Professional Standards Research

Research in professionalism

The Councils are a major research partner in a three-year Australian Research Council Linkage project led by UNSW about professions, professional obligation and regulation in the 21st century. 

The project is focussed on investigating the regulatory and practical mechanisms designed to advance professional standards. It investigates the challenges faced by professionals in the 21st century, and evaluates different mechanisms for professional regulation. 

The research team has written a series of articles featured in the UNSW Law Journal, Vol 40 No.1: Contemporary Professionalism in Practice. These articles explore some of the challenges faced by the professions in the 21st century.

The series brings together the work of the ARC Linkage project team. It examines the structures, practices, beliefs and expectations of professions: the challenges that changes in technology and employment structures pose for established professions, the opportunities and complexities of professionalisation in the finance sector, and the shifting mechanisms for professional regulation.

About the articles

Graham Greenleaf’s ‘Review Essay: Technology and Professions: Utopian and Dystopian Futures’ provides a critical review of Susskind and Susskind’s The Future of the Professions, and the intersection of technology with professional expertise. The implications of changing employment dynamics for professionals are considered by Hugh Breakey and Charles Sampford in ‘Employed Professionals’ Ethical Responsibilities in Public Service and Private Enterprise: Dilemma, Priority and Synthesis’. 

The emergence of new professions and their efforts to professionalise in the banking and financial advice sectors are examined by Dimity Kingsford Smith, Thomas Clarke and Justine Rogers in ‘Banking and the Limits of Professionalism’, and by Hugh Breakey and Charles Sampford in ‘National Exams as a Tool for Improving Standards: Can Australian Financial Advisers Take a Leaf From the Professionals Book?’.

The negotiation of changing regulatory environments for professions is the subject of Justine Rogers, Dimity Kingsford Smith and John Chellew’s article: ‘The Large Professional Service Firm: A New Force in the Regulative Bargain. While, John K Morgan and Pamela Hanrahan explore the role of professional indemnity insurance as a different mechanism for regulating professions in ‘Professional Indemnity Insurance: Compensating Consumers and Regulating Professionals’, 

The perennial dilemmas faced by professionals in ensuring that they make ethical decisions is given an incisive new perspective in Hugh Breakey’s ‘Building Ethics Regimes: Capabilities, Obstacles and Supports for Professional Ethical Decision-Making’.