Abstract: The Professions as Knowledge Exchange Systems

Gordon Boyce


The rise and proliferation of professional groups have facilitated the creation and wider application of specialised human capital. Professional organizations articulate, delineate, and codify esoteric knowledge, elements of which are tacit, abstract, and embodied in routines. However, such knowledge poses exchange- and transfer-related problems. Professional organizations mitigate these difficulties by seeking legitimization and by enunciating ethical principles that resonate with accepted values and norms. In so doing, professional groups create a framework that facilitates exchanges that could not be carried out as effectively through market mechanisms or hierarchical structures.