Constrained by managerialism: Caring as participation in the voluntary social services

Donna Baines, Ian Cunningham, Heather Fraser

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    32 Citations (Scopus)


    Participation in the predominantly female voluntary social services is the norm that most workers expect, but little is known about how participation plays out in the circumscribed realities of managerialism and outsourcing. This paper asserts that there are three kinds of overlapping participative processes in the voluntary social services: (1) procedural-formal; (2) practice-professional; and (3) affinity processes, and that these are closely associated with the gendered notions of caring and care's connection to social mission and values. Our data suggest that rather than expanding in the context of third way politics, opportunities for all three kinds of participation have been severely curtailed by managerialism. This paper presents arguments drawn from two case studies of conditions in voluntary agencies (in Scotland and Australia) where caring was found to be a form of workplace participation, as well as the basis for exploitation and abuse of the workers by employers and clients.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)329-352
    Number of pages24
    JournalEconomic and Industrial Democracy
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - May 2011


    • gender and care
    • New Public Management
    • voluntary sector
    • worker participation


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