Professionalism in digitally-mediated project work
To link to this article DOI: 10.1080/09613218.2013.743398
Fieldwork in a major construction programme is used to examine what is meant by professionalism where large integrated digital systems are used to design, deliver, and maintain buildings and infrastructure. The increasing ‘professionalization’ of the client is found to change other professional roles and interactions in project delivery. New technologies for approvals and workflow monitoring are associated with new occupational groups; new kinds of professional accountability; and a greater integration across professional roles. Further conflicts also arise, where occupational groups have different understandings of project deliverables and how they are competently achieved. The preliminary findings are important for an increasing policy focus on shareable data, in order for building owners and operators to improve the cost, value, handover and operation of complex buildings. However, it will also have an impact on wider public decision-making processes, professional autonomy, expertise and interdependence. These findings are considered in relation to extant literatures, which problematize the idea of professionalism; and the shift from drawings to shareable data as deliverables. The implications for ethics in established professions and other occupational groups are discussed; directions are suggested for further scholarship on professionalism in digitally mediated project work to improve practices which will better serve society.