Administration & Society
© The Author(s) 2018
in Changing Public
The Interplay Between
Strategies of Non-Elite
Marianne van Bochove1
and Lieke Oldenhof1
It is often argued that increased volunteer participation in public service
organizations will lead to de-professionalization of established professionals.
Adopting a relational approach, this article shows that professionalization of
new actors can actually initiate and reinforce the professionalization of others.
This article focuses on the interplay between nonelite actors in social care
that carry out institutional work aimed at pursuing three strategies: classic
professionalization of volunteer coordinators, proto-professionalization of
volunteers, and advanced professionalization of social care practitioners.
Potential negative implications of these professionalization strategies are
the hollowing out of paid social care work and the exclusion of vulnerable
welfare state reform, professionalism, public services, volunteers, institutional
1Erasmus University Rotterdam, The Netherlands
Marianne van Bochove, Assistant Professor, Erasmus School of Health Policy & Management,
Erasmus University Rotterdam, P.O. Box 1738, Rotterdam NL-3000 DR, The Netherlands.
786880AASXXX10.1177/0095399718786880Administration & Societyvan Bochove and Oldenhof
2 Administration & Society 00(0)
In many welfare states today, responsibilities for public services increasingly
are distributed from professionals to citizens, who are encouraged to adopt
roles as volunteers, co-producers, and informal care givers (Bach, Kessler, &
Heron, 2007; Liljegren, Höjer, & Forkby, 2014; Newman & Tonkens, 2011;
Oldenhof, Postma, & Bal, 2016; Van Bochove, Tonkens, Verplanke, &
Roggeveen, 2018). The redistribution of responsibilities has led to the recur-
ring critique that welfare states are “de-professionalizing.” Underlying this
critique is the assumption that professional roles and power are significantly
reduced: not only by the involvement of laypersons in public service provi-
sion but also due to managerial encroachment and standardization of profes-
sional work (Fournier, 2000). Parallel to trends of de-professionalization, we
see the development of new forms of professionalism (Duyvendak, Knijn, &
Kremer, 2006; Evetts, 2009, 2011). Not only practitioners in “less profes-
sionalized” fields (Noordegraaf, 2016, p. 800), such as ambulance personnel
and social workers, but also managers and even “lay experts” make claims to
the label of professionalism by adopting classical features of professionals,
such as standards, ethical codes, and educational curricula (Evetts, 2003;
Heite, 2012; Millward, 2005; Newman & Clarke, 2009; Noordegraaf &
Schinkel, 2011; Oldenhof, Stoopendaal, & Putters, 2016).
While trends of professionalization and de-professionalization are often
portrayed as trade-offs, in line with Noordegraaf, van der Steen, and van
Twist (2014, p. 25), we argue that these developments do not need to oppose
each other in binary ways (“win/lose”) or result in quantitative outcomes
(“more/less” professionalism). In this article, we will show that “more” pro-
fessionalization of new occupations and unpaid work does not necessarily
lead to “less” professionalization of other occupations. In fact, professional-
ization of new actors may even initiate and reinforce re-professionalization
strategies of established professionals.
The aim of this article is to investigate the relational dynamics between
different strategies of professionalization at play in changing welfare states.
In doing so, we respond to recent calls to investigate relational dimensions of
professionalism (Duyvendak et al., 2006; Noordegraaf et al., 2014). A rela-
tional approach to professionalism assumes that agency is distributed between
actors that pursue professionalization (Lawrence, Suddaby, & Leca, 2011;
Suddaby & Viale, 2011). As a consequence, multiple “professional projects”
(Larson, 1977) in which actors shape and (re)claim professional status are
interdependent and affect each other in unintended ways. Moreover, rela-
tional dynamics between professional projects may lead to field-level institu-
tional change, thereby reshaping the process of public service provision in
van Bochove and Oldenhof 3
welfare states. According to Lawrence et al. (2011), distributed agency thus
“invites researchers to explore how individual actors contribute to institu-
tional change, how those contributions combine, how actors respond to one
another’s efforts, and how the accumulation of those contributions leads to a
path of institutional change or stability” (p. 55).
To further flesh out the relational and institutional dynamics of profession-
alism, we use the concept of institutional work. This concept is particularly
suitable to analyze how actors not only respond to changes in their own work
and the larger welfare state but also actively shape institutional change both
within and outside their own organization. Institutional work refers to the
creation, maintenance, and disruption of institutions (Lawrence & Suddaby,
2006). So far, the majority of studies on institutional work have focused on
institutional work of a certain profession that aims to defend and maintain
professional power, such as doctors and managers (Cloutier, Denis, Langley,
& Lamothe, 2016; Currie, Locket, Finn, Martin, & Waring, 2012). In this
article, we build on these studies, but take the analysis one step further by
exploring the relational dynamics between the professionalization strategies
of multiple actors: that is, volunteers, social care practitioners, and volunteer
By focusing on collaboration between these actors, we are able to contrib-
ute to the literature on institutional work in three ways. First, we will show
mutual dependencies at play in institutional work: the success or failure of
each professionalization strategy depends on the interaction with other strate-
gies. This will allow us to analyze the networked nature of professional proj-
ects that are interconnected in the enactment of institutional work. Second,
existing studies have primarily focused on elite professionals and high status
groups that act as institutional agents (Scott, 2008; Suddaby & Viale, 2011).
It is well known that elite professionals have the necessary resources to carry
out institutional work effectively. There is, however, still little knowledge
about institutional work of nonelite actors and whether these actors are able
to play the institutional game (notable exceptions are Coule & Patmore,
2013; McCann, Granter, Hyde, & Hassard, 2013; Simmons, 2016). Third, we
will show how professionalization strategies can be both developed from
“within” and implemented “top-down” to enforce new relations and work
distributions (see also Evetts, 2011).
Based on observations and semistructured interviews with social care
practitioners, volunteers, and volunteer coordinators, we answer the main
Research Question: How do various actors in social care organizations
respond to shifts from paid to unpaid work?
4 Administration & Society 00(0)
More specifically, we are interested in (a) the institutional work they perform
in reaction to these shifts, and with what aims they do so; (b) the conse-
quences this institutional work has for their own and others’ position as “pro-
fessional”; and (c) the consequences it has for the organizational field of
We will first discuss the changing nature of professionalism. We then
describe the usefulness of the concept of institutional work in analyzing rela-
tional dynamics between professionalization strategies. Next, we will intro-
duce our qualitative methods and present our findings. After describing
professionalization strategies per actor, we will analyze both the mutual
dependencies and frictions within and between the strategies. In the conclu-
sion, we will reflect on the institutional change that professionalization strat-
egies embody and the implications this has for the capacity of social care
organizations to meet their missions.
The Contested and Relational Nature of
The nature of professionalism is increasingly contested as practitioners
such as teachers, nurses, and social workers are confronted with manage-
rial reform and increasing involvement of “non-professional” outsiders,
such as paid teaching and health care assistants (Bach et al., 2007) and
unpaid volunteers (Van Bochove et al., 2018) in public service provision.
Common critiques address risks of de-professionalization and potential
dangers of job displacement (Ockenden, Hill, & Stuart, 2012). While
trends of professionalization and de-professionalization are often por-
trayed as trade-offs, we argue that it is more fruitful to focus on the rela-
tional dimensions of professionalization. Following Noordegraaf et al.
(2014), we “analyze the mechanisms for building a professional field,
amidst dependencies and ambiguities” (p. 25). An analysis of relational
dynamics between different professionalization strategies is key for sev-
eral reasons. First, a relational approach sheds light on the broad variety of
professionalization strategies that actors can instrumentally employ to
claim professional status themselves or bestow professional status on oth-
ers. The differences between strategies can give valuable insights into
various action repertoires and mundane efforts to change the division
between paid and unpaid work. Second, a relational approach acknowl-
edges that different actors pursue multiple professionalization agendas
that sometimes align and reinforce each other, but at other times clash
(Suddaby & Viale, 2011). According to McCann et al. (2013), “[t]he com-
plex and often contradictory relationship of multiple levels of (formal and
van Bochove and Oldenhof 5
informal) action in institutional change and professional projects promises
to be a highly fruitful area for further research” (p. 772).
In the literature, a variety of professionalization strategies are identified.
Noordegraaf and Schinkel (2011), for example, discuss how managers follow
“classic” professionalization strategies that mimic established professionals
such as doctors. These classic strategies encompass the building of associa-
tions and educational programs as well as the establishment of work codes
and protocols that standardize technical expertise and service ethics. As
becomes clear from this example, professionalization can be developed
“from within” when an occupational group aims to improve its status.
However, Evetts (2011) argues that it is also important to look at profession-
alization strategies imposed “from above” by the organization to discipline
the worker into adopting new work methods and responsibilities. When
viewed as imposed from above, professionalization may lead either to forms
of resistance or to the internalization of new ways of working. Although pro-
fessionalization from within and from above seem to exclude each other,
McCann et al. (2013) demonstrate that they can co-exist in organizations,
albeit in contradictory ways. Their analysis of the professionalization of
ambulance workers reveals that “formal, senior level” entrepreneurship
focuses on lobbying at the policy level for higher recognition and more dis-
cretionary space for ambulance workers, whereas “informal, street-level”
professionalization is aimed at merely coping with work pressures and the
maintenance of “blue-collar professionalism” (McCann et al., 2013, p. 769).
The above-mentioned professionalization strategies focus on occupations;
yet especially when it comes to lay outsiders, there are different strategies
involved. In this light, De Swaan (1988) and Dent (2006) discuss the term
“proto-professionalization” to describe the process that patients and their
families in the Western world have undergone: Through the medicalization of
everyday life, they have learned to define what bothers them “in terms of
some available proto-professional vocabulary” (Dent, 2006, p. 458), which is
“a simplified and censored version of professional knowledge” (De Swaan,
1988, p. 244). As these authors argue, laypersons have learned to express
their problems and needs in a proto-professional vocabulary that is recogniz-
able and legitimate in the eyes of professionals. Existing literature primarily
applies the strategy of proto-professionalization to attempts of laypersons to
gain power in a professional domain; yet this strategy can also be imple-
mented “from above” when public service organizations want to distribute
responsibilities to volunteers.
To this point, the interaction between different professionalization strate-
gies—including both strategies applied from above and from within, and
both strategies directed at laypersons and practitioners of occupations—has
6 Administration & Society 00(0)
received little attention. However, especially this interaction may shed light
on how institutional change comes about in current welfare states.
Institutional Change and the Enactment of
In both institutional analysis and the literature on the sociology of profes-
sions, there is a growing recognition that professionalization strategies are
not just about the transformation of occupations but also affect the broader
institutional environment and organizational field (McCann et al., 2013;
Scott, 2008; Suddaby & Viale, 2011). According to Suddaby and Viale
(2011), professionalization strategies are endogenous mechanisms for both
institutionalization and field-level change. By (re)defining jurisdictional,
occupational, and educational boundaries, professionalization strategies con-
tribute to (further) institutionalization of an existing or new occupational
domain and consequently also influence the dynamics of the broader field
(e.g., health care, social care, primary care). Seen this way, professionaliza-
tion is not just about self-interest but encompasses “a collective effort to gov-
ern changing relations and dependencies in and around service organizations”
(Noordegraaf & Schinkel, 2011, p. 114). In the governance of these changing
relations, new task divisions are shaped between professional and nonprofes-
sional actors, and the nature of professional work itself is reconfigured. For
example, the question of what constitutes a “good” social worker or nurse is
constantly renegotiated in relation to other fields and new actors. Due to the
interrelated and overlapping nature of professional projects and the distribu-
tion of agency, dynamics of professionalization cannot be unilaterally defined
and often turn out to be quite contradictory. This explains why institutional
and field-level change is incremental in nature and therefore hardly notice-
able when zooming in on the organizational level (McCann et al., 2013).
To be able to notice subtle differences in the way actors put on a profes-
sional performance in relation to others (Hodgson, 2005), it is especially fruit-
ful to look at the role of rhetoric when analyzing professionalization strategies
(Fournier, 1999; Oldenhof, Postma, & Bal, 2016; Thomas & Hewitt, 2011;
Watson, 2002). By rhetorically labeling certain roles and behavior as “profes-
sional,” actors can pursue various goals, ranging from the legitimization of
new work activities and status increase to the demarcation of occupational
boundaries vis à vis others (cf. Watson, 2002; Bucher, Chreim, Langley, &
Reay, 2016). Likewise, professional rhetoric and talk can be strategically used
by actors “to influence the direction and pace of change, but also to legitimate
or delegitimate the acceptance of a particular program of change” (Suddaby &
Viale, 2011, p. 434). Given the shifting boundaries between paid and unpaid
van Bochove and Oldenhof 7
staff in many public service organizations across welfare states (Eliasoph,
2011; Overgaard, 2015; Van Bochove et al., 2018), it is particularly relevant to
research how organizational change in such organizations is promoted via the
enactment of various professionalization strategies.
The extent to which professionalization strategies stick and materialize
into new work practices (rather than remaining a rhetorical act) is largely
dependent on the institutional work performed by actors embedded in organi-
zations. According to Lawrence et al. (2011),
[t]he study of institutional work takes as its point of departure an interest in
work—the efforts of individuals and collective actors to cope with, keep up
with, shore up, tear down, tinker with, transform, or create anew the institutional
structures within which they live, work, and play, and which give them their
roles, relationships, resources, and routines. (p. 53)
This definition of institutional work draws our attention to the mundane work
that actors perform to create, maintain, and disrupt institutions (Lawrence &
Suddaby, 2006). Rather than being subjected to macro institutional forces,
individual actors can incrementally exert influence on the institutional con-
text by enacting institutional work on an everyday basis.
Recent studies have defined different types of institutional work with
increasing levels of detail (Cloutier et al., 2016; Currie et al., 2012; Lawrence
& Suddaby, 2006). For the purposes of this article, we will especially focus
on three types of institutional work: “defining,” “educating,” and “embed-
ding and routinizing.” Defining refers to the activity of demarcating occupa-
tional domains or work activities, which creates status hierarchies within a
field (Lawrence & Suddaby, 2006). Educating refers to the development of
educational programs and credentials required for holding new roles (Currie
et al., 2012). It is important to note that educating can have varying degrees
of (in)formality: ranging from formalized master programs at universities to
more ad hoc and informal forms of education, such as on-the-job training.
Especially when focusing on nonelite actors, these informal forms of educat-
ing are important to include. Embedding and routinizing refers to the infusion
of “normative foundations of an institution in the day-to-day routines and
organizational practices” (Lawrence & Suddaby, 2006, p. 233). Formal docu-
ments, for instance, can have a stabilizing influence.
Analyzing different types of institutional work that are enacted in the pur-
suit of professionalization strategies enables us to (a) shed light on the rela-
tional connections between different types of institutional work within
professionalization strategies (cf. Cloutier et al., 2016 on relational work); (b)
demonstrate the connections and tensions between different
8 Administration & Society 00(0)
professionalization strategies; and (c) demonstrate the field-level change that
occurs as a consequence of these interactions.
The presence and professionalization of new actors makes the Dutch social
care sector an interesting case to analyze relational dynamics between differ-
ent professionalization strategies. In the context of recent decentralizations of
social care and support, local governments actively promote the participation
of volunteers. This leads to new tasks distributions between social care prac-
titioners, volunteers, and volunteer coordinators. On the one hand, volunteer
participation in social care is viewed as a necessary requirement to realize
budget cuts and to create less reliance on professional care that is assumed to
hinder clients’ self-sufficiency and empowerment (VWS, 1999, cited in
Grootegoed, 2013). On the other hand, professionals and labor unions criti-
cize volunteer responsibilization, as it would lead to work substitution and
decreasing quality of care (Skipr, 2014).
This article is based on data collected for the research project “Can’t We
Leave That to the Volunteers?” (2012-2014), which was a cooperation
between the University of Amsterdam (where the first author worked at the
time) and several governmental and social partners. The project focused on
recent shifts in tasks from paid workers to volunteers in care and social ser-
vices and the consequences for how both groups experience their work and
collaboration (cf. Van Bochove et al., 2018). The cases were selected in
consultation with the project partners and pertain to the domains of long-
term care and social work, as the expansion of volunteer responsibilities is
prominent there. The cases consisted of two nursing homes for frail elderly,
three day care activity centers for clients with mental disabilities, seven
community centers, and four children’s playgrounds. The long-term care
organization that runs the two selected nursing homes has reduced profes-
sional staff over the years due to cutbacks, and the organization promotes
further involvement of volunteers in tasks directed at the clients’ well-being,
such as going for walks and preparing meals. The day care activity centers
also assigned more tasks to volunteers: volunteers are increasingly involved
in helping during activities such as handicrafts, gardening, gymnastics, and
playing games. In the neighborhood centers and playgrounds, volunteers are
not only expected to assist paid workers but increasingly also take over tasks
that were previously part of the social workers’ core tasks, such as planning
and organizing activities (e.g., dancing classes and language courses in
neighborhood centers and themed activities in playgrounds) and applying
van Bochove and Oldenhof 9
The fieldwork consisted of semistructured interviews with and observa-
tions of volunteers and paid staff. Most of the interviewed paid staff (n = 66)
consisted of nurses, nurse assistants, activity coordinators, and social work-
ers. We refer to these respondents as social care practitioners. In addition,
volunteer coordinators and middle managers were included, of which par-
ticularly the eight interviews with volunteer coordinators are relevant for the
purposes of this article. The volunteers (n = 68) formed a heterogeneous
group regarding the tasks they performed, how often and how many hours
they volunteered, their education level, gender, age, and ethnic background.
Figure 1 gives an overview of the respondents per case.
The research team also observed volunteers and paid staff during their
daily activities, to find out more about the division of tasks and responsi-
bilities. Moreover, researchers attended staff meetings, including a meeting
of volunteer coordinators of the selected long-term care organization. In
addition, relevant documents collected during the fieldwork—including
volunteer “contracts” and job descriptions of volunteer coordinators—were
The project team coded the interviews and observations, using Atlas.ti. In
total, more than 300 codes were included, covering a wide range of themes.
The present analysis focuses on codes that provide information on profes-
sionalization. We analyzed the data by looking at how actors talked about
what it means to be a professional in general and more specifically profes-
sional competencies and professional behavior (cf. Watson, 2002). This talk
could relate to their own professionalism as well as that of others. We also
Figure 1. Respondents per case.
10 Administration & Society 00(0)
investigated how “professional talk” (Oldenhof, Postma, & Bal, 2016;
Watson, 2002) materialized in behavioral norms, codes, standards, and con-
tracts. We re-read and re-coded the interviews with and observation of volun-
teer coordinators, as changes in their roles were not previously analyzed.
Based on our analysis, we found various types of institutional work per-
formed by different actors in pursuing three different—but interrelated—pro-
fessionalization strategies. We also found various forms of resistance within
and tensions between strategies. Although our analysis showed that the
selected cases have their own specifics, we found similar professionalization
strategies across them. We therefore organize our findings based on relevant
themes, instead of on separate cases. However, we do address important dif-
ferences between the domains of long-term care and social work.
Figure 2 depicts the links between the themes, codes, and theoretical
Professionalization Strategies and Institutional
We describe three interrelated professionalization strategies and pay attention
to the institutional work that actors carry out in pursuing these strategies.
Although we draw an analytical distinction between professionalization strat-
egies, in practice, actors respond to one another’s efforts, and therefore, one
strategy cannot be fully understood without considering the others (Figure 3).
Figure 2. Data structure.
van Bochove and Oldenhof 11
Classic Professionalization of Volunteer Coordinators
In response to policies that increase volunteer responsibilization, volunteer
coordinators—paid workers who coordinate voluntary work within organiza-
tions—have become more important in the field of social care. Volunteer
coordinators actively professionalize their occupation through a “classic”
professionalization strategy that involves building associations, setting up
educational programs, and establishing work codes (cf. Noordegraaf &
Schinkel, 2011). We will discuss the classic professionalization efforts of vol-
unteer coordinators based on three forms of institutional work: defining, edu-
cating, and routinizing and embedding.
Defining a “professional” volunteer coordinator. Individual volunteer coordina-
tors and their collectives determine boundaries of membership and establish
status hierarchies within their field. By discursively drawing boundaries
between “professional” volunteer coordinators that possess certain strategic
skills and volunteer coordinators that lack those skills, volunteer coordinators
play a central role in defining membership on a day-to-day basis. Moreover,
the Dutch association of volunteer coordinators (AGORA) further enhances
status hierarchies by drawing a distinction between volunteer coordinators
who perform simpler “operational” or “facilitating tasks,” and volunteer
coordinators who perform more complex “policy tasks”:
Although the work of some coordinators still purely consists of operational
tasks, a clear progression is visible to a more policy-oriented interpretation of
the occupation. There are increasingly more organizations in which volunteer
coordinators are only occupied with policy tasks, and not or barely with
operational tasks. (AGORA, 2014, p. 33)
Figure 3. Three interrelated professionalization strategies.
12 Administration & Society 00(0)
To further define membership boundaries, AGORA (2014) created an occupa-
tional profile that distinguishes “occupational competences,” of which the
first is “professionalism,” defined as “the degree to which one possesses sub-
stantive technical knowledge, expertise and skills, which are needed to be able
to properly carry out the position of volunteer coordinator” (p. 33). Other
competences include collaboration, customer-centeredness, and integrity,
defined as “dealing with personal information in line with ethical norms and
values, both in language and in behavior, also under difficult circumstances”
(AGORA, 2014, p. 33). By defining what a professional volunteer coordinator
does (i.e., performing policy tasks) and how he or she does this (based on
knowledge and integrity), individual and collective actors (re)shape “the insti-
tutional structures within which they . . . work” (Lawrence et al., 2011, p. 53).
Educating volunteer coordinators. New roles require education in how to per-
form them. In accordance with AGORA’s main aim of contributing to the
professionalization of the position of the volunteer coordinator, they also
offer educational training. Together with a university of applied sciences,
AGORA developed the post-bachelor training “Innovative Volunteer Man-
agement,” which has a study load of 420 hr and is completed with a certifi-
cate (Hogeschool Utrecht, 2017). The applications always exceed the
maximum, so the university plans to increase the capacity. According to the
program coordinator, the reasons why people want to enroll have changed in
the past few years: from wanting to master good matchmaking to wanting to
learn more about positioning themselves and others within the organization
(personal communication). In response to these changes, the curriculum now
focuses more on educating the professional, that is, policy-oriented, volun-
Next to this type of “formal, senior level institutional entrepreneurship,”
educating also takes place as “informal, street-level institutional work”
(McCann et al., 2013, p. 772). By organizing regular meetings with peers,
volunteer coordinators discuss their work in terms of increasing volunteer
commitment and improving teamwork in care delivery. These meetings not
only offer an opportunity for sharing work experiences but also have an edu-
cational purpose to enhance informal learning.
Embedding and routinizing the work of volunteer coordinators. Volunteer coordi-
nators try to embed the notion of professional volunteer coordinating into
their own and other actors’ day-to-day routines and organizational practices
by standardizing work methods. For example, a volunteer coordinator of an
organization that runs several day care activity centers took the initiative to
develop a coherent volunteer policy, to end the situation in which all
van Bochove and Oldenhof 13
locations “did what they thought was right.” She said to them, “This is how
we are going to do it from now.” Efforts to embed their practices more firmly
in the organization seem successful as managers increasingly recognize the
importance of having volunteer coordinators represented at the policy level.
Proto-Professionalization of Volunteers
In addition to “classic” professionalization of their own occupation, volun-
teer coordinators are involved in proto-professionalizing volunteers. They
do not try to turn volunteers into “real” or “classic” professionals, but into
“professional-like” volunteers—“professionals in nuce” (De Swaan, 1988,
p. 245)—who possess a simplified version of professional status and skills.
The occupational profile for volunteer coordinators states that it is the
“coordinator’s responsibility to stimulate and maintain the abilities and
knowledge of volunteers” to “improve and guarantee the quality of volun-
tary work and contribute to its professionalization” (AGORA, 2014, p. 37).
The forms of institutional work volunteer coordinators carry out to proto-
professionalize volunteers are similar to those aimed at classic profession-
alization of their own occupation: defining, educating, and embedding and
Defining a “professional-like” volunteer. Volunteer coordinators urge actors in
their organizations to stop talking about “professionals and volunteers” as
this creates a false dichotomy. They prefer more neutral terms, such as “paid
and unpaid workers,” as volunteers can also be “professional” in terms of
work behavior and educational background. The adjective “professional” is
generally reserved for volunteers who have a higher education level, have
work experience in the social care sector, and possess additional qualities that
are valued (Van Bochove et al., 2018). In a policy document, one of the social
work organizations defines a “voluntary professional” as a volunteer that per-
forms types of voluntary work (such as administrative tasks or mediating in
conflicts) that require “specific expertise” which can be acquired through
training offered by the organization.
Educating volunteers. Across organizations, simplified training programs for
volunteers are increasingly common and formalized. Training enables volun-
teers in performing their daily tasks and in communicating with social care
practitioners and clients or visitors. Moreover, volunteer coordinators
describe such training as a nonfinancial reward for volunteers. Volunteers
who appreciate the training they received mention the practical value it had
for carrying out their current volunteer tasks. Some also refer to their aim of
14 Administration & Society 00(0)
becoming a paid social care practitioner in the future and see receiving train-
ing as an important step in that direction.
Embedding and routinizing the work of volunteers. In addition to the simplified
version of occupational training, other simplified versions of HR policies
embed the work of volunteers in the organization:
[Name organization] finds volunteers extremely important. We see them as
unpaid employees. That is why our human resources policy for volunteers is a
derivative of the policy that applies to our paid workers. So, recruitment and
selection, satisfaction, reimbursement of expense, code of conduct, VOG
[certificate of conduct], turnover, guidance to a new position: Everything we
got for the paid workers, we also got for the unpaid ones. (Field notes,
stakeholder meeting social work organization)
Furthermore, the routinization of voluntary work becomes manifest in the
increased use of “proto-contracts” that allow for a more formalized position
of volunteers within the organization. An illustration of a proto-contract is a
“volunteer agreement” that records when volunteers start, what their tasks
entail, and on which location they will work. Moreover, volunteer agree-
ments encompass an “acquaintance period,” in which both the volunteer and
the involved care practitioner can break the agreement with immediate effect.
At the end of the acquaintance period, both parties discuss mutual experi-
ences and can either continue or end the agreement in consultation with the
volunteer coordinator. Although the agreement resembles a formal contract,
it is “not a labor contract in the sense of the Dutch Civil Law” and “not
employment in the sense of the Illness Benefit Act” (volunteer agreement,
long-term care organization). Hence, proto-contracts for volunteers enable
simplified forms of professionalism that bring along duties without the attain-
ment of a legally secured position.
Advanced Professionalization of Social Care Practitioners
Now that volunteers take over some of their tasks and responsibilities, social
care practitioners have to reinvent their own role. Although many practitio-
ners feel insecure about their position and refer to former colleagues who
already lost their jobs, they also see opportunities to resist de-professionaliza-
tion. Especially higher educated social care practitioners mention advantages
that volunteer responsibilization has for their own position and adopt a strat-
egy of “advanced professionalization.” These practitioners argue that their
occupation now requires even more professional skills than before. Compared
van Bochove and Oldenhof 15
with the professionalization strategies discussed earlier, this strategy is the
most informal, bottom-up and individual. So far, aiming for an advanced pro-
fessional status involves discursively defining the borders between “advanced
professionals” and lower skilled workers and volunteers.
Defining the “advanced” social care professional. With the presence of proto-
professional volunteers, social care practitioners can delegate certain routine
tasks, which gives them the opportunity to focus on more complex care,
coaching, or administrative tasks. According to a volunteer coordinator, ini-
tially, paid care workers are often afraid of replacement by unpaid workers,
but they gradually see the benefits for their own position:
They then start to think: “The more volunteers, the more time I have for
specialized care. If a volunteer plays a game or talks with clients, then I am
more confident to perform difficult tasks, or I have more time for bathing
clients.” They know that the other clients are in good hands with the volunteers.
(Volunteer coordinator, long-term care organization)
Care workers “advance” their professionalism in different directions. Nurses
in elderly care have more time to focus on medication safety and care practi-
tioners in day care activity centers can focus on administrative tasks. As one
of the latter says, “Like now, with this beauty salon day [carried out by vol-
unteers], I can perfectly sit in a corner and prepare the agenda, or write a
report.” In neighborhood centers and children’s playgrounds, responsibiliza-
tion of volunteers allows for the development of a coaching role for social
workers. Being a coach in a diverse network of stakeholders asks for new
skills to motivate, activate, and provide on-the-job training for volunteers,
rather than to organize events. For these social workers, being responsible for
steering volunteers in neighborhood centers or playgrounds is something that
contributes to an advanced professional identity. A social worker says that
while some of her colleagues preferred the situation as it was (when paid
workers could still organize activities themselves), she actually thinks this
new way of working has made her job more challenging and interesting.
What I like about it is that you have to be creative. I honestly find it interesting
to take up that challenge with all these people [volunteers]. . . . They [the
organization] expect more from you. . . It requires more strategy. You have to
think: “How will I get there?” Then you turn to the network. You have to think
it through. Before, I spent my time on activities and keeping the atmosphere
nice, and that’s still part of what I do, but now I have to arrange much more.
(Social worker, playground)
16 Administration & Society 00(0)
The definition of the “advanced social care professional” is not as clear-cut as
the “classic professional volunteer coordinator” or the “proto-professional
volunteer.” It requires continuous discursive effort of social care practitioners
to convince others and themselves that the increase of volunteer responsibili-
ties does not mean their own occupations are de-professionalized. Advanced
professionalization can be aided by education and training, although this is
mostly shaped in an ad hoc and temporary fashion. Consequently, routiniza-
tion currently is diffuse at best.
Relational Dynamics Within and Between
Legitimacy of the three professionalization strategies is fragile and under
continuous construction. Tensions exist both within groups of actors that are
the subject of a particular strategy and between different professionalization
strategies. If subjects of professionalization perceive the strategy as adopted
“from above” rather than “from within” (Evetts, 2003), they tend to resist it.
Such internal resistance not only affects separate strategies but also the rela-
tions between groups and strategies. Below, we show how the different strat-
egies are intertwined and interdependent.
Internal Resistance of Those Who Have Something to Lose
The groups of volunteer coordinators, volunteers, and social care practitio-
ners do not unanimously agree that the professionalization strategy they are
subject to is beneficial for their personal position. In the discussion of the
institutional work that the strategies involve, we paid attention to the effort
that individual and collective actors put in pursuing a specific type of profes-
sionalization strategy. Here, we focus on those who are afraid that they will
become victims of its success.
Resistance of volunteer coordinators to their classic professionalization. Although
the need for professionalization is widely shared, not all volunteer coordina-
tors agree with the “classic” way in which this is currently done. Some vol-
unteer coordinators criticize the formalization of their occupational profile,
as they oppose the disciplinary effects this has. There is a tension between
“formal, senior level institutional entrepreneurship” and “informal, street-
level institutional work” (McCann et al., 2013, p. 772). On one hand, AGORA
and other collectives of volunteer coordinators try to standardize the tasks
and work codes of the profession, making it more similar within and across
van Bochove and Oldenhof 17
organizations, while on the other hand, various individual volunteer coordi-
nators see it as the core of their profession to remain autonomous and to make
their own judgments.
Resistance of volunteers to their proto-professionalization. Of the three discussed
strategies, the proto-professionalization of volunteers occurs in the most top-
down way. Even though some volunteers embrace it—for instance, because
they would like to become a paid professional one day—not all volunteers
want to be “professionalized” and resist being defined, and particularly being
educated, as such. Some volunteers refuse to attend training sessions or indi-
cate that they do not desire training:
Oh no, I don’t need that. No, because here, I can totally be myself. That is what
I find important. And they [the clients] like that as well, I think: That they just
see that you are being you. So no training please. (Volunteer, day-care activity
Like many other volunteers, this respondent draws a clear distinction between
volunteers and paid professionals: The value of volunteers lies in the fact that
they are not professionals.
According to various volunteer coordinators and social care practitioners,
it is not so much that volunteers do not want to follow courses; they just do
not have the capacities to become proto-professionalized. For instance, they
refer to people who have limited reading and writing skills and/or have mild
intellectual disabilities. Despite these objections, we note that requirements
for volunteers become stricter across organizations, including mandatory
courses, even if this means that “people will drop out,” as a volunteer coordi-
nator put it.
Resistance of social care practitioners to their advanced professionalization. Social
care practitioners who claim their profession was upgraded instead of
degraded seem optimistic about the future: Their work has become more
complex, and therefore, the risk of becoming redundant is reduced. However,
not all social care practitioners share this optimism. Some of them find it hard
to accept that their occupation has changed and that volunteers have taken
over tasks that they used to enjoy. This is particularly the case among practi-
tioners who were earlier responsible for organizing activities, and who are
now mainly involved in guiding volunteers to take over, such as social work-
ers and activity coordinators. An activity coordinator in a day care activity
center saw her occupation change over the years and regrets that volunteers
18 Administration & Society 00(0)
took over some client-centered parts of her work, while she has to do the sup-
posedly more “difficult” administrative tasks. She says,
When they [volunteers] would really take over all group activities, I would be
devastated. I do not only want to write care plans. I chose this job to interact
with clients, not to sit in my office all day.
Instead of advanced professionalization, some practitioners experience the
new distribution of tasks and responsibilities as the “hollowing out” of their
occupation (cf. Baines & Cunningham, 2015; Milward & Provan, 2000).
Having to hand over certain tasks and responsibilities to volunteers is one
thing; losing one’s paid job because volunteers completely take over is
another. Various social care practitioners—particularly those with lower edu-
cation levels—fear that proto-professional volunteers will eventually replace
them. A practitioner in a day care activity center says,
When more is expected from volunteers, they will first have to be educated in
how to deal with clients. . . . You will have to hire trained volunteers. But then,
we [paid workers] will be sent home, that’s what I think.
In sum, our findings show that actors who fear that they will lose an appreci-
ated part of their (paid or unpaid) job and who perceive professionalization as
“from above” rather than “from within” resist the strategy they are subjected
to. Volunteer coordinators fear to lose their autonomy, volunteers their dis-
tinct volunteer identity, and social care practitioners their interaction with
clients, or their jobs altogether. In the next section, we discuss what this inter-
nal resistance means for the dynamics between the strategies and how the
strategies depend on their mutual success.
Interdependencies Between the Strategies
We observed three ways in which different types of actors influence one
Disregarded volunteer coordinators. We found cases in which social care prac-
titioners disregard or reject the professional expertise of volunteer coordina-
tors. Some social care practitioners decide to hire volunteers themselves and
by-pass the volunteer coordinator entirely:
Sometimes it turns out that a location for instance has four more volunteers, of
whom I think “never heard of,” and they have worked there for half a year. . . .
van Bochove and Oldenhof 19
Then I want to meet them, I want to know more about them, and they need to
get a contract, otherwise they won’t be insured or reimbursed. (Volunteer
coordinator, long-term care organization)
This shows that the “professional volunteer coordinator” is not (yet) taken for
granted by all social care practitioners, of whom some engage in workaround
behavior. This not only challenges the professional status of volunteer coor-
dinators (who claim to have distinct expertise in selecting suitable volun-
teers) but also the proto-professional status of volunteers, who are not
registered, do not receive training, and do not get a “contract” as long as the
volunteer coordinator does not know about their existence.
The continued presence of “unprofessional” volunteers. We also found cases in
which volunteer coordinators do not succeed in selecting (potentially) proto-
professional volunteers, leading to discontent among social care practitioners
who seek to advance their professional status by delegating certain tasks to
volunteers. Despite the dominant call for professional-like quality, many vol-
unteer coordinators find it difficult to refuse or “fire” a volunteer when he or
she proves “unprofessional”:
We have a voluntary treasurer, who doesn’t have the capacities for that type of
work. She is not able to do it by herself. . . . It really is a mess right now. She
was not there this morning because she felt ill. Her father came in and told me:
“The work is so important for her, she likes it so much; she feels she makes a
difference.” Then it is really difficult to tell him that you actually do not want
to work with her anymore. (Volunteer coordinator, day care activity center)
Volunteers who are more like “clients” than “professionals” are often seen as
a burden (cf. Verhoeven & van Bochove, 2018). When volunteer coordina-
tors do not succeed in selecting (potentially) proto-professional volunteers,
social care practitioners question their image of specialists on successful vol-
unteer placement—and with that, their status as professionals.
Social care practitioners who refuse to delegate. We already mentioned that some
social care practitioners reject the ideal of advanced professionalization and
prefer to keep their job largely as it is, including regular client contact and
social activities. This not only affects the advanced professionalization strat-
egy other social care practitioners pursue but also the proto-professionaliza-
tion of volunteers and the attitudes and practices of volunteer coordinators.
Some volunteers feel that social care practitioners do not completely trust
them. A volunteer who works at the information desk in a neighborhood
20 Administration & Society 00(0)
center, for instance, recalled a situation in which a paid practitioner suddenly
took over when she was helping a visitor. Afterward, she said to the practitio-
ner, “I want to handle it myself. If I have any questions, I will ask you, but
otherwise, I think I should get the space to solve problems myself.” In other
locations, it is not so much the problem that volunteers are not recognized as
proto-professionals, but rather that their presence is disregarded altogether.
Some locations are just not interested in working with volunteers, or when
they are, the care practitioners do not provide them with any guidance and
sometimes even neglect them entirely. In response, coordinators no longer
send volunteers to such hostile or indifferent locations.
In this section, we have shown that the professionalization strategies are
contested and interdependent. Particularly when they are perceived as
adopted “from above,” they meet with resistance, such as in the case of proto-
professionalization of volunteers. To what extent the strategies are successful
not only depends on such internal struggles but also on the success of the
other strategies: If volunteer coordinators fail to proto-professionalize volun-
teers, the professional status of volunteer coordinators themselves is ques-
tioned, and social care practitioners—who will not be able to delegate a
variety of tasks to volunteers—cannot claim “advanced” professional status.
Conclusion and Discussion
Based on a large-scale qualitative research in multiple organizations in care
and social work, we found three main professionalization strategies: “classic”
professionalization of volunteer coordinators, “proto-professionalization” of
volunteers, and “advanced” professionalization of social care practitioners.
These strategies demonstrate that changing welfare policies do not necessar-
ily lead to de-professionalization on a grand scale as is often claimed by crit-
ics. Rather, the use of trained volunteers as “proto-professionals” coincides
with the professionalization of other actors. Because of the presence of vol-
unteers, social care practitioners have more time to carry out complex care,
coaching, or administrative tasks. The development of specialized and orga-
nizational roles thus allows social care practitioners to reposition and legiti-
mize their existence in a changing organizational field. In the relationship
between volunteers and practitioners, paid volunteer coordinators are key
actors who mediate between supply and demand of volunteers. By imitating
“classic” professionalization strategies (e.g., the development of formalized
job requirements, codes, and educational credentials), volunteer coordinators
acquire a distinct position in the organization.
Our results show how established and new actors in social care respond to,
but also actively create, changes in their organizational field. Our study has
van Bochove and Oldenhof 21
three specific contributions to existing literature. First, our research adds to
institutional theory and the sociology of professions by focusing on the
underresearched role of nonelite actors in conducting institutional work
(Coule & Patmore, 2013; Lawrence et al., 2011). Other than elite profession-
als such as managers or doctors, the groups studied in this research are the
unlikely suspects in bringing about institutional change. Although changing
welfare policies affect the practices of social care practitioners, volunteers,
and volunteer coordinators, we found that these actors themselves actively
pursue (or resist) particular professionalization strategies. They use various
types of institutional work—defining new roles, educating actors to fulfill
these roles, and embedding them in daily practices—with the aim of profes-
sionalizing themselves and/or others.
Second, our findings demonstrate the relational dynamics of professional-
ization strategies and institutional work. These nonelite actors are embedded
professionals: They “work in-between various groups and actors that make
up the organization and its environment” (Noordegraaf et al., 2014, p. 24).
We found that there are ambiguities within and dependencies between their
strategies and that the pace and direction of change depend on the accumula-
tion of the efforts of the actors involved. With this, our study responded to the
call for a focus on “distributed agency” to show how “the accumulation of . .
. contributions leads to a path of institutional change or stability” (Lawrence
et al., 2011, pp. 55-56). Local embeddedness and distributed agency make it
problematic to draw general conclusions about processes of re-/de- or proto-
professionalization in social care. Our findings suggest that professionaliza-
tion is not a zero-sum game, that is, more professionalization of the one does
not necessarily lead to less professionalization of the other. Both within and
between groups of actors, different qualitative understandings of profession-
alization coincide. Some actors strive for professionalization “from above,”
others “from within,” and again others do not want to be professionalized at
all. A focus on these qualitative aspects of professionalization, rather than
quantitative issues such as “who gains most,” allowed us to identify the inter-
connections between the different strategies and the changes that seemingly
low-power groups can bring about.
Our third contribution goes one step further by demonstrating the outcomes
of institutional work (a) within social care organizations and (b) in the field of
public service provision at large (i.e., field-level change). Although we agree
with Lawrence et al. (2011) that an institutional work perspective as adopted
in this study is more focused on practices and processes than on outcomes, an
important question remains: What does this all mean for how social care is
organized in a changing welfare state? We argue that the practices and pro-
cesses we have described have real consequences, albeit ambiguous ones.
22 Administration & Society 00(0)
Within organizations, institutional work leads to intra-group stratifica-
tion, that is, status differences within social groups. For instance, within the
group of volunteers, there are emerging differences between “winners” and
“losers.” “Winning” volunteers seem to embrace professionalization strate-
gies, thereby advancing their position within public service organizations,
whereas “losing” volunteers are often unable to meet professional require-
ments because of limited capacities, and risk exclusion from doing meaning-
ful volunteer work (cf. Verhoeven & van Bochove, 2018). Similarly, social
workers who are capable to perform their new role of coaching volunteers
and arranging networks of active citizens, and who perceive this as a step
forward, gain from the organizational changes, while those who are not able
to specialize or who experience the changes as the “hollowing out” of their
occupation lose out.
With regard to field-level change, we see emerging forms of inter-
organizational stratification, that is, status differences between public
service organizations. When public service organizations are successful
in using the relational synergy between different professionalization strat-
egies, they are labeled as frontrunners that positively contribute to the
transition from welfare state to enabling state. Oppositely, public service
organizations that struggle with combining professionalization strategies
in productive ways and view professionalization as a win/lose game are
viewed as lagging behind. Consequently, the organizational field of pub-
lic service organizations becomes increasingly diversified, not only in
terms of the actors involved but also in terms of the outcomes of institu-
tional work across organizations.
A final question that deserves our attention is “What do success and failure
of interrelated professionalization strategies mean for the quality of public
service provision?” Based on our findings, we expect that both organizations
labeled as “laggards” and “frontrunners” are likely to face problems in meet-
ing their mission of providing high-quality social care services. Lagging
organizations have to deal with the fact that austerity measures on social care
have already been taken and lower-educated workers have lost their jobs
(Van Bochove et al., 2018). Without volunteers filling those gaps, the work-
load of paid workers increases and certain services are no longer provided.
Front-running organizations at first glance seem more capable of preserving
service quality. In these organizations, professionalized volunteers take over
certain tasks so that valuable services are still provided and paid workers are
not overloaded. However, this “outsourcing” of services to unpaid workers can
have several adverse implications as well, which resemble the consequences of
the “hollowing out” of state functions that are addressed in public administra-
tion literature (e.g., Milward & Provan, 2000; Terry, 2005). According to
van Bochove and Oldenhof 23
Milward and Provan (2000), in governing the “hollow state,” positive out-
comes for clients are more likely when responsibility is clear; available
resources are consistent with the difficulty of provided tasks; and the network
of actors involved is generally stable. The findings of our study suggest that in
“hollow social care organizations”—that is, organizations that have handed
over lower level work to volunteers—these conditions are not always met.
In many social care organizations, the responsibilities of volunteers are
ambiguous. On the one hand, they are treated as unpaid employees, including
“proto-contracts,” but on the other hand, they cannot be held accountable in
the same manner as paid staff. Furthermore, a lack of resources is often one
of the reasons for volunteer responsibilization. This is unfortunate, as volun-
tary work should not be considered as a cheap replacement of paid work.
Working with volunteers requires structural—material and immaterial—
investments. Finally, social care organizations are not quite characterized by
stability: Alongside the shift toward more volunteer responsibilities, tradi-
tional paid jobs have disappeared and new ones have arisen. The actors
involved need time to adjust to their new roles, but time is a scarce resource
in front-running organizations. Further research is needed to find out how
these and other conditions shape the quality of services in hollowed-out
social care organizations.
We conclude with a recommendation for practice. Nowadays, doing more
with volunteers has become a mantra (Eliasoph, 2011), but volunteer policies
should be part of an integrated coherent vision of what organizations want to
offer and why. Organizations should consider professionalization of volun-
teers in close relation to (de-)professionalization of other occupational
domains. Moreover, they should consider carefully whether professionaliza-
tion of volunteers is always desirable. In the case of a highly educated volun-
teer population, this may be a fruitful strategy. However, in the daily reality
of public service organizations, many volunteers are vulnerable and risk
being overburdened with “professional” responsibilities.
The authors would like to thank the two anonymous reviewers and the journal editor
for their constructive comments and suggestions. In addition, the authors thank the
members of the Health Care Governance department of ESHPM (with special thanks
to Hester van de Bovenkamp) and participants of the EGPA Annual Conference 2016
and the 3rd ISA Forum of Sociology for their helpful comments on earlier drafts.
Declaration of Conflicting Interests
The author(s) declared no potential conflicts of interest with respect to the research,
authorship, and/or publication of this article.
24 Administration & Society 00(0)
The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research,
authorship, and/or publication of this article: This study was supported by grants from
the knowledge institute for cities Platform31; the University of Amsterdam; the
Active Citizenship Foundation (Stichting Actief Burgerschap); the municipalities of
Amsterdam, The Hague, Utrecht, and Zaanstad; the Ministry of the Interior and
Kingdom Relations; the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport; housing corporations
Eigen Haard and Ymere; and care organization Cordaan. Together, these partners
formed the “Can’t We Leave That to the Volunteers?” Research Consortium.
Marianne van Bochove https://orcid.org/0000-0001-8476-5964
AGORA. (2014). 25 jaar midden op het plein [25 years in the center of the square].
Culemborg, The Netherlands: Landelijke Beroepsvereniging Vrijwilligerswerk.
Bach, S., Kessler, I., & Heron, P. (2007). The consequences of assistant roles in the
public services: Degradation or empowerment? Human Relations, 60, 1267-1292.
Baines, D., & Cunningham, I. (2015). Care work in the context of austerity.
Competition & Change, 19, 183-193.
Bucher, S. V., Chreim, S., Langley, A., & Reay, T. (2016). Contestation about col-
laboration: Discursive boundary work among professions. Organization Studies,
Cloutier, C., Denis, J. L., Langley, A., & Lamothe, L. (2016). Agency at the man-
agerial interface: Public sector reform as institutional work. Journal of Public
Administration Research and Theory, 26, 259-276.
Coule, T., & Patmore, B. (2013). Institutional logics, institutional work, and public service
innovation in non-profit organizations. Public Administration, 91, 980-997.
Currie, G., Locket, A., Finn, R., Martin, G., & Waring, J. (2012). Institutional work to
maintain professional power: Recreating the model of medical professionalism.
Organization Studies, 33, 937-962.
Dent, M. (2006). Patient choice and medicine in health care: Responsibilization, gov-
ernance and proto-professionalization. Public Management Review, 8, 449-462.
De Swaan, A. (1988). In care of the state: Health care, education and welfare in
Europe and the USA in the modern era. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
Duyvendak, J. W., Knijn, T., & Kremer, M. (Eds.). (2006). Policy, people, and the
new professional. Amsterdam, The Netherlands: Amsterdam University Press.
Eliasoph, N. (2011). Making volunteers: Civic life after welfare’s end. Princeton, NJ:
Princeton University Press.
Evetts, J. (2003). The construction of professionalism in new and existing occupa-
tional contexts: Promoting and facilitating occupational change. International
Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, 23(4), 22-35.
van Bochove and Oldenhof 25
Evetts, J. (2009). New professionalism and new public management: Changes, conti-
nuities and consequences. Comparative Sociology, 8, 247-266.
Evetts, J. (2011). A new professionalism? Challenges and opportunities. Current
Sociology, 59, 406-422.
Fournier, V. (1999). The appeal to “professionalism” as a disciplinary mechanism.
Social Review, 47, 280-307.
Fournier, V. (2000). Boundary work and the (un)making of the professions. In N.
Malin (Ed.), Professionalism, boundaries and the workplace (pp. 67-86).
London, England: Routledge.
Grootegoed, E. M. (2013). Dignity of dependence: Welfare state reform and the strug-
gle for respect (Doctoral thesis). University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
Heite, C. (2012). Setting and crossing boundaries: Professionalization of social work
and social work professionalism. Social Work & Society, 10(2), 1-14.
Hodgson, D. (2005). “Putting on a professional performance”: Performativity, sub-
version and project management. Organization, 12, 51-68.
Hogeschool Utrecht. (2017). Innovatief Vrijwilligersmanagement [Innovative volun-
teer Management]. Retrieved from https://www.werkenstudie.hu.nl/TotaalAanbod/
Larson, M. F. (1977). The rise of professionalism: A sociological analysis. Berkeley
and Los Angeles: University of California Press.
Lawrence, T. B., & Suddaby, R. (2006). Institutions and institutional work. In S. R.
Clegg, C. Hardy, T. B. Lawrence, & W. R. Nord (Eds.), Sage handbook of orga-
nization studies (2 ed., pp. 215-254). London: Sage.
Lawrence, T., Suddaby, R., & Leca, B. (2011). Institutional work: Refocusing insti-
tutional studies of organization. Journal of Management Inquiry, 20(1), 52-58.
Liljegren, A., Höjer, S., & Forkby, T. (2014). Laypersons, professions, and gov-
ernance in the welfare state: The Swedish child protection system. Journal of
Professions and Organization, 1, 161-175.
McCann, L., Granter, E., Hyde, P., & Hassard, J. (2013). Still blue-collar after all
these years? An ethnography of the professionalization of emergency ambulance
work. Journal of Management Studies, 50, 750-776.
Millward, L. (2005). Just because we are amateurs doesn’t mean we aren’t pro-
fessional: The Importance of expert activists in tenant participation. Public
Administration, 83, 735-751.
Milward, H. B., & Provan, K. G. (2000). Governing the hollow state. Journal of
Public Administration Research and Theory, 10, 359-379.
Newman, J., & Clarke, J. (2009). Publics, politics and power: Remaking the public in
public services. Los Angeles, CA: SAGE.
Newman, J., & Tonkens, E. (2011). Participation, responsibility and choice:
Summoning the active citizen in western European welfare states. Amsterdam,
The Netherlands: Amsterdam University Press.
Noordegraaf, M. (2016). Reconfiguring professional work: Changing forms of pro-
fessionalism in public services. Administration & Society, 48, 783-810.
26 Administration & Society 00(0)
Noordegraaf, M., & Schinkel, W. (2011). Professional capital contested: A
Bourdieusian analysis of conflicts between professionals and managers.
Comparative Sociology, 10, 97-125.
Noordegraaf, M., van der Steen, M., & van Twist, M. (2014). Fragmented or connec-
tive professionalism? Strategies for professionalizing the work of strategists and
other (organizational) professionals. Public Administration, 92, 21-38.
Ockenden, N., Hill, M., & Stuart, J. (2012). The big society and volunteering ambi-
tions and expectations. In A. Ishkanian & S. Szreter (Eds.), The big society debate:
A new agenda for social policy? (pp. 149-157). Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar
Oldenhof, L., Postma, J., & Bal, R. (2016). Re-placing care governing care through
spatial arrangements. In E. Ferlie, K. Montgomery, & A. R. Pedersen (Eds.),
Oxford handbook of health care management (pp. 415-433). Oxford, UK: Oxford
Oldenhof, L., Stoopendaal, A., & Putters, K. (2016). Professional talk: How middle
managers frame care workers as professionals. Health Care Analysis, 24, 47-70.
Overgaard, C. (2015). The boundaries of care work: A comparative study of profes-
sionals and volunteers in Denmark and Australia. Health and Social Care in the
Community, 23, 380-388.
Scott, W. R. (2008). Lords of the dance: Professionals as institutional agents.
Organisation Studies, 29, 219-238.
Simmons, R. (2016). Improvement and public service relationships: Cultural theory
and institutional work. Public Administration, 94, 933-952.
Skipr. (2014). Vrijwilligers vervangen betaalde krachten in de zorg [Volunteers
replace paid workers in healthcare]. Retrieved from https://www.skipr.nl/
Suddaby, R., & Viale, T. (2011). Professionals and field-level change: Institutional
work and the professional project. Current Sociology, 59, 423-442.
Terry, L. D. (2005). The thinning of administrative institutions in the hollow state.
Administration & Society, 37, 426-444.
Thomas, P., & Hewitt, J. (2011). Managerial organization and professional autonomy:
A discourse-based conceptualization. Organization Studies, 32, 1373-1393.
Van Bochove, M., Tonkens, E., Verplanke, L., & Roggeveen, S. (2018). Reconstructing
the professional domain: Boundary work of professionals and volunteers in the
context of social service reform. Current Sociology, 66, 392-411.
Verhoeven, I., & van Bochove, M. (2018, 5th April). Moving away, toward, and
against: How front-line workers cope with substitution by volunteers in Dutch
care and welfare services. Journal of Social Policy. Advance online publication.
Watson, T. (2002). Professions and professionalism: Should we jump off the band-
wagon, better to study where it is going? International Studies of Management &
Organization, 32, 93-105.
van Bochove and Oldenhof 27
Marianne van Bochove is assistant professor of Health Care Governance at Erasmus
School of Health Policy & Management at the Erasmus University Rotterdam, the
Netherlands. Her research and teaching interests and experience include health care
policy reform, (de-)professionalization, migrant care work, and urban citizenship.
Across these fields, she is particularly interested in how boundaries between different
groups are constructed and how identities are formed and changed.
Lieke Oldenhof is assistant professor of Health Care Governance at Erasmus School
of Health Policy & Management at the Erasmus University Rotterdam, the
Netherlands. Her research interests include the mundane activities of managers and
professionals in the public sector, the role of language, and discursive practices. She
uses qualitative methods, including shadowing and in-depth interviews.