer group (transmission), (iii) social capital.

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