Being Professional and Being Human. Professional’s Sensemaking in the Context of Close and Frequent Interactions with Citizens
AbstractIn classic theories on professions and professionalism, the relationship between professionals and citizens are typically seen as based on formal, scientific knowledge and expertise and thus as functionally specific. This conception may, however, be too simplistic for professionals working in close and frequent interactions with citizens. The article therefore theoretically discusses the assumption of a functional specific relationship and the possibility of other ways (e.g., personal and emotional) that professionals can relate to citizens. Further, the article explores the professional-citizen relationship seen from the side of welfare professionals, by exploring sensemaking with regard to professional identities, roles, and discretion making. The analysis demonstrate how most professionals combine a logic based on formal knowledge and training with a personal, relational, and emotion-based logic when describing their work and the relationship to citizens. Implications for our theoretical and normative understanding of professionalism are discussed.
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