Freelancing expertise: contract professionals in the new economy

Storey, John (2012). Freelancing expertise: contract professionals in the new economy. British Journal of Industrial Relations, 50(3) pp. 587–588.



A review essay which discusses a research monograph by Debra Osnowitz. The book, which was published in 2012, is titled: “Freelancing Expertise: Contract Professionals in the New Economy”. It is published by ILR Press, an imprint of Cornell University Press, Ithaca, NY and London.
The book examines the nature of freelance work from a number of angles. The relative advantages and disadvantages and the calculus made by the freelancers are explored; the way in which they have to display their expertise (the ‘performance’)
is also revealed; their experience of marginalization when working for and on the premises of employing organizations is also revealed; their utilization of networks and the way they manage their (non-organizational) careers is assessed. The book widens its lens with a reconsideration of the implications of contracting for the nature of work relations. This last takes in a consideration of the potential for ‘collective advocacy’ of some kind (e.g. professionalization and trade unionism are considered) in order to deal with situations where client organizations breach expectations and contracts and informal understandings.

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