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Deskilling in the 21st Century: The case of rail privatisation

Cole, Bart and Cooper, Christine (2006) Deskilling in the 21st Century: The case of rail privatisation. Critical Perspectives On Accounting, 17 (5). pp. 601-625. ISSN 1045-2354

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This paper considers the impact of privatisation on the tacit knowledge and skills of the railway industry staff. It argues that while rail privatisation was consistent with the neo-liberal economic agenda, the particular form that it took in the UK in some ways exacerbated the loss of worker knowledge within the industry. Arguably, this loss of knowledge had an impact of safety. The form that the privatisation took was shaped by many factors including the activities of large accounting firms and advisors to government. However, accounting skills could have been used to enhance the safety of the industry.