This study investigates the relationship between professional identity and professional status by exploring the quest for professionalization within technical communication. An established professional identity is crucial to an occupation's professionalization process, as it enables members of a given field to create a common sense of being and facilitates a recognizable personal and collective identity. Such recognition is vital to an occupation's rise to professional status, as it creates a distilled image of the ideal practitioner for outsiders and forms the basis upon which claims of expertise may be made. By constructing the meaning surrounding their profession, members are able to portray an image which designates their knowledge as a scarce expertise and their profession as the appropriate source for the services they provide. A lack of professional identity constitutes the primary factor hindering technical communication from realizing the professionalization process, as it prevents the formation of practitioners' common sense of being, promotes the absence of identifiability and precludes the possibility of recognition by larger society. Without an established professional identity, the field cannot formulate a culturally-relevant perception of its role, claim professional expertise or jurisdiction over their work, or achieve the social and cultural legitimacy necessary in order to increase its professional status. By implementing processes of occupational branding within the professional project, efforts involving the construction of collective professional identity will increase professional status by enabling a group's management of professional meaning, facilitating the creation of an occupational brand and assisting in value production.
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Master of Arts (M.A.)
College of Arts and Humanities
English; Technical Communications
Length of Campus-only Access
Masters Thesis (Open Access)
Thomas, Chelsea, "The Role of Occupational Branding in the Professionalization of Technical Communication" (2016). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 4908.