The Contingent Legitimacy of Professional-Managerial Hybrids: Towards a Relational Sociology of Hybridisation

Wednesday, July 16, 2014: 5:36 PM
Room: 414
Oral Presentation
Justin WARING , Business School, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, United Kingdom
Despite increased interest in professional-managerial hybrids, the unit of analysis for most research remains on the hybrids themselves, i.e. practices, interests and identities, or the processes of hybridisation, i.e. moving into the role. There is limited consideration to the experiences or influences of other professional or managerial actors with whom these hybrids must relate and achieve a sense of legitimacy.  This highlights a relatively neglected aspect of professional-managerial hybrids and requires a shift in analysis from the hybrid to the wider constellation of relationships and stakeholders. Drawing on theories within relational sociology, especially the work of Bourdieu and Crossley, the paper examines the relational ties of 36 medical-managerial hybrids working in different areas of service organisation, including executive management, clinical leadership and clinical governance. Each of these hybrids exhibits different relational networks and points of ‘professional-organisational intersection’, which are drawn up, developed or dissolved when taking up and seeking to legitimise their new hybrid roles. It examines the responses of co-workers, from both medical and managerial communities, to these new hybrid roles, where co-workers are often found to question hybrids in terms of their expertise, inter-occupational relations, strategic alignment, and reputation with colleagues. The study shows how hybrid medical-managerial roles are contingent upon the relationships and sanctioning power of both other doctors and managers, and in fulfilling their hybrids roles and this involves drawing upon different forms of social, symbolic, cultural and, increasingly, economic capital. The paper concludes by calling for greater attention to the relational dimensions of professional work in organisational contexts and the relevance of Bourdieusian social theory within the sociology of professions.