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CONTRADICTORY COUPLINGS: PROFESSIONAL IDEOLOGY IN THE ORGANIZATIONAL LOCALES OF NURSE TRAINING

Wai‐Fong Chua and Stewart Clegg

Journal of Management Studies, 1989, vol. 26, issue 2, 103-127

Abstract: Nursing is a contemporary occupation which has developed an explicit ‘professional project’. In the UK this has centred around an occupational ideology which stresses managerialism and credentialism. This occupational ideology comes into contradiction with older conceptions of professionalism which are couched in vocational terms. The vocational meaning is shown to be situated and reproduced in organizational locales which serve to undercut the managerialist and credentialist meanings. The focus of these cross‐cutting meanings is the interpretation of a ‘good nurse’. Using a ‘negotiated order’ perspective, focusing on ‘contradictions’, case study material suggests that there are important gaps between formal representations of the professionalism project and the actual, situated practice of ‘nursing’. For trainee nurses these gaps are particularly apparent. In day‐to‐day organizational life they have to negotiate contradictory conceptions encountered in the diverse locales of ward work and nurse training. In addition, the different meanings may be encountered even in the same locales.

Date: 1989
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