AbstractAkkelien Canrinus tries to come up with an alternative for a Tayloristic management in the sectors of care, welfare and education, by taking up the challenge to work out the concept of professionalism and by showing how street level workers in youth care can bring their professionalism to the fore. She illustrates this with a case of a welfare organisation which was approached by a housing corporation to offer support to a group of young residents of temporary studio’s. Along the way, the assignment changes; the welfare workers now only are supposed to report about trouble caused by the youth, in stead of fulfilling a broader signalling- and supportive function.
Management and professional youth workers subsequently end up in juxtaposition. Management is mainly focused on the economic side of the story and reasons that each lucrative assignment needs to be taken up. The workers are mainly focused on the content of the job and find that this kind of work does not fit within their concept of what the profession entails. By acknowledging each others positions, by looking at the proposal from different perspectives and engaging in ‘a suitable dance’ with each other, the welfare organisation in the end manages to find a modus in which all parties involved can do their piece of the work in a satisfactory way.
This only became possible after the youth care team had indeed taken its own professionalism seriously and took up a pro-active attitude. In stead of waiting for management to steer top-down, the team took the power themselves and used their own professionalism to generate a solution bottom up.