What Does Professionalism Look Like?
怎样才是专业?

When we talk about “professionalism,” it’s easy to fall back into the “I know it when I see it” argument.
当我们谈论“专业主义”时,很容易就会陷入关于专业主义是否就是“一看见就明白”的争论中。

For Emily Heaphy, an assistant professor of organizational behavior at Boston University, and her colleagues, this isn’t a cop-out. The notion of being seen as professional may be central to how we define success in the U.S. — and, consequently, how and why certain people aren’t able to attain it, depending on how well they adhere to social norms. In particular, Heaphy and the other researchers set out to study “one potential culturally bounded workplace norm — that of minimizing references to one’s life outside of work.”
艾米丽·希菲是波士顿大学组织行为学的助理教授,对她和她的同事而言,这个观点是站不住脚的。被视为专业与否的关键,也许在于在美国,我们如何定义成功,并且,有些人不能够成为专业人士的原因,取决于他们对社会规范的依附遵守的程度。希菲和其他研究者还特地以人工作之外的生活缩影作为参考,开展了关于“人与其工作场所规范之间可能的文化关联”的研究。

They did this in two ways: First, they tested how people connect perceptions of professionalism to what a worker’s desk looked like. Second, they examined how recruiters from two different countries rated potential employees who referenced family or children.
他们采取了两种研究方式:第一,他们调查了人们是如何将其对专业主义的认知与工作者办公桌的外观联系在一起的。第二,他们检验了来自两个不同国家的招聘者是如何评定那些有孩子或家庭的潜力员工的。

For the former, they presented study participants with this nondescript cubicle:
在前一种方法中,他们向研究参与者提供了一个毫无装饰的小房间:

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Along with the description of a fictional employee:
并对一名并不存在的员工进行了描述:

Eric is a manager in his mid-thirties, who has been with his company for five years. He is married and has two kids. Eric’s performance evaluations are consistently strong, and he is considered very professional.
埃里克30多岁,已经在公司工作了五年,现在,他是公司的经理。他已经结婚了,还有两个孩子。埃里克的绩效评估一直都很好,别人觉得他非常专业。

Participants were asked to then use a selection of stickers to decorate Eric’s office based on their mental image of what it might look like. Some stickers clearly referenced work (file folders, for example), others were neutral (a tissue box), and some referenced nonwork (children’s drawings or toys). On average, this is what Eric’s office ended up looking like:
而参与者会被要求根据自己心中埃里克办公室的样子来挑选贴纸来装饰设计这个小房间。有些贴纸明显和工作相关,比如说文件夹,其它的相对中性,比如抽纸盒一类,还有一些与工作无关,比如,孩子的画或是玩具。这就是埃里克的公司通常的样子:

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When one word in Eric’s description changed, however (“he is not considered very professional”), his cubicle looked like this:
然而,一旦,对埃里克的描述中的一个字发生了改变——“别人不觉得他非常专业”,参与者眼中埃里克的办公室就变成了这样:

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The differences are small but striking. While both professional and unprofessional Eric have office supplies and family photos in their cubes, unprofessional Eric also makes use of what appear to be holiday decorations, a poster of Elmo, and a Discman. It’s noteworthy, Heaphy told me, that the number of objects remained similar in both scenarios — in other words, you can’t simply say that an unprofessional person is messier.
差别很小但很明显。别人眼中“专业”和“不专业”的埃里克的办公室里,都有办公用品和家人的照片,但“不专业”的埃里克还会有一些像是休闲类型的装饰,像是一张埃尔默的海报,或是一部随身听。希菲告诉我,这一点很值得注意,两个不同的场景下,物品的数目差不多,换句话说,你并不能说一个非专业人士的行为会乱成一团。

Heaphy and her colleagues also asked participants to complete the same exercise with a female employee named Stephanie. Interestingly, they found no statistically significant differences in how professionalism was gauged based on gender:
希菲和她的同事们还要求参与者给一个叫斯蒂芬妮的女性员工做同样的事。有趣的是,他们并发现,对专业程度的衡量并不存在显著的性别差异:

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But there was a significant difference in judging professionalism when they looked at how long participants had worked in the U.S.
但是,参与者在美国的工作时间长短不同会使得对专业的判断存在着显著差异:

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This suggests that filling one’s office with strictly work-related items “is learned with experience living in the United States rather than a culturally universal feature of appropriate workplace behavior.”
这说明了,在办公室放满与工作紧密相关的物品“是来源于在美国的生活经历而不是一个普遍的适当工作场所行为的文化特性。”

So why is this important?
所以,为什么这一点很重要?

For one, it highlights how deeply rooted religious ideology still is in America. Heaphy and her co-authors trace what’s unique about the U.S. — “maintaining unemotional, polite, and impersonal workplace interactions” — to what’s referred to as the “Protestant Relational Ideology.” Basically, this is a theory originally developed by political economist Max Weber and based on “the need to put aside personal concerns to devote full attention to one’s work so as to fulfill one’s moral and spiritual calling.” It may sound out-of-date, but its effects aren’t. In one depressing example, a recent paper about unemployment found that “psychic harm from unemployment is about 40 percent worse for Protestants than for the general population.” In another, women with children reported receiving unfair treatment when they violated the norm that “workers should devote full time, uninterrupted hours to paid work.”
首先,这突出说明了如今在美国,宗教思想仍然根深蒂固。希菲和共同作者认为美国独有的“在工作场所保持非感性、礼貌、非个人的行为”是来自于被称为“新教式意识形态”的心理。基本上来说,政治经济学家马克思·韦伯最先发展了这一建立在“为了实现人的道德与精神召唤而将个人事务放在一边以全身心投入的需要”的基础之上的理论。听起来也许已经过时了,但是却影响至今。举一个令人沮丧的例子,最近,一篇关于失业的论文发现,“失业给新教徒带来的心理伤害的严重程度要比给普通人带来的要多40%。”另一个例子,有孩子的女性称,当她们违反了“进行有偿工作时必须全心投入,不受打扰“的模式时,她们就会受到不公正对待。

Related, but perhaps even more significant, is how cultural norms affect today’s more global business environment. Just as it’s no longer true that “work” means “being in an office from 9-5,” it’s no longer the case that Indian businesspeople stay in India, or that U.S. execs remain in the States. “Confusion about a tacit norm… is only enhanced by the growing globalization of the workplace that increasingly brings workers together across national borders,” write the study’s authors. This can “result in misinterpretations and misunderstandings.” In fact, one of the most important things people must do when working in new cultures “is to discover and respect the norms of their new setting, or suffer the consequences.”
文化习俗是如何影响当今越来越全球化的商业环境是与此相关的,也许更是有重要意义的。正如“工作“已不再是”朝九晚五第呆在办公室里“,工作也不意味着印度的商人就得呆在印度,或是美国的执行官都呆在美国。研究作者写道:”仅仅是将来自不同国家的工作者越来越多地聚集在一处的全球化趋势,就引发了对这一约定俗成的所谓规范的质疑。“这会”导致不解与误解。“事实上,在新文化中,人们在工作时应做的最重要的事情之一是”发现并尊重新环境中的规范,不然就自己承受后果。“

But right now, those consequences might unfairly be pushing — or at least excluding — non-Americans.
但是现在,这些后果却不公平地逼迫着,或者至少是排挤着非美国人。

And what if U.S. businesspeople work abroad?
如果是美国人在外国工作呢?

“The question we don’t have the answer to is, ‘What are the ways people evaluate professionalism in other countries?'” Heaphy explained, referring to the dearth of scholarly literature on workplace norms worldwide. “In the U.S., with a Protestant Relational Ideology, you need to be completely devoted to work. We don’t have a similar theory as to why other countries would be different.” But given the chart above, we can guess that they likely are.
希菲谈到了世界范围工作场所规范相关学术文献资料的缺乏,她解释说,“‘在其他国家,人们如何衡量专业?’,对于这一问题,我们没有答案。在美国,由于新教式的意识形态,你必须要完全致力于工作。而关于为什么其他国家与美国不同,我们并没有相似理论。”但根据上面的表格,我们能猜到他们可能也是这样的。

This assumption is further evidenced by the next portion of the same study. Researchers asked American and Indian participants to evaluate a job candidate based in part on how he or she would build rapport with a potential client. In one set of circumstances, the candidate would make reference to a photo of the client’s family; in the other, he or she would only discuss the location of the office or the view out the window. Participants were then asked whether they would recommend hiring the candidate.
上述研究的后一部分为这一假设提供了证据。研究者分别要求美国和印度参与者根据职位候选人如何与潜在客户建立关系而对其作出评价。在一种设定下,候选人提到了客户的家庭;另一场景下,候选人会只谈论办公室的选址或是窗户的视野。然后,参与者会回答他们是否会推荐雇佣这一员工。

While there was no statistical difference between Indian and American participants when it came to the latter example, the researchers found that “U.S. participants with recruiting experience negatively evaluated the candidate who engaged in nonwork role referencing, whereas Indian participants with recruiting experience did not.” In addition, “Job candidates’ success in advancing to the next stage of the hiring process was increased when they minimized references to nonwork roles in a U.S. but not Indian context.”
在后一场景中,尽管印度与美国参与者的回答间并没有数据上的差异,但是,研究者发现,“有招聘经验的美国参与者会对一直提到非工作部分的候选人给予负面评价,而有经验的印度参与者却不会。”除此之外,“对美国人来说,职位候选人如果尽量少提非工作相关事务,那他们进入下一轮竞争的机会就会增加,但对印度人来说,却不是这样。”

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Much more research needs to be done in this area, according to Heaphy, including these potential paths: When, and under what conditions, might cultural ideologies of professionalism change? Do men and women feel as though they have different leeway in terms of displaying personal items? And do different types of workplace items or discussions — say, ones related to sports or family — elicit different reactions when people are trying to make sense of professionalism?
希菲说,在这一领域还需要做更多研究,包括这些可能情况:何时,何种情况下,专业主义的文化意识形态会发生改变?男性与女性在办公区摆放私人物品时,他们是否会感到有不同的退路余地?办公物品或是讨论的不同类型,比如说运动或家庭相关的话题,是不是在人们理解专业主义时引发不同的反应?

Though I wouldn’t necessarily reserve judgment on the colleague who still uses a Discman.
尽管我并不会对用随身听的同事持保留意见。