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[Excerpt] The classification of ‘professions’ has been a debated topic (Abbott, 1988; Friedson 2001), with several researchers putting forth varying criteria which distinguish a profession from other occupations. Previously, an individual would be considered a professional only once they had completed and attained all of the training, certifications and credentials of a professional occupation and, of course, internalized this profession’s values and norms (Wilensky, 1964). Recently, researchers have begun to relax the criteria for classifying professional occupations, insisting only that the occupation be skill- or education-based (Benveniste, 1987; Ibarra, 1999). Furthermore, in today’s workplace, which is burgeoning with independent knowledge workers, the term ‘profession’ is often used as an adjective rather than a noun, describing how individuals carry out their work with knowledge and skill rather than the specific kind of work they do (see Chapter 9 in this book).


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© Edward Elgar Publishing. Final version published as: Caza, B. B., & Creary, S. J. (2016). The construction of professional identity. In A. Wilkinson, D. Hislop, & C. Coupland (Eds.), Perspectives on contemporary professional work: Challenges and experiences (pp. 259-285). Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar Publishing. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.