Values are inherent in both the methods used and the objectives of work sought by professionals. Not only do such occupations seek to operate in ways which are informed by value principles (often defined as codes of ethics) but the ends which they seek to achieve are value based. That is, the goals of professional work are expressions of those things which are socially valued. This is so whether the profession is concerned with health, education, law and personal welfare, or the apparently more concrete issues of architecture, accountancy, science and engineering. Yet to recognise this aspect of the professions should not obscure the extent to which their work, just like the realm of values on which it is based, is subject to debate, contention and even, at times, conflict. Rather it should alert us to the importance of value debates in any consideration of the practices and organisation of professions and their general standing in society.
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