How Do State Reforms Lead to Cooperation Between Different Professionals ? Statements about the Food Safety Sector in Switzerland

Sunday, 10 July 2016: 15:05
Location: Hörsaal III (Neues Institutsgebäude (NIG))
Oral Presentation
Muriel SURDEZ, University of Fribourg, Switzerland
How do different public professionals react when they face organizational and managerial restructuring that press them for more collaboration ? This question is particularly interesting because administrative restructuring bring about uncertain results regarding the type of professionalism and the professional balance of power.

Our contribution is based on a ongoing study about the reforms occurring in the food safety sector in Switzerland  in which veterinarians, food engineers and chemical engineers are involved. It intends to discuss the following aspects :

-       The effects of the reforms on professional autonomy, knowledge and working habits of each types of professional bureaucrats depend on the previous collaborative or competitive relationships between the administrative units at different territorial levels. Although these professionals are not front-line professionals, their working habits are not so easy to change because they are linked with the clients they have to cope with or they feel closed to (farmers, food processing industry, broad public).

-       The acceptance of the administrative reforms depends on the previous career patterns of these professional bureaucrats and not only on their future career expectations. Of course, they might consider the reforms either as an opportunity  or as a decline (for themselves, for their organizational unit or for their profession as a whole). But their career path shapes their actual professional view too. In our case study, the three types of professional bureaucrats were not especially trained to become civil servants and a part of them worked for private firms or as self-employed before entering the state administration. We make the hypothese that the reasons that lead them to become professional bureaucrats impact the ways they identify (or not) with the reforms.