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      Working in the shadows of professionalism: An investigation into the career experiences and dynamics of paraprofessionals - ESRC

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          Abstract

          This project extends knowledge on the work and career dynamics and experiences of paraprofessionals. While scholars have studied elite professionals for decades, paraprofessionals have not been sufficiently investigated, albeit being a growing phenomenon in modern workplaces. Paraprofessionals are defined as persons ""to whom a particular aspect of a professional task is delegated but who is not licensed to practise as a fully qualified professional"" (Oxford Dictionary, 2015). They include nurses, support staff in the academic profession and, this study's focus, paralegals in the legal industry. Traditionally, paraprofessionals undertook work that was considered restricted, mundane and repetitive. Recently, as professional work boundaries have become more permeable, they have taken on more advanced and complex tasks. Yet, what continues to distinguish paraprofessionals from professionals is their lack of professional status and access to established career trajectories. The aim of this multi-method, qualitative inquiry is to contribute to extant understanding of paralegals’ work and career experiences by developing knowledge about the challenges and opportunities of paraprofessional work as well as the educational, professional and organizational practices and processes that influence their career mobility. As such it will contribute to academic debates on contemporary professions, career mobility and immobility and work/career boundaries. The projects’ findings will benefit a range of stakeholders, including paralegals, law firms and professional bodies (such as the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA), the Law Society, the Institute of Paralegals (IOP) and the National Association of Licensed Paralegals (NALP) by providing a better understanding of paralegals’ work, sense of self and the meaning they attribute to their work. In doing so it will identify and offer opportunities for improving existing organizational and professionals practices as well as enabling professional bodies to better understand the effectiveness of initiatives such as the Equivalent Means Scheme, thereby providing opportunities for optimising such initiatives.

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          Journal
          Impact
          impact
          Science Impact, Ltd.
          2398-7073
          February 22 2019
          February 22 2019
          : 2019
          : 1
          : 29-31
          Article
          10.21820/23987073.2019.1.29
          © 2019

          This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Unported License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

          Earth & Environmental sciences, Medicine, Computer science, Agriculture, Engineering

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