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Involuntary change of professional careers: a study of the reorganisation of the colleges of education

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This study approaches the recent reorganisation of the Colleges of Education through an examination of the involuntary change of the careers of the college lecturers. It is thought that -this apparent contradication of commonplace views of the almost inviolable nature of careers (especiallyprofessional ones) would expose much of the sociological interest in the reorganisation.
On the grounds that the essential issue is the control of the consequences of the involuntary change of the lecturers' careers, a thesis is advanced that the structure of control of their careers would minimise the adverse consequences of the change itself.
The college lecturers are defined as a bureaucratic profession. This is seen to centre on the variable of the state provision and allocation of a guaranteed clientele, and specifically on the rate and scale of the change of that clientele. On this basis, a model of the control of change of career in a bureaucratic profession is constructed. In turn, this model together with a historical perspective and a variety of research techniques enables an investigation to be undertaken of the lecturers' careers at societal, organisational and individual levels.
The empirical enquiry itself consists of an historical descriptive analysis of the colleges generally followed by situational analyses, first, of four colleges of education (three of them involved in a merger with a polytechnic, and the other - a voluntary college - undergoing closure), and, secondly, of individual members of these colleges (based on 117 personal interviews).
These theoretical and empirbal studies produce information on occupational and organisational change and elaborate the notion of career (and its allied concepts). Moreover, they indicate and analyse current trends in professionalisation, and suggest to professionals how they might handle involuntary change in their own careers, particularly as the research broadly confirms the main thesis.

Publication Date Jan 1, 1979


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