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Radical practice as democratic professionalism - learning from the past

Radical practice as democratic professionalism - learning from the past

Lethbridge, Jane ORCID: 0000-0002-0094-9967 (2016) Radical practice as democratic professionalism - learning from the past. In: International Labour Process Conference 2016, 4-6 April 2016, Berlin, Germany. (Unpublished)

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For professionals working within Welfare States as ‘social services professionals’, changes in the forms of service delivery have called for new models of professionalism (Noordegraaf 2007). The concept of ‘democratic professionalism’ has been identified as a way in which professions such as teachers, nurses and social workers can redefine their own professionalism, during a period when conventional roles are under attack (Whitty 2000, Sachs 2001, Groundwater-Smith & Sachs 2005). Yet, there is a long tradition of ‘social services professionals’ questioning ways of working within the state and developing radical practices to improve the practice and delivery of public services (Weekend Return Group, 1980). In order to further develop strategies of democratic professionalism, the learning from these earlier radical practices needs to be better understood and compared to the theories of democratic professionalism developed more recently.

Contribution to knowledge in field
This research contributes to a) a growing focus on the role of professionals within organisations and corporations and b) places democratic professionalism within a tradition of radical/ democratic practice.

How it is being investigated?
The research draws on a range of sources: project evaluations, mapping of projects, surveys and accounts of innovative and radical practice as seen through biography and other historical sources. This will complement more formal academic research into radical practice.

The research found that there were four main types of radical/ democratic practice in education, health care and social services as seen during the period 1960-2000. They were:
1. Person/ client centred;
2. Progressive forms of management;
3. Community-based;
4. Improvements in access to services.

Some approaches were specific to settings, e.g. community projects, or used new techniques to improve service access. They were not necessarily mutually exclusive and often overlapped. A comparison of types of radical practice with the four main components of democratic professionalism (competence, integrity, respect and responsibility) shows that there are shared elements that can form a useful framework to inform the development of future democratic professionalism.

Item Type: Conference or Conference Paper (Paper)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Democratic professionalism, Radical practice, Public management reforms
Faculty / School / Research Centre / Research Group: Faculty of Business
Faculty of Business > Department of International Business & Economics
Faculty of Business > Centre for Work and Employment Research (CREW) > Public Services International Research Unit (PSIRU)
Related URLs:
Last Modified: 17 May 2019 14:00

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