"Institutionalism and the Professions" in the SAGE Handbook of Organizational Institutionalism
Chapter 17: Institutionalism and the Professions:
Institutionalism and the professions The study of the professions, as they are defined in the developed world, has been deeply intertwined with institutional theory and topics central to institutional theory (legitimation, symbolism, isomorphism, decoupling, power, agency, and organizational fields). The professions represent the quintessential triumph of Durkheimian occupational communities over and above the mass-society-based anonymity of impersonal markets and the grinding rigidity of bureaucracies. But, as we'll see, the classic autonomous, peer-oriented professional practice is under pressure from institutional constituents interested in lower costs, more accountability, and ethical transparency at the same historical moment that technological changes put pressure on traditional, institutionalized methods for delivering professional services. The combination of new places, new people, new technologies, and new clients has pushed professionals in new and uncharted directions. In this chapter, we examine recent developments in the study of professional work through the lens of institutional theory. The delivery of professional ...