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Title: Re-thinking the concept of professionalism : the case of housing management
Author: Casey, Rioghnach
Awarding Body: University of Salford
Current Institution: University of Salford
Date of Award: 2005
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This thesis focuses on the meaning of professionalism in the occupation of housing management. It will explore the meaning of being a professional housing manager in a profession which has some of the traits of being a 'semi-profession' (Etzioni, 1969). It asks how housing managers view professionalism and what is its relevance, if any, to their working lives. It is primarily concerned with four key aspects of professionalism: identity, knowledge, boundaries and accountability. Analysis of these four aspects of professionalism are informed by social constructionism, ethnomethodology and ethnography. The sociology of the professions is used as a substantive literature to illuminate fieldwork data and provide new directions for the evolution of theory relating to housing management. Qualitative methods of data collection and analysis have been used to provide detail and depth in presenting a picture of the issues under investigation. Data was primarily collected from forty-nine interviews, supported by data collected from three separate periods of participant observation. The thesis argues that professionalism in housing management is an individualised project of the self rather than a collective project. Professionalism is expressed as an individualised response to, and a mediation of, competing managerial demands. Housing managers work upon themselves to meet the demands of their customers and their employers. The 'professional project of the self is influenced by their backgrounds, specifically their own beliefs and values regarding what it is to be a professional housing manager. Housing managers engage in negotiating the boundaries of knowledge and emotions in order to deliver a professional service. Accountability is expressed as a component part of professionalism, i.e. the ability to give an account of their actions, as well a response to formal performance measures. The thesis identifies two categories of housing managers, 'pragmatists' and 'pro-activists', who are distinguished from each other in their construction of professionalism. This study suggests that the concept of professionalism continues to exert a considerable influence on the thoughts and behaviours of these housing managers.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available