From Dyad to Triad: Mediatization and Emerging Risks for Professional Autonomy
With the emergence and spread of digital media, more business models foster and empower client participation in medical professions. With services and products ranging from rating platforms to apps targeting self-diagnosis, these businesses transform the client–practitioner relationship yet risk undermining a central pillar of professions—autonomy. Practitioners have to take legal actions against these business models, making visible the frictional interplay among the involved actors. This development calls for an analytical understanding of how this technology-induced cultural change affects professions and discourses on professionalism. We argue that a perspective on how practitioners deal with these challenges in various situations can be beneficial. Hence, we conceptualize professionals as engaged in identifying, assessing and managing risks for themselves and their clients. The emerging risk-management practices lead to an understanding of how this apparent cultural change plays an increasingly meaningful role for research on how professionalism regarding legitimation of authority is negotiated.
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