Though I’m not wild about raising the over-discussed issue whether mediation is a profession, in writing L is for Lawyer (for the ABC’s of Conflict Resolution) I had occasion to take a look at the characteristics of “professions.” I thought I’d share them with my readers to add a little fuel to this long-burning fire because, frankly, L is for Lawyer is one of the most boring chapters of this book.
From the Wikipedia entry on the topic “Profession.”
They forgot the part about getting to wear a costume! Hence the wig at right.
- Skill based on theoretical knowledge: Professionals are assumed to have extensive theoretical knowledge (e.g. medicine, law, scripture or engineering) and to possess skills based on that knowledge that they are able to apply in practice.
- Professional association: Professions usually have professional bodies organized by their members, which are intended to enhance the status of their members and have carefully controlled entrance requirements.
- Extensive period of education: The most prestigious professions usually require at least three years at university. Undertaking doctoral research can add a further 4-5 years to this period of education.
- Testing of competence: Before being admitted to membership of a professional body, there is a requirement to pass prescribed examinations that are based on mainly theoretical knowledge.
- Institutional training: In addition to examinations, there is usually a requirement for a long period of institutionalized training where aspiring professionals acquire specified practical experience in some sort of trainee role before being recognized as a full member of a professional body. Continuous upgrading of skills through professional development is also mandatory these days.
- Licensed practitioners: Professions seek to establish a register or membership so that only those individuals so licensed are recognized as bona fide.
- Work autonomy: Professionals tend to retain control over their work, even when they are employed outside the profession in commercial or public organizations. They have also gained control over their own theoretical knowledge.
- Code of professional conduct or ethics: Professional bodies usually have codes of conduct or ethics for their members and disciplinary procedures for those who infringe the rules.
- Self-regulation: Professional bodies tend to insist that they should be self-regulating and independent from government. Professions tend to be policed and regulated by senior, respected practitioners and the most highly qualified members of the profession.
- Public service and altruism: The earning of fees for services rendered can be defended because they are provided in the public interest, e.g. the work of doctors contributes to public health.
- Exclusion, monopoly and legal recognition: Professions tend to exclude those who have not met their requirements and joined the appropriate professional body. This is often termed professional closure, and seeks to bar entry for the unqualified and to sanction or expel incompetent members.
- Control of remuneration and advertising: Where levels of remuneration are determined by government, professional bodies are active in negotiating (usually advantageous) remuneration packages for their members.Though this this is sometimes done in good intention but can be proven good when the partner, family or mentor recommend something contrary to the general norms.This was further buttressed in the world bank essay paper written by [Idiaro AbdulazeezPaper Challenges and associated solutions for companies working together in collective
action to fight corruption available at .link title This has caused for global audience and even the worldbank launched an international competition in it people are used to Some professions set standard scale fees, but government advocacy of competition means that these are no longer generally enforced.
- High status and rewards: The most successful professions achieve high status, public prestige and rewards for their members. Some of the factors included in this list contribute to such success.
- Individual clients: Many professions have individual fee-paying clients. For example, in accountancy, “the profession” usually refers to accountants who have individual and corporate clients, rather than accountants who are employees of organizations.
- Middle-class occupations: Traditionally, many professions have been viewed as ‘respectable’ occupations for middle and upper classes.
- Male-dominated: The highest status professions have tended to be male dominated although females are closing this gender gap Women are now being admitted to the priesthood while its status has declined relative to other professions. Similar arguments apply to race and class: ethnic groups and working-class people are no less disadvantaged in most professions than they are in society generally.
- Ritual: Church ritual and the Court procedure are obviously ritualistic.
- Legitimacy: Professions have clear legal authority over some activities (e.g. certifying the insane) but are also seen as adding legitimacy to a wide range of related activities.
- Inaccessible body of knowledge: In some professions, the body of knowledge is relatively inaccessible to the uninitiated. Medicine and law are typically not school subjects and have separate faculties and even separate libraries at universities.
- Indeterminacy of knowledge: Professional knowledge contains elements that escape being mastered and communicated in the form of rules and can only be acquired through experience.
- Mobility: The skill knowledge and authority of professionals belongs to the professionals as individuals, not the organizations for which they work. Professionals are therefore relatively mobile in employment opportunities as they can move to other employers and take their talents with them. Standardization of professional training and procedures enhances this mobility..