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 11: Challenges and change in the architecture profession: demonstrating uncertain futures through the struggle for gender equity

Amanda Roan and Gillian Matthewson


Architecture has long been recognized as having professional status (Fowler and Wilson, 2004). In contrast to other traditional professions, where technical knowledge may be a defining factor, architecture is also recognized as having an artistic dimension. Architects have a strong professional identity and often see themselves as producing goods that are of social and artistic value (Caven and Diop, 2012; Saint, 1983). Despite its status, employment in architecture can be regarded as precarious because, being tied to the construction industry, the practice of architecture is impacted upon by economic cycles and government investment in infrastructure (Beer et al., 2011). While professional occupations are often defined by legal restriction around who may practice the profession, in the complex world of construction, architectural work is not legally protected and therefore has come under threat from other professionalized occupations such as project managers and building designers (Gutman, 1988; Pinnington and Morris, 2003). Although architecture is not usually identified as a highly masculine profession in the same way as the allied professions of building and engineering (Male et al., 2009; Rhys Jones et al., 1996), women tend to be under-represented in key positions and continue to suffer career disadvantage (Fowler and Wilson, 2004; Whitman, 2005). In this chapter, after briefly reviewing the literature on professionals, we examine the current state of employment in architecture in Australia, the highly competitive local and global environments in which architecture takes place and the influence of the artistic aspects of architectural work on the profession.

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