Professionalism in Practices: A Preliminary Study on Malaysian Public Universities

  •  Nik Hazimah Nik Mat    
  •  Zaharul Nizal Zabidi    


Despite the revolution of the management aspect worldwide, many changes have been noticed to give an impact
to work outcomes which is associated with quality workers. Changes in technology, political unrest and financial
uncertainties become the facts of life. These factors and other elements make conflict unavoidable for
individuals as well as an organization. Towards that, most of the occupational groups are engage in an ongoing
professionalization process. However, the efforts are always met with only limited success. By focusing on the
public university in Malaysia, this study contributes to the minimal research on professionalism that exists in the
context of public sector employees. Attempts are made to explore the practice of professionalism dimensions
using a modification of Hall’s Professionalism scale. The dimensions include professional community affiliation,
social obligation, belief in self regulation, dedication to the profession and demands for autonomy. There were
239 participants from public universities in the east coast of Malaysia involved in the study. The findings
revealed that a demand for autonomy is the essential need among academicians in practicing their
professionalism at the workplace. In addition, participants scored relatively high on two other dimensions
including professional community affiliation and social obligation. Contrary to expectations, the lowest rating
scored was dedications to profession. Finally, it is hope that results of the findings will be able to assist a
university and related authorities in regard with employment relation especially to avoid dysfunctional work
outcomes among employees. Perhaps, it may be wise to take it into account in order to manage the negative
impact of the job attitudes that may influence the quality of human capital in the public sector.

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