‘Guiding for Professionalism’ Project

There is a global crisis of trust and an increase in anti-professional sentiment globally. Despite economic success, Governments, Business, NGOs and the Media are not trusted due to a growing sense of inequity, availability and easy distribution of information from questionable sources and compromised
adherence to professional ethics. So how can professional associations support their members in discharging their duties ethically?

The 2020 Edelman Trust Barometer Global Report observed that despite what was a strong globale conomy prior to the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, Governments, Business, NGOs and the media are not trusted (Edelman, 2020). This crisis in trust is due to a growing sense of inequity, the wider availability of knowledge to which only professionals had access, as well as unethical behaviour of a minority of professionals (Susskind and Susskind, 2015).

Increasingly, concerns are being raised that professionalism is a tool for social control that is used by social groups that dominate professions to self-regulate, gatekeep and maintain power of a profession’s accepted behaviours and social boundaries (Frye et al., 2020).

It has been argued that trust is built on competence and ethics (Edelman, 2020), which are defining traits of professionals. One of the defining features of professions, and arguably the key to their ongoing relevance and survival, is adherence to codes of professional ethics (Susskind and Susskind, 2015).

Professionals and their organisations have many and varied opportunities to compromise their adherence to professional ethics, for example by pursuing private gain or personal advantage (Medical Professionalism Project, 2002) . Membership in a professional association plays a role in promoting a healthy respect for these codes of professional ethics. A membership benefit for such organisations may be the provision of guidance or advice about professional behaviour or norms. Improved awareness of this role of professional organisations may ease the rising concerns described above.

This project seeks to determine how professional associations currently support members in discharging their duties ethically and how professionals who are members perceive the value of such support. The objective is to establish how ACoP could best serve members by providing resources that enable Member Organisations and their member professionals to best discharge their professional duties.  An initial research activity is to conduct a survey and gap analysis in order to understand current resourcing by member organisations and the perceptions about the resources provided.

If you would like more information on this project, contact us on 1300 664 587 or CEO@Professions.org.au

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