Who Is a Professional?

Case Solution

Ashish Nanda
Harvard Business School ()

Many professions are entitled to professional status. Employers, social workers, musicians, athletes, and academics refer to their professions as “professions.” Office assistants call themselves “administrators.” Obviously, not all professions that pose as professions are so recognized by society. The company only grants the professional seal to certain professions. Doctors and lawyers are professionals; Auto mechanics and restaurant waiters are not. However, there are gray areas. Are the nurses trained? Teacher? Real estate agent? This case identifies the distinctive features of professional work. Professionals are a subcategory of service providers. An understanding of what distinguishes professionals from other service providers should be based on an understanding of 1.) what constitutes service provision and 2.) the differences between different categories of service provision.

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