Professional Employees: A Study of Scientists and Engineers

Professional Employees: A Study of Scientists and Engineers

Professional Employees: A Study of Scientists and Engineers

Professional Employees: A Study of Scientists and Engineers

Excerpt

The nature of professionalism and the ideas surrounding it have already been discussed at length in the second chapter. Some of the points raised there may usefully be briefly repeated, so that they may be borne in mind in the succeeding chapters, where the activities of the professional associations for scientists and engineers and the attitudes of the members of two of them are considered.

The main point made was that it is very difficult, if not impossible, to give a definition of professionalism which would at once embrace all those who are accepted as professional whilst rejecting all those who are not. This is not to say that there are no characteristics which are not found more amongst professional groups than amongst others, the most important of these being an advanced intellectual training, a formal qualification, a code of conduct, and an association which at least takes a deep interest in, perhaps has some control over, these other matters, and is generally representative of the professional group. These characteristics of a profession will be considered in relation to scientists and engineers, with a special emphasis on the role of the professional associations in exercising their various functions. The attitudes of the members towards their associations, and particularly their opinions on the relative importance of their various functions, will also be dealt with.

A theoretically more important conclusion drawn from the fact that it is virtually impossible to give a satisfactory definition of a profession was that the attempt to do so is largely a mistaken one, and that the real point of professionalism for employees lies elsewhere. The argument put forward was that for the sociologist the main consideration was not the question . . .

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