'It's complicated': Professional opacity, duality, and ambiguity-A response to Noordegraaf (2020)

Johan Alvehus*, Netta Avnoon, Amalya L. Oliver

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


In this comment to Noordegraaf's 'Protective or connective professionalism? How connected professionals can (still) act as autonomous and authoritative experts', we argue that Noordegraaf has contributed significant insights into the development of contemporary professionalism. However, we argue for a less binary and more complex view of forms of professionalism, and for finding ways of understanding professionalism grounded in a relational view of everyday professional work. The first section (by Johan Alvehus) suggests that Noordegraaf's 'connective professionalism' is primarily about new ways of strengthening professionalism's protective shields by maintaining functional ambiguity and transparent opacity around professional jurisdictions. The second section (by Amalya Oliver and Netta Avnoon) argues for viewing professionalism on a range of protection-connection and offers an approach for understanding how connective and protective models co-occur. Both commentaries thus take a relational, dynamic, and somewhat skeptical view on the reproduction and maintenance of professionalism.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)200-213
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Professions and Organization
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2021. Published by Oxford University Press.


  • ambiguity
  • connectiveness
  • expertise
  • ideal type
  • professionalism


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