Perspectives on Contemporary Professional Work
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Perspectives on Contemporary Professional Work

Challenges and Experiences

Edited by Adrian Wilkinson, Donald Hislop and Christine Coupland

How is the world of professions and professional work changing? This book offers both an overview of current debates surrounding the nature of professional work, and the implications for change brought about by the managerialist agenda. The relationships professionals have with their organizations are variable, indeterminate and uncertain, and there is still debate over the ways in which these should be characterized and theorized. The contributors discuss these implications with topics including hybrid organizations and hybrid professionalism; the changing nature of professional and managerial work; profession and identity; and the emergence of HRM as a new managerial profession.
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Chapter 7: Professions under pressure: voices from the field

Christine Coupland and Maree Boyle


In an edited volume of chapters around the study of professions in the UK and Australia there is a place for us to consider the experiences of currently active participants. To this end we have interviewed key members of some professional bodies who operate from each of the two locations in order to do some comparative analysis of what they perceive as threats or pressure, how they operate as professional organizations and how they see their futures. This is an opportunity to hear ‘voices from the field’. From the UK context three professional bodies were selected, the Chartered Institute of Builders (CIOB), the Chartered Institute of Personnel Development (CIPD) and the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA). From Australia the professional bodies selected for this chapter are the Law Council of Australia (LCA), Engineers Australia (EA) and the Australian Institute of Architects (AIA). (See the summarizing Table 7A.1 in the Appendix for more detail.) As discussed throughout the book, according to most academic sources all professions face significant change and challenge. In this chapter we discuss some key themes that emerged during interviews with representatives from selected UK and Australian professional bodies. The interviews were conducted via face-to-face, phone, email and Skype methods. (See an interview schedule which was used as a guide, in the Appendix.) Our objective was to illuminate what major issues and challenges members of professional associations are dealing with currently ‘in the field’.

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