, Volume 78, Issue 1-2, pp 77-85
Date: 10 Mar 2007

Professionalism: A Virtue or Estrangement from Self-activity?

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Abstract

This paper attempts to clarify the meaning of the term ‚professional’ in its current use in our daily lives, mainly by making use of Weber’s discussion of the Protestant work ethic and rationalization. Identifying professionalism primarily as a particular lifestyle, it questions whether professionalism is a virtue to be encouraged or an alienated way of life. Rather than conclusively answering this question in the affirmative or negative, it contends that professionalism is an evolving concept, and endeavors to capture and formulate a favorable understanding of it which would foster less alienating and more fulfilling ways of doing business. It concludes by observing structural similarities between alternative managerial approaches and different conceptualizations of professionalism.

Baris Parkan is Faculty member and Coordinator of the Evening MA Program in Applied Ethics in the Department of Philosophy at Middle East Technical University.