Professionalism and New Public Management in Teachers' Work: a comparative study on teachers' work experience in Sweden and Finland
In this text we discuss prerequisites for different teaching cultures analysing a survey from 2005 (Sohlberg et al, 2007) using Freidson’s (2001) institutional logics: the logic of the market and the logic of the profession. The institutional logics are seen as different steering mechanisms. They are important since they set the limits as for what is possible for us to see and act upon. Both Sweden and Finland have gone through major restructuring. The countries traditionally have had a steering with a focus on the logic of the bureaucracy and the logic of the profession, but lately traces from the logic of the market also increases. It is of importance to see how these logics are experienced and acted upon in teachers’ working life, since they are part of their way of acting, thinking and their leeway in everyday situations.
The tentative results show that Finnish teachers experience less of the logic of the market/NPM and more traces of professionalism than the Swedish. This is not expected in terms of the rhetoric among efficient steering with NPM. That Finnish teachers display more of a logic of professionalism is, however, not surprising, given this has been an important issue in Finland for a long time (Simola, 2005). It is however, interesting in respect of the intention of late Swedish political reforms, which all have had as a goal as making teachers more professional, that the experiences of Swedish teachers seem to point in another direction (Foss Lindblad & Lindblad 2009).
We, in accordance with e.g. Simola (2005) Uljens (2005) and Coffield (2012) want to show that it is important not just claiming that the logic of the market/NPM means improved results in education. For now on we see our study and our results as an interesting way of discussing different institutional logics and their potential relation to national teaching cultures. Perhaps it is time to rethink education governance in relation to teachers’ work?
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