The professional without a profession: An entrepreneurial response to supercomplexity in research environments?

Lynn P. Nygaard


This critical review interrogates both the traditional and the more modern literature on professionalism by taking the author's position as a special advisor in an international research institute in Norway as a point of departure to explore the challenge of professionalism without a profession. By exploring the various criteria that make up "professionalism," this review explores to what extent "professionalism" is directly linked to belonging to a specific "profession," and what non-professionals signify in the context of knowledge production. The author argues that her position as special advisor may not meet the criteria of traditional notions of professionalism, but does represent professionalism in a more modern sense, especially considered in the light of blended professionalism and unbounded professionalism. It is suggested that this type of "professional non-profession" can be seen as an entrepreneurial response to supercomplexity, particularly in research environments characterized as interdisciplinary and applied.


Professionalism, performativity, research productivity, supercomplexity

Full Text: PDF


  • There are currently no refbacks.

The Online MPhil/PhD in Education from the UCL Institute of Education, University College London. Become a doctoral researcher without the need to give up your work or personal commitments.

For more information about doctoral research at the UCL Institute of Education, go to

ISSN 2049-9558
Link to us!