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

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

CHAPTER XIV
PROFILES

Several aspects of occupations which we have treated elsewhere are presented here in an over-all view which we have called "occupational profiles." These profiles are essentially descriptions of particular aspects of occupational cultures which stress the functional interrelations between the culture of the community and the culture of the occupation. The profiles were selected for their representativeness and for their unique cultural characteristics which affect incumbents in their work and community relations.

Some of the attributes that give certain occupations a unique character are: (1) direct influence of community status on entrance and career within the occupation; (2) role conflicts and ambiguities in role definitions, which create contradictory self-images interfering with effective job performance; and (3) discontinuities between occupational norms and norms in the wider community which affect role performance.

The profile of the medical doctor described by Hall in "Stages of a Medical Career" might well apply to a number of other established professions. The cultural attributes he describes in detail deal mostly with the processes of entrance and sponsorship as hurdles to professional advancement. These processes involve the social structure of the larger community perhaps more than the social structure of the professional organization or the systems in which professional practice takes place.

The crucial role played by the professional in the community is nowhere more apparent than in the career patterns of the professionals. No other occupations exhibit such close correspondence between status in the occupation and status in the community. Although high-status jobs in the larger business organizations have characteristics similar to the professions, in business one finds a stronger career identification with the specific company rather than with the specific community.

The functional relations between occupations and socially prescribed age or sex roles may be derived through analysis of certain occupations

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