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date: 12 July 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter introduces professional ethics as a specific example of applied or practical ethics. The authors provide a short review of the literature on theoretical and applied ethics in order to give context for the subsequent discussion. They examine three foundational concepts of professional ethics: codes adopted by professional bodies, professional autonomy, and the contested role of gatekeeper. Next, the authors consider ethical pressures experienced by professionals in the non-professional organization (NPO), and then the Professional Service Firm (PSF). Here the authors compare the pressure exerted by employer and clients and examine how so-called “client capture” can become a complex phenomenon when both client and professional are corporate entities. Finally, the chapter considers the challenges for the study of ethics in the PSF highlighted by this account.

Keywords: professional service firm, ethics, professional ethics, client capture, ethical code, autonomy, gatekeeper

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