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Definition Essay - Defining Professionalism

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Defining Professionalism


Academics believe that professional occupations are those that are full-time occupations, have a commitment to a calling, have formalized organization, are based on specialized education of exceptional duration and difficulty, exhibit a service orientation, and are autonomous. Students feel that a professional is anyone who acts in a professional way and has creditable knowledge of their field. The two are vying for increased recognition in the elite group known as professionals. The academic community wishes to restrict the values of professionalism’s definition. Society wishes to let itself into the professional community by broadening those values. Each side seeks its own best interests in an eternal power struggle.

What exactly is the proper definition of professionalism? Also, once a definition is found, how is it enforced? The academic community seems to have settled on a definition, however it differs largely from that of the college students surveyed. The college students, though they are pre-professionals, have a view that is very relaxed, allowing more fields to be considered professional.

According to Wilbert E. Moore, The Professions: Rules and Roles, professionalism entails these six values: Full-time occupation, a commitment to a calling, has a formalized organization, is based on specialized education of exceptional duration and difficulty, exhibits a service orientation, and is autonomous. Because of this, occupations such as doctors and lawyers would be considered professional, however, computer programmers would not be professional since they do not have a formal organization overseeing the occupation, or a corporate CEO is also not ...


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...and training, it should be deemed professional.

Though the academic community attempts to regulate the standards of professionalism, it is the general public who has the last say. Academics may be professionals, but they are not autonomous with regards to the interpretation of the language. Society disagrees with the definition of professionalism; they disagree with the community that regulates professionalism. The academic definition goes against society’s best interest. Because of this, there will always be a disagreement. A compromise will not be reached. Academics will always support values that limit the membership of the elite group they will always be a part of. Society seeks broad values that will provide membership for all. Until the two can agree it is simply disputed territory, like two countries in an relentless struggle for power.


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