Indeterminacy and the regulation of task allocation: The shape of support roles in healthcare

Ian Kessler, Paul Heron, Sue Dopson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Drawing upon Marsden's typology of employment systems, this article explores how the indeterminacy of the employment relationship is enacted and resolved in relation to the healthcare assistant (HCA), a key work role in the delivery of nursing care in a hospital setting. It suggests that the regulation of task allocation within nursing assumes a hybrid form, requiring further analysis of the influences shaping the HCA role. Based on multi-method hospital case studies, the article distinguishes different types of HCA, explaining their emergence by reference to the interaction between organizational structure and personal agency. The article illustrates the value of Marsden's framework, and by addressing its limits in a healthcare setting seeks to develop a deeper understanding of task allocation in different workplace employment systems.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberN/A
Pages (from-to)310-332
Number of pages23
JournalBritish Journal of Industrial Relations
Issue number2
Early online date14 Mar 2012
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2013


Dive into the research topics of 'Indeterminacy and the regulation of task allocation: The shape of support roles in healthcare'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this