I am interested in contemporary markets for expert work—their social antecedents and economic consequences. In my research on these markets, I combine qualitative and quantitative methods to identify and address several empirical puzzles:
- Professions are granted licenses over areas of work, thus giving each profession a defined (though sometimes overlapping) jurisdiction. Given that the licenses exclude non-licensed actors from performing tasks within the jurisdictions, how is it that a professional jurisdiction can come to be controlled not by a profession, but by an organization?
- Deskilling of professional work is a ubiquitous phenomenon. By routinizing expert tasks and replacing skilled workers with a combination of unskilled labor and expertise-encapsulating technology, organizations can access the benefits of scale. But selling professional services requires the client-facing unskilled workers to assume a professional identity. How do such (pseudo-) professional identities emerge and how can they be sustained in the context of routinized, low-skill, low-pay work?
- Many professionals support pro bono work for moral reasons that are grounded in the professions' claims to use monopoly over work for public benefit. Pro bono work is thus strategically important for the professional license and jurisdiction. Given that, why would professionals who are engaged in pro bono work systematically favor undeserving clients over those who are most needful and deserving of their help?
Each of these questions is at the heart of how professions and organizations interact in today's economy, and they stand as puzzles for existing theory. These are not well-known puzzles, but they emerged from my field research and are the basis for more in-depth data gathering and analysis, with different research methods employed depending on particulars of each case. My analysis of each of these questions leads to significant progress in how we understand contemporary organizations, professions, and the interaction between them.
In the ongoing projects, I am building on this work to explore the relationship between professionalism and organizational risk. The study, conducted with support from the NSF-ASA Postdoctoral Fellowship will contribute to our understanding of risk delegation in organizations employing expert work and of systemic failures of risk-mitigating strategies in organizations and markets.
Fernandez, Roberto M. and Roman V. Galperin. “The Causal Status of Social Capital in Labor Markets.” Forthcoming in Research in the Sociology of Organizations. A Sloan Working Paper Series draft available at http://ssrn.com/abstract=2067096
Manuscripts under review
Galperin, Roman V. “Organizational Powers: Capture of Professional Jurisdiction in the Case of U.S. Retail Clinics.” MIT Sloan Working Paper Series. Available at http://ssrn.com/abstract=1873545
- Honorable Mention, 2012 James D. Thompson Award for Outstanding Graduate Student Paper, OOW section of the American Sociological Association.
Yakubovich, Valery and Roman V. Galperin. “‘I’m not here to make friends!’ Spontaneous Communication in a ‘Winners-Take-All’ Organization.”
Galperin, Roman V. “Deskilling of Professional Services and Pseudo-Professional Identity in Tax Preparation Work” (Based on a dissertation chapter.)