How important is Autonomy to Professional Workers?

  • Arne Mastekaasa Department of Sociology and Human Geography, University of Oslo


A common assumption is that autonomy is crucial to professional workers. I examine this using survey data on a sample of public sector welfare professionals, viz. medical doctors, nurses, teachers, social workers. Comparisons are made with general population data from the International Social Survey Programme. Two methods of assessing the importance of work autonomy are employed; respondents’ direct ratings and statistical associations between work autonomy (and other job characteristics) on the one hand and job satisfaction and organizational commitment on the other. Findings: Autonomy is not rated as more important among the professionals than in the general population, and neither is it more strongly related to job satisfaction. Interesting work and workplace social support appear to be more central.


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How to Cite
Mastekaasa, A. (2011). How important is Autonomy to Professional Workers?. Professions and Professionalism, 1(1).