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Integrity at work: managing routine moral stress in professional roles

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In this paper I consider the routine moral burden of occupying a professional role and having to negotiate tensions between the normative expectations attached to that role and one's own personal moral compass. Using an example to introduce this central issue I then seek to explore it through a discussion of the tensions between, and spaces between, ‘identifying’ with one's role and ‘separating’ oneself from one's role. I suggest that ethical integrity at work is revealed through the successful negotiation of these tensions, but that such negotiation depends upon the power and other resources available to individual professionals. Finally I argue that this discussion of ‘the ethics of role occupation’ has important implication for ‘the ethics of role construction’ and adds weight to concerns about the potential moral costs of managerialism.

Keywords: integrity; managerialism; moral stress; professionalism; roles

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2011-04-01

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