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Meaningful WorkRethinking Professional Ethics$
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Mike W. Martin

Print publication date: 2000

Print ISBN-13: 9780195133257

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195133257.001.0001

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(p.32) 3 Responsibilities
Meaningful Work

Mike W. Martin

Oxford University Press

The consensus paradigm reduces professional responsibilities to the shared mandatory requirements developed as a consensus within a profession and imposed on all its members equally. Any additional ideals, commitments, or responsibilities that individuals embrace are matters of personal morality, not professional ethics, even when the ideals directly and dramatically affect their work. If anything, personal ideals are automatically suspect because of their potential to disrupt the workplace and threaten uniform standards. In addition to resolving special dilemmas such as those involved in confidentiality, personal ideals shape entire approaches to relationships with clients. For example, all professions mandate a strong requirement of informed consent and more generally of respect for clients' autonomy, but usually they leave large areas of professional discretion concerning advising clients and influencing clients' views. The most fundamental professional responsibility is also the most abstract: to promote the public good.

Keywords:   consensus paradigm, professional responsibilities, professional ethics, personal ideals, public good, morality, informed consent, autonomy, workplace

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