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'We have got the freedom’: a study of autonomy and discretion among vocational teachers in Norway and the UK

Lloyd, Caroline ORCID: and Payne, Jonathan 2010. 'We have got the freedom’: a study of autonomy and discretion among vocational teachers in Norway and the UK. [Working Paper]. SKOPE Research Paper, vol. 95. Cardiff: SKOPE, Cardiff University. Available at:

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The paper examines the claim that the Scandinavian ‘social democratic’ model has been able to support ‘better’ forms of work organisation, which afford employees higher levels of autonomy and control, when compared with ‘liberal market economies’, such as the UK. It focuses specifically upon the experience of one occupational group, vocational teachers in English and Welsh colleges of further education (FE) and their counterparts in Norwegian upper secondary schools. This group has been subject to a process of educational restructuring and the application of new public management, albeit in different forms and to differing degrees. However, very little is known about how their jobs compare in terms of their levels of discretion and autonomy, and their influence in decision-making processes both within the college/school and in the wider policy environment. The paper draws upon a range of interviews undertaken within FE colleges and upper secondary schools in England, Wales and Norway, alongside interviews with national stakeholder representatives. The research finds evidence to support the view that Scandinavia is indeed distinctive, with Norwegian teachers enjoying comparatively higher levels of job quality in relation to the key indicators of autonomy, discretion and decision-making influence.

Item Type: Monograph (Working Paper)
Date Type: Completion
Status: Published
Schools: ESRC Centre on Skills, Knowledge and Organisational Performance (SKOPE)
Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education
L Education > LF Individual institutions (Europe)
Additional Information: category 6
Publisher: SKOPE, Cardiff University
ISBN: 1466-1535
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 March 2016
Last Modified: 19 Oct 2022 10:37

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