CiteWeb id: 20150000084

CiteWeb score: 1548

DOI: 10.1086/223790

A popular generalization is that occupations are becoming "professionalized". The label is loosely applied to increasing specialization and transferability of skill, the proliferation of objective standards of work, the spread of tenure arrangements, licensing, or certification, and the growth of service occupations. This paper argues that these loose criteria are less essential for understanding professional organization than the traditional model of professionalism which emphasizes autonomous expertise and the service ideal. Examination of the history of eighteen occupations uncovers a typical process by which the established professions have arrived. Among newer and marginal "professions," deviations from the process can be explained by power struggles and status strivings common to all occupations. Barriers to professionalization are pinpointed. Analisis of the optimal "technical" base for professionalism suggests that knowledge or doctrine which is too general and vague or too narrow and specific pro...