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Non-profits and the 'hollowed out' state : the transformation of working conditions through personalising social care services during an era of austerity

Cunningham, Ian (2016) Non-profits and the 'hollowed out' state : the transformation of working conditions through personalising social care services during an era of austerity. Work, Employment and Society, 30 (4). pp. 649-668. ISSN 0950-0170

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Abstract

This article explores the impact of state reforms to increase customer authority in social care at a time of public sector austerity in Scotland. The article focuses on the implications of these reforms for state – non-profit relations and the latter’s employment policies. The study proposes a theoretical framework to explore these themes using insights from the ‘hollowing out’ thesis (Jessop, 2002: Rhodes: 1994) and the customer orientated bureaucracy concept (Korczynski, 2002). The results show how non-profits responding to customer authority from personalisation and deep public expenditure cuts introduce a range of ‘soft’ and ‘hard’ Human Resource Management (HRM) reforms to secure employee flexibility and commitment. Workers, in turn, face multiple demands to ‘fit’ with customer needs. The combination of management rationalisation programmes and personalisation also means employees experience a degradation in employment conditions, although some increases in skills are apparent.