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The social construction of professionalism among organizers and senior organizers in a UK trade union


  • Denise Thursfield


This article identifies and explores the social construction of professionalism among organizers and senior organizers in the regional office of a UK trade union. The article argues that the social construction of professionalism is linked to servicing, organizing and political campaigning models of internal trade union activity. Moreover, the increasing importance of the organizing model is associated with a shift away from a traditional conceptualization of professionalism towards the managerial professional model described by Faulconbridge and Muzio in which concepts such as strategy, targets and efficiency prevail. There is, however, fragmentation between the socially constructed conceptualizations of professionalism held by organizers and senior organizers. These conflicting conceptualizations are linked to both organizers’ and senior organizers’ everyday practices and concerns in the context of change and uncertainty.

Suggested Citation

  • Denise Thursfield, 2012. "The social construction of professionalism among organizers and senior organizers in a UK trade union," Work, Employment & Society, British Sociological Association, vol. 26(1), pages 128-144, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:woemps:v:26:y:2012:i:1:p:128-144

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