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Work, Organizations and Society - Essay Example

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Professional autonomy can be defined as the control that professionals have over the processes, conditions and content of their practice. It is one of the most important professional values provided for various professionals, and an important component of professional status. …
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Work, Organizations and Society
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Download file to see previous pages Professional autonomy suggests that professionals are responsible to themselves for the services they offer. A profession is distinguished by initial and sustained education, an association created a set of codes, and accreditation procedures. Professional autonomy is based on three points: the high degree of control and influence on others, the fact that professionals define the problems on which they work, and the criterion that professionals are self-directed learners (Davis 1996, p. 443). The assumption that professional autonomy is based on control and influence is supported by the notion of professionals as experts. Employed professionals such as engineers, state attorneys and accountants, to name but a few, argue that their status as employees retracts their autonomy essential to be true professionals (Davis 1996, p. 441). Others such as physicians and nurses are subjected to several legal limitations and provisions that significantly limit their absolute professional autonomy. Professionals strive to attain as much autonomy as possible and employ several measures to establish their professional autonomy but are faced by different principal limitations to attaining their independence. Professionals attempt to establish their autonomy by forming various professional organizations, which socially and legally grant them autonomy, and significant control of their profession’s activities and practice free from external interference. These organizations define the requirements an individual needs to join a given profession, the nature and length of training, status, pay, expertise and code of ethics. These characteristics of professions, which are said to distinguish them from other occupations, derive from their autonomy. Consequently, they achieve considerable professional autonomy by claiming to be self-regulating, wrapping themselves in their cloaks of competence and repulsing that nonprofessional managers are qualified to challenge their professional judgment. In one empirical study on healthcare professionals, including all kind of physicians and specialists from different medical specialty areas, findings indicate that some unique and professional characteristics confers more professional autonomy to them than to paraprofessionals and non-professionals (Kilic et al. 2007, p 159). Paraprofessional group, such as medical assistants, owns only partial professional knowledge and skills while non-professionals are just prepared to engage in running clerical, office work and administrative duties (Kilic et al. 2007, p. 160). Due to their strong organizations, healthcare professionals try to support the factors that strengthen their professional autonomy and resist the factors that may erode it. For instance, the study indicates that health professionals are unenthusiastic to make use of clinical IT potentials to improve health care delivery and efficiency (Walter & Lopez 2008, p. 11). This is due to privileges healthcare professionals have over non-professionals and paraprofessionals. Legal privileges create a protected market for health care professionals and are the basis for autonomy and self-direction. Non-professionals are a threat to professional autonomy. Autonomy will only be found where a profession can control the production and application of skill and knowledge in its work. Autonomy will not be found if people outside the profession can understand, criticize and evaluate the work. According Chau and Hu (2002, p. 34) in another related research, a feature of clinical IT can be considered as threatening factors to healthcare professional autonomy. The factor is the level of knowledge codification and knowledge distribution conducted by a ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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