ERIC Identifier: ED459377
Publication Date: 2001-09-00
Author: Clawson, Thomas W. - Jordan, Joseph
Clearinghouse on Counseling and Student Services Greensboro NC.
Globalization of Professions: A U.S. Perspective with the
Cyberworld in Mind. ERIC/CASS Digest.
For most Americans, the globalization of a profession is equated with
expansion of that profession into the international marketplace. For a variety
of reasons, the United State's longitudinally strong economic status has led to
a trade imbalance of more imports than exports, so therefore, we may logically
assume the globalization of professions may result in a similar deficit, making
the United States a marketplace for offshore credentialing.
While professional organizations are traditionally low-budget operations, the
advent of the World Wide Web has made feasible some of the following ideas about
how to bring service organizations and new disciplines into the U.S. mainstream.
This article will focus on the profession of counseling; there is little reason
to believe the ideas contained within will not apply to other professional
disciplines. Also, because counseling lends itself, for better or for worse, to
cyber applications, perhaps some of these ideas will be translated to other
helping professions interested in cyberspace expansion.
However, before introducing these ideas, it would be useful to introduce what
may be an unique idea to our readers: While Americans certainly play a role in
taking professions abroad, historically, Americans have not excelled in
globalizing professions. The historical reasons for this are numerous. For
example, we are often used to being the experts, which makes it hard to be the
student, giving us a reputation for one-sided thinking. Also, most of the time
we have "exported expertise" it has been a reaction to conflict or war, meaning
we have been asked for help rather than volunteering to enter into a mutually
beneficial partnership. Sometimes other countries were concerned about U.S.
imperialism and suspicious of importing U.S. expertise, which gave other
countries an advantage in a globalization of markets. Additionally, our weakness
at language, competitive rather than cooperative universities, and our 40-year
booming economy made us less likely to enter the world market.
Advances in worldwide communication (email, Internet, satellite
communication) have significantly eroded these historical barriers to
globalization of professions. Now is the time for offshore professions to come
to the U.S. with aspirations of introducing their style of education,
professional practice, professional societies, and regulatory practices.
Americans are intrigued with foreigners and foreign language/culture, and while
the U.S. may be resisted elsewhere, importation of professional societies and
its trappings to the U.S. usually does not meet with resistance from already
established professional groups. The Internet, satellites and travel make it
easy to avoid regulation, education is available for export to the U.S., and
foreign degrees are recognized and often sought.
Other reasons for globalization of professions abound. In the U.S., we have
23,000 associations and room for more. Foreign professional associations could
be a niche market for association management companies based in the U.S., as
many credentials are being created globally with a small-to-large market here in
the U.S. The American economy has two waves of professionals: Baby Boomers and
Generation Xer's, both of which are susceptible/receptive to new ideas. Also,
foreign contact raises the chance of foreign travel/living, both of which are
seen as desirable to an increasingly mobile population. Finally, foreign
associations may be seen as a way to explore the world in the safety of
While many professional certifying agencies are considering global expansion,
few have viable plans for how to accomplish this expansion. Therefore, one may
conclude that the world need not prepare itself for an onslaught of U.S.
Articulation of degrees is and has been a major obstacle in cross-cultural
education. Merely working in the U.S. environment does not prepare us for
"translating" what we do and how we are trained, as evidenced by the difficulty
some foreign professionals have in understanding the myriad of terms we employ
in the U.S. to describe our expertise in a particular area. Such terms as
certification, credential, accreditation, licensure, registry, federal, and
national abound. Additionally, U.S. companies often have difficulty in
understanding the potpourri of foreign educational degrees, diplomas, and
As professionals with global expertise, we have two mandates: Instructing our
members of professions with strategies for finding regulations and proper
credentials in foreign countries-and, in the same view-knowing who we, as
professionals, should turn to as foreign counterparts. For example, the U.S.
Chamber of Commerce, the embassies and consulates of most nations, and
international corporations can all be helpful sources of information on
instructing foreign applicants in how to translate their portfolios into
meaningful host-style applications.
Knowledge is the most flexible commodity to transfer globally. While a
hundred years ago professional conferences were necessary for information
exchange, the instant exchange of information offered by modern communication
has done away with the need for such meetings. Global transfer of information is
now possible with the click of a button or mouse, if you prefer. It is important
to note that one possible ramification of such ready access information
dissemination is the elimination of service providers such as hospitals and
architecture firms. This may place more professionals in the position to direct
market their services.
The immigration and emigration of professionals, increase in global product
trade, and the opening of previously closed markets (Korea, China, and South
America) confirms that the world truly is becoming a global community. As this
community develops and educational needs expand, it is likely current models
will predominate. However, as use of the Internet and World Wide Web continue to
expand, surely the electronic community will be a key portal for globalization
of all professions.
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