New Public Management and New Professionalism: Ambiguities and Struggles

Dahl, H. M. (Lecturer)

Activity: Talk or presentationLecture and oral contribution


New Public Management and New Professionalism: Ambiguities and Struggles


New Public Management (NPM) is a dynamic, complex set of ideas containing different logics and is presently being substantially redefined. NPM originally consisted of two different logics: neo-liberal logic often related to ideas of standardization and a Human Resource Management (HRM). Standardization as the dominant logic has recently been reframed into a process orientation due to, amongst others, resistances from various sources. In a situation of multilevel-governance struggles exist between different levels of the state, but also within the state at a national level. This can be seen in the ambiguous strategies applied by the Danish state towards the aspiring group of professionals, publicly paid home helpers.


Home helpers stories of organizational change are analysed in focus group interviews. Their resistance towards the logic of standardization and the different strategies towards NPM inspired policy tools amongst them are identified. The hybrid identities amongst home helpers are described as well as the abstract figures they draw upon: the human machine, the house wife, the classical professional and the new professional (the specialised generalist). Simultaneously with the new identities, there occurs an increasing questioning of the boundaries in relation to other professions bringing old issues such as the constituting features of (professional) knowledge into a context of a reframed NPM.

Emneord: NPM, home care
Period5 Jun 2008
Event typeConference
LocationAarhus, Denmark


  • NPM, home care