Freedom but Insecurity: the Business Consulting Profession in the Post-Industrial Service Society
In the post-industrial era, the service sector has been expanding and professional tasks have been transformed into service-oriented knowledge work, that is, the business consulting profession. The variety of employment patterns has increased with the deregulation of the labor market, and the employment pattern of those professionals working in the service sector has been characterized by short-term assignments and employment contracts. Despite this contingent employment, the position of the business consulting professionals in the labor market is not necessarily degrading, as they are highly-qualified and competent actors, who can deal with the challenges of the business world. Thus, their position and coping strategies relate not only to the precarious employment but also to their professional, independent work. The study deals with the dilemma of insecurity and freedom of business consulting professionals, which is recognized in the Nordic countries. The methodology is qualitative.
Ashforth, B., Kreiner G. & Fugate M. (2000). All in a day'S work: Boundaries and micro role transitions, Academy of Management Review 25(3): 472-491. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.5465/amr.2000.3363315.
Atkinson, W. (2007). Beck, individualization, and the death of class: A critique, The British Journal of Sociology 58(3): 349-366. doi: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-4446.2007.00155.x
Barley, S. R. & Kunda, G. (2004). Gurus, Hired Guns, and Warm Bodies, Princeton NJ: Princeton University Press.
Barley, S. R. & Kunda, G. (2006). Contracting: A new form of professional practice, Academy of Management Perspectives 20: 45–66. doi: https://doi.org/10.5465/amp.2006.19873409
Bieler, A., Lindberg, I. & Sauerborn, W. (2010). After 30 years of deadlock: Labour’s possible strategies in the new global order, Globalizations 7(1–2): 247–260. doi: https://doi.org/10.1080/14747731003593653
Boje, T. (2003). Towards a post-industrial service society, in Furåker, B. (ed.) Post-industrial Labour Markets: Profiles of North America and Scandinavia, London, New York: Taylor and Frances Group, Routledge: 124-146.
Boje, T. & Furåker, B. (2003). Introduction. Labour markets under intensified competition, in Furåker, B. (ed.) Post-industrial Labour Markets: Profiles of North America and Scandinavia, London, New York: Taylor and Frances Group, Routledge: 1-16.
Boje, T. & Grönlund, A. (2003). Flexibility and employment in security, in Furåker, B. (ed.) Post-industrial Labour Markets: Profiles of North America and Scandinavia, London, New York: Taylor and Frances Group, Routledge: 186-212.
Brint, S. (2001). Professionals and the knowledge economy: Rethinking the theory of post-industrial society, Current Sociology 49(4): 101-132. doi: https://doi.org/10.1177/0011392101049004007
Browing, H. & Singelmann, J. (1978). The transformation of the U.S. labor force, Politics and Society 8(3–4): 481–509.
Clark, S. (2000). Work/family border theory: A new theory of work/family balance, Human Relations 53(6): 747-770. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0018726700536001.
Maestripiere, L. (2016). ‘“Professionalization at work: The case of Italian management consultants. Ephemera: Theory & Politics in Organization 16:2, 31-52
Eurofound (2018). Labour market change. Non-standard forms of employment: Recent trends and future prospects. European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions. Eurofound, Dublin. Available at: https://www.eurofound.europa.eu/sites/default/files/ef_publication/field_ef_document/ef1746en.pdf (Accessed August 2019).
Gallagher, D.G. (2008), Independent contracting: finding a balance between flexibility and individual well-being, in Naswell, K., Hellgren, J. and Sverke, M. (Eds), The Individual in the Changing Working Life, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp. 108-125.
Gold, M. and Mustafa, M. (2013), ‘Work always wins’: client colonisation, time management and the anxieties of connected freelancers, New Technology, Work and Employment 28(3): 197-211.
Gorman, E. & Sandefur, R (2011) “Golden Age, “Quiescence, and Revival. How the Sociology of Professions Became the Study of Knowledge-Based Work, Work and Occupations 38 (3): 275-302. doi: https://doi.org/10.1177/0730888411417565
Harvey, D. (2005). A Brief History of Neo-liberalism, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Honkanen, P. (2018). Sosiaaliturva ja verotus joustotyön aikakaudella (Social security and tax systems in the era of flexible labour), in Suoranta, A. & Leinikki, S. (eds.) Rapautuvan palkkatyön yhteiskunta (Crumbling labour society), Tallinn: Vastapaino, 91-119.
Hurl, C. (2017). (Dis)Assembling policy pipelines: unpacking the work of management consultants at public meetings, Geographica Helvetica 72(2): 183-195. doi: http://dx.doi:.org/10.5194/gh-72-183-2017.
Kalleberg, A. & Mouw, T. (2018). Occupations, organizations, and intragenerational career mobility, Annual Review of Sociology 44: 283-303. doi: https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev-soc-073117-041249
Kitay, J. & Wright, C. (2007). From prophets to profits: The occupational rhetoric of MCs, Human Relations 60(11): 1613-1640.
Kouvo, A. & Kankainen, T. (2009) Sosiaalista pääomaa rakentamassa vai purkamassa? Suomalaiset hyvinvointipalvelut ja yleistynyt luottamus. (Building or eroding social capital? Finnish welfare state institutions and generalized trust). Yhteiskuntapolitiikka 74 YHTEISKUNTAPOLITIIKKA 74(6): 585-603.
Lehto, A.-M. & Sutela, H. (2008) Työolojen kolme vuosikymmentä. Työolotutkimusten tuloksia 1977–2008. (Three decades of employment conditions. Research results 1977-2008), Helsinki: Multiprint
Lorey, I. (2015). State of iinsecurity: Government of the precarious, London: Verso Books.
Maestripiere, L. (2016). Professionalization at work: The case of Italian management consultants, Ephemera: Theory & Politics in Organization 16(2): 31-52.
Neal, M. & Morgan, J. (2000). The professionalization of everyone? A comparative study of the development of the professions in the United Kingdom and Germany, European Sociological Review 16(1): 9-26. doi: https://doi.org/10.1093/esr/16.1.9.
McKenna, C. (2006). The World’s Newest Profession, Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University.
OECD (2018). Job Creation and Local Economic Development 2018. Preparing for the Future of Work, Paris: OECD Publishing. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/9789264305342-en
Osnowitz, D. (2010). Freelancing Expertise: Contract Professionals in the New Economy, Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.
Pfeffer, J. (1994). Competitive Advantage Through People: Unleashing the Power of the Work Force, Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Press.
Platman, K. (2004). ‘Portfolio careers’ and the search for flexibility in later life. Work Employment & Society, 18 (3): 573-599. doi: https://doi.org/10.1177/0950017004045551
Pollitt, C. & Bouchaert, G. (2004). Public Management Reform. A Comparative Analysis – Into The Age of Austerity, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Pouliakas, K. (2017). Multiple job-holding: Career pathway or dire straits? Moonlighting responds to economic needs, but can generate new skills and careers. IZA World of Labour. Available at: https://wol.iza.org/articles/multiple-job-holding-career-pathway-or-dire-straits/long (Accessed January 2020).
Reynolds, R. & Renzulli, L. A. (2005). Economic Freedom or Self-imposed Strife: Work–Life Conflict, Gender, and Self-Employment, Entrepreneurship. Emerald Group Publishing Limited. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0277-2833(05)15003-1.
Statistics Finland. (2020) PxWeb Database: information on average income retrieved. Available at: http://pxnet2.stat.fi/PXWeb/pxweb/fi/StatFin/StatFin__pal__pra/statfin_pra_pxt_11z4.px/table/tableViewLayout1/ (Accessed April 2020)
Sutela, H. & Pärnänen, A. (2018). Yrittäjät Suomessa 2017. Tilastokeskus. Available at: http://www.stat.fi/tup/julkaisut/tiedostot/julkaisuluettelo/ytym_201700_2018_21465_net.pdf. (Accessed April 2020).
Statistics Finland (2018). Management consultancy services clearly growing in 2017. 3 October 2018. Available at: https://www.stat.fi/til/palhy/2017/palhy_2017_2018-10-03_tie_001_en.html (Accessed September 2019).
Solem, P. E. 2016. Ageism and age discrimination in working life. Nordic Psychology 68(3): 160-175. doi: https://doi.org/10.1080/19012276.2015.1095650
Standing, G. (2018) The precariat: Today’s transformative class? Development (61):115–121. doi: doi.org/10.1057/s41301-018-0182-5
Standing, G. (2014) The Precariat: The New Dangerous Class, Bloomsbury Publishing PLC.
Thelen, K. (2012). Varieties of capitalism. Trajectories of liberalization and the new politics of social solidarity, The Annual Review of Political Science 15: 137–159. doi: https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev-polisci-070110-122959
Vallas, S. P. (2017). Emerging Conceptions of Work, Management and the Labor Market, Emerald Publishing Limited.
Vallas, S. P. & Cummins, E. R. (2015). Personal branding and identity norms in the popular business press: Enterprise culture in an age of precarity, Organization Studies 36(3): 293-319. doi: https://doi.org/10.1177/0170840614563741
Veggeland, N. (2015). The politics of outsourcing in Western Europe, Current Politics & Economics of Europe 26(1): 65-91.
Viitasalo, N. 2015. Varttuneet ja ikäsyrjintä työelämässä. (Discrimination of older workers in working life). Academic Dissertation, Tampere University Press. https://trepo.tuni.fi/handle/10024/98155
Copyright (c) 2020 Author and Journal
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
The Copyright Holder of this Journal is the authors and the Journal. This Journal gives Open Access with CreativeCommons license CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0.
You can download all the content of the Journal and share it with others as long as you credit the authors and the journal, but you can’t change it in any way or use it commercially.
More specifically this license means that you – authors and users – may:
Share — copy and redistribute the material in any medium or form as long as you follow the license terms. The freedom to share includes parallel publishing on authors’ own website and in institutional repositories or in ResearchGate after publication in NJWLS, or if you want to reprint your article as part of publication of a PhD-thesis or a dissertation
You may share under these terms:
Attribution — You must give appropriate credit and provide a link to the license. Appropriate credit implies that you provide the name of the creator and attribution parties, a copyright notice, a license notice, a disclaimer notice, and a link to the material. The link used should be its DOI.
NonCommercial — You may not use the material for commercial purposes. A commercial use is one primarily intended for commercial advantage or monetary compensation.
NoDerivatives — If you remix, transform, or build upon the material, you may not distribute the modified material. Merely changing the format never creates a derivative.
Exceptions to the license terms may be granted
If you want to use content in the Journal in another way then described by this license, you must contact the licensor and ask for permission. Contact Bo Carstens at firstname.lastname@example.org. Exceptions are always given for specific purposes and specific content only.
The Journal is listed as a blue journal in Sherpa/Romeo, meaning that the author can archive post-print ((ie final draft post-refereeing) and author can archive publisher's version/PDF.
Copyright of others
Authors are responsible for obtaining permission from copyright holders for reproducing any illustrations, tables, figures or lengthy quotations previously published elsewhere.
All published material is archived at Roskilde University Library, Denmark, and transmitted to the Danish Royal Library in conformity with the Danish rules of legal deposit.
We do not screen articles for plagiarism. It is the responsibility of the authors to make sure they do not plagiate.