Link Overview:

Section 1

Section 2

Section 3
Professionalism in Occupations...

Section 4
Professionalism in the Individual...

Section 5
Dilemmas and Problems of the Professional...

Section 6
What Does the Professional Association do for me?...

Section 7
List of References...
Section 3
Professionalism in Occupations


Why have some occupations been given the right and the responsibility to govern themselves? The answer seems to lie in two multi-faceted concepts:

The level of responsibility of the occupation


The level of the sense of responsibility of the practitioners of the occupation both on the individual level and on the group level.



There is a level of responsibility continuum on which all occupations can be ranked. That continuum extends from the jack-of-all-trades or the unskilled labourer where it is not possible to define a set of activities usually engaged in (and thus an occupational identity) through the trades, the crafts, the technologies, the near-professions and finally, to the professions. To determine the level of responsibility of occupations, each can be examined by utilizing the criteria used by organizations to establish the level of responsibility of various positions in a company. Such a system will not definitely identify the point at which a trade or craft becomes a technology, nor will it identify when a near-profession becomes a profession. Such judgements will always remain subjective assessments.

However, it is APEGGA's belief that only a few occupations, those which exhibit the highest overall ranking on a level of responsibility basis, will be granted full self-governing powers and thus the clear claim to the title of "a profession" and even then, only if the practitioners are professionals who have gained a high level of societal trust through a demonstrated sense of responsibility.



Importance of the Service (Impact)

The importance of the outcomes of services provided by the occupation will be high and the effect, particularly of errors in judgement, will be significant before an occupation will be classed as a profession. For the professions, the impact of even a single service may well be high.

If the number of services required by an individual is high or if the number of individuals requiring the service is high, then it follows that the overall importance of the service to society is high.

This aspect is sometimes called the cruciality of an occupation.

The Nature of the Professed Knowledge

The breadth and depth of the body of knowledge on which a practitioner of an occupation must draw in order to make the judgements required in the practice of the occupation is of major importance. At the upper end of the scale, knowledge will be highly abstract and theoretical. Careful and lengthy study is required in order to master the understandings to be "professed". This body of knowledge will be defined from time to time by the professional association usually in terms of academic requirements. Additionally, it will be of a nature not learned or comprehended by society generally.

The knowledge will be relatively discrete and/or distinct from the knowledge needed and used by other professions and occupations.

Frequency of Need for Reasoned Judgements

Occupations will vary in the frequency and the nature of reasoned judgements required. Those at the upper end of the scale will consistently require such judgements. To make these judgements, knowledge and understanding of the situation at hand is required, why it works, and how it might or should be varied to obtain beneficial results. In many instances, reasoned judgement will often be needed in a profession in order to correctly prescribe which of several possible methods should be used as the problems to be solved by professionals will frequently have several acceptable solutions and a "best solution" will depend on a careful consideration of a variety of factors.


Arising from the specialized nature of the knowledge possessed by professionals, they receive a minimum of supervision. This is principally because "others" will not have the knowledge to decide whether the work is good, adequate or poor. Continuance of a low level of supervision presupposes a high degree of trust that the persons practising the profession will govern themselves with the public interest clearly in mind.

Level of Responsibility Score

By applying best judgement weightings to the various components described above, it is possible to produce a mathematical score indicative of the level of responsibility of various occupations.




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