Professions : A Key Idea for Business and Society book cover
1st Edition

A Key Idea for Business and Society

  • Available for pre-order. Item will ship after April 1, 2021
ISBN 9781138610415
April 1, 2021 Forthcoming by Routledge
208 Pages

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Book Description

Professions and professionalism have played an integral part in business and society. In this book, Mike Saks provides a thorough overview of this field through the analysis of a range of professions, including, amongst others, accountants, doctors and lawyers.

This book offers a critical analysis of such privileged occupational groups in modern societies. Anticipating a positive if changing role for such groups in the years ahead, the book outlines conflicting theoretical perspectives on professions and discusses current developments in an accessible, multi-disciplinary style. The book documents their evolution and contemporary transformation from medieval guilds to fully-fledged professions and international professional service firms, while pointing a path towards their future in the world of work and beyond.

With insights into the recent challenges provided by clients, citizens, the state and corporations in neo-liberal societies, Professions provides a concise overview that will be essential reading for students, academics and others interested in the operation of these key occupational groups in business and society.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction  2. The History of Professions and Professionalisation  3. Positive and Negative Theories of Professions  4. Attacks on Professions  5. Business and Management Issues and the Professions  6. Conclusion: The Future of Professions

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Mike Saks is Emeritus Professor at the University of Suffolk, UK, and Visiting Professor at the University of Lincoln, Royal Veterinary College, University of London, University of Westminster, UK, and University of Toronto, Canada.


Mike Saks’ Professions provides an accessible, well-written, up-to-date overview of professions, exploring their historical origins and current challenges, in the UK, US, and around the world. Written by an undisputed leader in the field, and drawing on Saks’ extensive (indeed exhaustive) knowledge of the area, the book provides a concise but rich discussion of important issues and debates in the field, in a manner that will appeal to a broad audience, from undergraduate students and researchers, to professionals, business leaders, and policymakers. By not only providing a general description of professions, but outlining how they vary across field, nation, time period, political, economic, and social context, Saks has produced rich insights into this important social phenomenon.  

Tracey L. Adams, PhD Editor, Canadian Review of Sociology / Revue canadienne de sociologie

There can be no better guide to the social science literature on professions and professionalization than Mike Saks. Himself an important contributor to this literature, Saks skillfully brings the sociology of professions up to date by focusing on the interplay of professional organization with the challenges of state regulation, neo-liberal preferences for market-based policies, and growing public skepticism about expertise. Whatever their shortcomings, Saks concludes, professionalized occupational groups continue to contribute significantly to the well-being of citizens in the Anglo-American world.

Steven Brint, University of California