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Professions, The

Professions, The: Roles and Rules

Wilbert E. Moore
In collaboration with Gerald W. Rosenblum
Copyright Date: 1970
Published by: Russell Sage Foundation
Pages: 336
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  • Book Info
    Professions, The
    Book Description:

    Discusses the place and position of the professional in society today. Wilbert E. Moore attempts to define the characteristics of the professional and to describe the attributes that give professionals the basis for status and esteem. Dr. Moore maintains that the modern scale of professionalism demands a full-time occupation, commitment to a calling, authenticated membership in a formalized organization, advanced education, service orientation, and autonomy restrained by responsibility. The author discusses the professional's interaction on various levels-with his clients, his peers, his employers, his fellows in complementary occupations, and society at large.

    eISBN: 978-1-61044-671-6
    Subjects: Management & Organizational Behavior, Psychology, Sociology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Preface
    (pp. vii-x)
    Wilbert E. Moore
  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. xi-xiv)

    • Chapter one: The criteria of professionalism
      (pp. 3-22)

      To have one’s occupational status accepted as professional or to have one’s occupational conduct judged as professional is highly regarded in all post-industrial societies and in at least the modernizing sectors of others. The qualities of what constitutes professionalism are not always constant and indeed not always clear. Nor is professionalism always positively valued. A person characterized as a “professional Southerner” or a “professional gossip” is held in low esteem. Even for approved performance, amateurism may be held in higher regard than the practice of some exceptional art or skill for pay. Such approval of amateurism is more likely in...

    • Chapter two: Comparative perspective on the professions
      (pp. 23-50)

      In the range of human societies—historical, near-contemporary, and modern—something approximating professional services and their practitioners have appeared rather commonly. Priests and curers, rainmakers and soothsayers were to be found in most ancient civilizations, and also in most nonliterate societies before their extensive contact with the modern world. Many of these practitioners would not fully qualify as professionals by the criteria discussed in the preceding chapter. Yet some services are the functional equivalent of contemporary professional practice, although differing in quality, particular procedures, and, most conspicuously, in the institutional setting of their work.

      There is a sufficient mystique surrounding...

    • Chapter three: The professionalization of occupations
      (pp. 51-65)

      The quest for fully professional status among the practitioners of various technical occupations is real and earnest. The quest implicitly recognizes a scale of professionalism such as put forward in Chapter 1. Particular tactics adopted by one or another occupational group, organized by an association, recognizecriteriaof professionalism, if not a scale or sequence. The result may well be a kind of checklist approach, once the criteria are enumerated with some degree of common assent. Since symbols may hide the absence of reality, and the manipulation of symbols is often easier than the changing of actual organizations and behavior...

    • Chapter four: The formation of a professional
      (pp. 66-84)

      Two criteria of professionalism—a high educational level and commitment to a calling—point to the importance of recruitment, training, and the internalization of professional norms. The process by which a child or youth chooses an occupational career (or drifts into it) and prepares for it represents a rather intricate mixture of personality characteristics, selective procedures used by teachers and admissions officers, and the actual acquisition of occupational skills and normative orientations. The process is by no means fully understood, but we are permitted to move from the known and to speculate about the unknown.

      Those who enter occupations in...


    • Chapter five: The professional and his clients
      (pp. 87-108)

      The professional renders his expert services for clients. Those clients may be individual or collective; they may actively seek professional advice and help, or have the service provided as a sort of by-product of their position in some social organization. The physician in private practice treats patients, who seek him out. The “house counsel” or law firm in corporate practice is primarily engaged in advice relating to the collective welfare of the client organization. The professional soldier serves his government and thus, presumably and indirectly, the entire citizenry. The research scientist or scholar is a limiting case. It would perhaps...

    • Chapter six: The professional and his peers: identification and self-regulation
      (pp. 109-130)

      If the professional has various duties to clients in return for the trust accorded the adviser, he also has responsibilities to his professional peers. His relations with colleagues are by no means untroubled, as we shall see in this and several succeeding chapters. They start with common interests, and may proceed to diverse and even divisive interests.

      Both among the high-ranking professional occupations, and, perhaps even more noticeably, among those attempting to gain full professional acceptance, there is a strong and normatively supported tendency to emphasize the collegiality of the occupation. Terms such as “colleague,” “fellow,” and even “brother” abound...

    • Chapter seven: The professional and his peers: specialization and jurisdiction
      (pp. 131-148)

      The modern expert who professes to deal with some limited set of human problems, or at least problems that his fellow humans think are worthy of attention and support, is an heir to all of the age-long vicissitudes of the human condition and also of a host of new circumstances that his antecedents could not have anticipated.

      Professions multiply and subdivide. We shall be concerned in this chapter with both of these verities, for beneath the general expansion of occupations appearing to have some professional qualifications in modern and modernizing societies, there remain fundamental questions of how to specialize, how...

    • Chapter eight: The professional and his peers: prestige
      (pp. 149-156)

      The professional in private practice welcomes both the general prestige accorded to his status as a professional, the special prestige, if any, accorded to his particular occupation, and perhaps the differentialesteem¹ in which he is held as a particularly exemplary practitioner of his specialty. Yet the judgments of the laity must always be suspect, even if ego-satisfying and occupationally useful, for the layman is in a poor position to judge competence, and his opinions are too conspicuously subject to false cues and to manipulation.

      The professional does in principle accord the right to judge his relative competence and performance...

    • Chapter nine: The professional and his peers: organization
      (pp. 157-173)

      Special-interest associations proliferate in modern industrial societies, and there seems to be no finite limit to the kinds of interests that induce those sharing them to form formal organizations. TheEncyclopedia of Associations¹ lists information on some 13,600 American associations having a national scope or interest. Since some distinctly local or regional groups are included, the criteria for listing are not absolutely clear; in any event, the number of national groups is still very large. Although recreational and expressive interests command a goodly share of organized attention, it is scarcely surprising that a great many of the associations reflect the...

    • Chapter ten: The professional and complementary occupations
      (pp. 174-186)

      The specialization of occupations that involve rendering problem-solving services for clients does not stop at the claimed or effective jurisdictional boundaries of the principal professions. Several processes account for specialized occupations that are complementary to the services of the established professions. The process most closely related to professional specialization itself is that of “subprofessionalization,” that is, the spinning off to subordinates of professional duties that do not require full professional training. Another process might be called “centrifugal specialization,” in which new occupations of some degree of specialization appear or persist just beyond theformalcontrol of the established profession. A...

    • Chapter eleven: The professional and his employer
      (pp. 187-206)

      Perhaps because the stereotype of the general medical practitioner serving individual patients has so colored popular (and some scholarly) thought about the professions, a kind of individual-to-individual relationship is often taken as the norm of professional practice. It is accordingly well to remind ourselves that the military serves a strictly collective client, that only part of the services of clergymen and teachers are for particular individuals, that engineering rose to a distinctive professional status primarily in the service of public and corporate clients, and that lawyers have had public clients for centuries and corporate clients for many decades.

      The probability...

    • Chapter twelve: Mixed roles: the professional as administrator
      (pp. 207-216)

      One of the anomalies of the modern professions is that some portion of those who go through the lengthy and difficult training and other qualifications for professional status end up in other occupational positions. Some of these simply discover, tardily, that they have chosen an unsuitable career, either because they do not do well or because they dislike it, or both. Others may have taken professional training as a steppingstone to a different career. A fair proportion of trained engineers end up as business managers, and some intended it that way. Some lawyers follow a comparable path, but perhaps more...

    • Chapter thirteen: The professional and the public
      (pp. 217-230)

      In an open-market system, anyone could offer any service and advertise it widely, attribute to himself any qualifications that someone (or a sufficient number of gullible clients) would find credible, award himself certificates and degrees, and charge any unsuspecting client what the market would bear. That set of conditions was almost a description of the situation in some countries until very recently, and of the United States well into the nineteenth century.

      Licensing, we have seen, has represented an attempt on the part of more or less honorable practitioners of a specialty fraught with critical personal interest to avoid competition...


    • Chapter fourteen: Knowledge and its responsibilities
      (pp. 233-244)

      The prized position of the professional in contemporary societies and the relative autonomy he is accorded in the performance of his work rest upon the assumption that he possesses such criteria of professionalism as commitment to a calling, a high level of education in abstruse mysteries, and a service orientation toward the use of his knowledge and skills. Although we argued in Chapter 1 for a scale of professionalism, and have not abandoned our conviction that it is a useful approach, we are in this concluding chapter particularly concerned with an important component of that scale: education or knowledge. Questions...

  7. Selected bibliography
    (pp. 245-302)
  8. Index
    (pp. 303-315)