In their profession’s service: how staff professionals exert influence in their organisation

L’article se fonde sur une étude inductive qui montre les pratiques d’influence des responsables de la santé et de la sécurité  du personnel sur leur organisation. Par différentes manœuvres, ils construisent une légitimité et exercent des tactiques discrètes d’influence pour contourner les contraintes sociales, promouvoir des pratiques ou en perturber d’autres. L’article discute les enseignements théoriques sur les questions d’agence et les implications plus générales sur les logiques institutionnelles.

Thibault Daudigeos, 2013. In their profession’s service: how staff professionals exert influence in their organisation, Journal of Management Studies, 50, 5: 699–962.


This paper seeks to better understand the way staff professionals bring professional practices inside their organization by examining how they enact a practical agency to promote or disrupt practices. From an inductive study of occupational safety and health managers in a multinational construction company, we develop a framework of how staff professionals build perceived legitimacy and exert unobtrusive influence tactics to manoeuvre around social constraints. We contend that our principal contribution to the literature on institutional work is to provide a situated account of the practical agency of staff professionals inside one organization. In doing so, we extend current knowledge of the embedded agency paradox. Finally, our analysis offers new insights into the literature on professions and institutions by highlighting the work of staff professionals in a real-life context, which has received scant attention in the last three decades.