SOAS Research Online

A Free Database of the Latest Research by SOAS Academics and PhD Students

[skip to content]

Abgeller, Neve, Bachmann, Reinhard, Dobbins, Tony and Anderson, Deirdre (2024) 'Responsible autonomy: The interplay of autonomy, control and trust for knowledge professionals working remotely during COVID-19.' Economic and Industrial Democracy, 45 (1). pp. 57-82.

Text - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 (CC-BY 4.0).

Download (430kB) | Preview


This article revisits the concept of responsible autonomy, analysing the interplay of employee autonomy, management control and trust experienced by knowledge professionals in the UK compelled to work remotely during the coronavirus pandemic. The authors theorise about the tensions and paradoxes of responsible autonomy in the contemporary context of the COVID-19 crisis, drawing on empirical findings gathered in May 2020 and May 2021. Many participants experienced increased autonomy and discretion, but also work intensification and blurred work–life boundaries. Interestingly, many accepted this paradox as a palatable trade-off for the autonomy of being able to work from home, particularly where there was reciprocal trust between employee and manager. Trust is the glue in responsible autonomy, yet exists in tension with intrusive managerial control.

Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: Control, COVID-19 pandemic, knowledge professionals, paradox, responsible autonomy, trust, working from home
SOAS Departments & Centres: Departments and Subunits > School of Finance & Management
ISSN: 0143831X
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
SWORD Depositor: JISC Publications Router
Date Deposited: 20 Dec 2022 11:22

Altmetric Data


Download activity - last 12 monthsShow export options
Downloads since deposit
6 month trend
6 month trend
Accesses by country - last 12 monthsShow export options
Accesses by referrer - last 12 monthsShow export options

Repository staff only

Edit Item Edit Item