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This paper deals with the concepts of professionalism and the implication of these concepts for the professional, who is an employee.
The 1979/80 Council of the Association of Professional Engineers, Geologists and Geophysicists of Alberta commissioned its Continuing Education Committee to prepare the paper.
The principal objectives of Council in commissioning the paper were:
— To produce a study document suitable for use by members-in-training prior to their admission to full membership in the Association.
— To produce a synoptic position paper, describing what APEGGA means when it talks about professionalism and professional conduct.
Professionalism and professional conduct are defined in terms of a profession and a professional.
A profession is an occupation characterized by high levels of technical competence and the degree the responsibility inherent in its practice. It requires the application of mature seasoned judgement to situations where many alternative actions are possible and where many persons can be significantly affected by the ultimate decisions taken.
A professional is a person recognized to have high levels of technical competence which are beneficially applied to those requiring his/her services. Conduct is characterized by responsible performance and dedication to service is evident in the application made of his/her special position of technical privilege. In the pursuit of professionalism, the individual's preservation of personal integrity and credibility are of the highest order.
When the Association of Professional Engineers, Geologists and Geophysicist of Alberta speaks of professional conduct, it means:
— Evident competence, responsibility and trustworthiness.
— The acquiring and maintenance of technical expertise.
— The beneficial application of this special expertise in the service of others.
— The responsibility to act with mature and seasoned judgement so that the maximum benefit will accrue to society generally.
— The self-regulation of our fraternity, association and peers so that we are always seen to merit societal trust.
The paper identifies the importance of the understanding of professionalism in today's business environment. In addition to defining professionalism, it:
— discusses the impact of occupations,
— describes the characteristics and responsibilities of a professional, and
— identifies the principal dilemmas and problems of the professional, who is an employee.
Some highlights of the paper are:
— Professionalism is a quality control system characterized by service to others, wherein the quality of service is controlled by the profession as distinct from industrial or governmental control.
— The professionalism of occupations is directly related to the impact of the occupation's services and the level of societal trust merited by the professionals.
— The principal characteristics of the professional which, if present in an individual, will result in high levels of competent service to society, are:
• Recognized expertise.
• A set of attitudes which commit the professional to:
— a willingness to assume responsibility.
— an interest in social and economic aspects of his/her profession.
— expanding and developing the expertise of his/her profession.
— self-regulation through an association of professionals.
— protecting the health, welfare and safety of the public.
The ultimate objective of this action would be to equip the young professional with attributes to permit the individual to gain beneficial autonomy and professional recognition within the corporate and the public sector.
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