Man, Work, and Society: A Reader in the Sociology of Occupations

By Sigmund Nosow; William H. Form | Go to book overview

this discussion. If no such technique evolves there will be no professionalization of business. But it is important to point out that the element of trade and profit is no longer the chief impediment in the way of business becoming a profession. The risks and the gains of business are falling more and more to the separate class of shareholders who do not actively participate in business operations, while most of those engaged in actual management are employees who have an interest in the financial prosperity of the concern only to the extent that if it failed, their jobs would come to an end. Their position is not very different from that of the employee of the state.

Apart from the possibility of the growth of a profession of business management, there can be no doubt that with the progress of science and the increasing complexity of social organization, new intellectual techniques will evolve round which new professions will grow up. In other words, there will be a considerable extension of professionalism outwards. But will there also be an extension downwards? Those who are not in business and do not belong to a recognized profession are engaged either in intellectual routine occupations or in manual labor. Among them vocational organization has already gained a firm hold. But these vocational organizations do not now exhibit the characteristics of professional associations because they are not engaged in preserving and applying an elaborate technique. In fact they are at present largely devoted to protective aims. This need not be permanent. Social and industrial changes are rapid; the "laborer" is becoming a figure of the past. It may be that even if all men do not come to be trained in some elaborate technique, everyone will belong to a vocational association upon which will be developed a responsibility for the good conduct of some aspect of social or industrial organization. In this manner there may be an extension of the professional attitude downwards as well as outwards.


2. ATTRIBUTES OF A PROFESSION ·

Ernest Greenwood

The professions occupy a position of great importance on the American scene.1 In a society such as ours, characterized by minute division of labor based upon technical specialization, many important features of social organization are dependent upon professional functions. Professional activity is coming to play a predominant role in the life patterns of increasing numbers of individuals of both sexes, occupying much of their waking moments, providing life goals, determining behavior, and shaping personality. It is no wonder, therefore, that the phenomenon of professionalism has become an object of observation by sociologists.2. The sociological approach to professionalism is one that views a profession as

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