Journal Article

Explaining the puzzling stagnation of apprenticeships in Germany’s security services: A case of insufficient institutional work?

Manuel Nicklich and Johann Fortwengel

in Journal of Professions and Organization

Volume 4, issue 3, pages 302-323
Published in print October 2017 | ISSN: 2051-8803
Published online August 2017 | e-ISSN: 2051-8811 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jpo/jox008
Explaining the puzzling stagnation of apprenticeships in Germany’s security services: A case of insufficient institutional work?

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Abstract

In this article, we study the puzzling case of apprenticeship training in Germany’s security services industry: there is a growing consensus across stakeholder groups that apprenticeship as a formal training model, targeted to create a vocation or Beruf rather than a profession, can help the industry to overcome skill deficiencies and reputational issues; however, the number of apprentices in this field has remained low and stagnant over the past decade or so. How can we explain this limited institutionalization despite significant attempts toward institutional work for the purpose of creating an apprenticeship program? Based on rich qualitative case material, we argue that limited institutionalization can be explained by insufficient institutional work: while the actors have engaged with the cognitive and normative dimension of institutions of workforce training, they have failed to establish sufficient regulative support, such as (re-)creating the strong link between formal training and occupational status, including pay and benefits. Our study contributes to the literature by arguing that institutional work needs to target all three ‘pillars’ in conjunction, and that it needs to be aligned with the particular coordination logic in a given institutional configuration, such as Germany as a Coordinated Market Economy (CME)—failure to do so results in incomplete and inconsistent institutional work. We add to research on institutional work, not least in the realm of occupations and professions, by theorizing the stagnation of an institutional work project as the result of both incomplete and inconsistent, hence insufficient, institutional work.

Keywords: institutional work; limited institutionalization; insufficient institutional work; varieties of capitalism; apprenticeships; occupations

Journal Article.  12297 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Business and Management ; Organizational Theory and Behaviour ; Ownership and Organization of Enterprises ; Industry Studies ; Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behaviour

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