Responsible autonomy: the interplay of autonomy, control and trust for knowledge professionals working remotely during COVID-19

Neve Abgeller*, Reinhard Bachmann, Tony Dobbins, Deirdre Anderson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

73 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

This article revisits the concept of responsible autonomy, analysing the interplay of employee autonomy, management control and trust experienced by knowledge professionals in the UK compelled to work remotely during the coronavirus pandemic. We theorize about the tensions and paradoxes of responsible autonomy in the contemporary context of the COVID-19 crisis, drawing on empirical findings gathered in May 2020 and May 2021. Many participants experienced increased autonomy and discretion, but also work intensification and blurred work-life boundaries. Interestingly, many accepted this paradox as a palatable trade-off for the autonomy of being able to work from home, particularly where there was reciprocal trust between employee and manager. Trust is the glue in responsible autonomy, yet exists in tension with intrusive managerial control.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEconomic and Industrial Democracy
Early online date7 Dec 2022
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 7 Dec 2022

Keywords

  • Control
  • COVID-19 pandemic
  • knowledge professionals
  • paradox
  • responsible autonomy
  • trust
  • working from home

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Responsible autonomy: the interplay of autonomy, control and trust for knowledge professionals working remotely during COVID-19'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this