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Knowledge and the Discourse of Labour Process Transformation: Nurses and the case of NHS Direct for England
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Professor Frank Mueller
Smith C, Valsecchi R, Mueller F, Gabe J
Work, Employment and Society
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This article draws on fieldwork conducted with nurses in two sites of NHS Direct, the English tele-nursing service. Theoretically it has two objectives. Firstly to examine a group of professional workers in order to show how the discourse of work transformation associated with the call centre paradigm interacts in a non-mass, non-commercial public sector setting where workers remain attached to their occupational identity and institutional community which mediate call centre values and rationalities. In relation to this objective, the article shows how call centre values inform NHS Direct but do not produce the same outcomes as in commercial settings. Secondly, the article establishes that nurses, as knowledgeable actors, can control, manipulate and create knowledge, without having their autonomy subordinated to the clinical software they are required to use. The article contributes to the labour process approach of call centre working and debates on knowledge management in the workplace.
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