Professionalism: The golden years

William D. Lawson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


This paper presents a detailed exposition of professionalism, carefully situated within the social, theoretical, and temporal context of the decades immediately following World War II. This classic conception of professionalism involves three attributes - knowledge, organization, and the ethic of professional service. Such an approach presumes a functionalist view of society specific to the middle years of the Twentieth Century, a time characterized by a high degree of occupational specialization, shared norms and values, stability, and the tendency to maintain equilibrium in the presence of social change. A clear picture of this classic view of professionalism is the first step toward understanding the contemporary meaning of professionalism for today's engineering education and practice issues.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)26-36
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Professional Issues in Engineering Education and Practice
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2004


  • Engineering education
  • Ethics
  • History
  • Licensing
  • Professional development
  • Professional practice
  • Professional role
  • Professional societies


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