Professions and Modern Organisational Forms

  • Edgar A BurnsEmail author


Professions collectively constitute one type of organisational form developed within western modernity. This understanding shifts the previous discussion from proposed definitions justified by reference to individual professions, to see professions as an aggregate organisational design. Professions are compared in the discussion with five other organisational forms that have developed in the modern era—bureaucracies, unions, business, science and democracy. These different institutionalised forms are often said to be the opposite of professions, but more detailed study shows each of these forms overlaps with professions. This chapter bridges previous definitional analyses to subsequent discussion of professionalisation discourses and how these have been historically bundled. Viewing professions as one general type of organisational form challenges claims about professions as little more than occupational self-justification.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Waikato UniversityNapierNew Zealand

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