9th Conference European Sociological Association

RN19 Sociology of Professions

2009-09-03 09:00:00 2009-09-03 10:30:00 Thursday, 3 September 09:00 - 10:30 Professions on the Move: Migration and Flexibility Building I, Auditório 1

Professionalism patterns in the Internationalization of Information Work

Professionalism as a particular form of organizing work has experienced an important change in the recent years (Friedson 2001; Evetts 2006, 2009) especially influenced among other factors by internationalization dynamics, globalization and the development of information and communication technologies. The predominant role of large enterprises in the global economy shapes the development of new organizational forms of professionalism adopting managerialism principles with a global customer scope beyond national boundaries. The ICT industry, especially the ICT service segment, is experiencing such a development of professionalism due to rapid internationalization processes and the related uncertaintainties and risks of coordinating international expertise in high dynamic innovation regimes. On the one hand, the complex coordination and synchronization of emerging expertise in international work environments requires standardization and formalization of work processes. On the other hand, innovation regimes demand creativity and flexibility and thus, ?certain? work autonomy from the practitioners, who are in some segments of the IT industry high requested experts in international IT labor markets. Thus, the internationalization of information work challenges IT tasks hierarchies, work practices, as well as work and expertise control in IT multinational enterprises.
In this paper I analyse on the basis of Noordegraaf´s (2007) notion of hybrid professionalism how multinational IT enterprises and practitioners combine such a kind of professionalism with occupational professionalism. Hybrid professionalism represents in this context an identity basis for international information workers comprising a sense of common experiences, understandings and expertise as well as shared ways of perceiving problems and possible solutions and contributes to occupational change. But it also constitutes a legitimacy ground for work-a-day practices, acknowledgement and power. I concentrate on the three ?ingredients? constituting ?hybrid professionalism? suggested by Noordegraaf (2007: 779): first, the linkages between work and organized action; second, the mechanisms for legitimating work and third, the searching for occupational identities on the empirical basis of three case studies in the software, hardware and IT service multinational German enterprises from my research about the internationalization of the IT industry in Germany and the transformation and categorization of tasks and employees regarding gender, age, nationality and qualification.