Issues in the Study of ’Professions’ in Organizations: The Case of Scientists and Engineering

TitleIssues in the Study of ’Professions’ in Organizations: The Case of Scientists and Engineering
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1977
AuthorsKerr, S., M. Ann Von Glinow, and J. Schriesheim
Secondary TitleOrganizational Behavior and Human Performance
Abstract

Based on a comprehensive review of the research literature, this paper identifies a consensual set of definitional characteristics of the ideal “professional,” and outlines an approach which classifies individuals as more or less professional according to the extent that they exhibit behaviors and attitudes consistent with these characteristics. The approach is then employed for scientists and engineers, since scientific and engineering samples are often used to test hypotheses related to professionalism. The paper concludes that (a) many important differences exist between the occupational types; (b) with certain exceptions, engineers should not be considered strongly professional and should not be used to test hypotheses about highly professional employees; and (c) the indiscriminant use of engineers and other predominantly nonprofessional samples is responsible in part for the many contradictions and inconsistencies in the research literature on professionalism. Implications of this research for studies of other occupations are also discussed.

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