By Talcott Parsons
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Additional resources for Action Theory and the Human Condition
Corporate action is - typically taken by the "democratic" procedure of one member, one vote. " In both cases, there is sharp contrast with "executive" decision-making. The collegial pattern of organization of professional groups is, in tum, linked with another common structural theme permeating the complex. This involves the professional individual in membership in a common solidary collectivity. This is most obvious in the case of the teaching function. The student is "admitted" to the college or school.
Not only new but more daring and, presumptively at least until fully tested, riskier procedures are increasingly being employed. Organ transplants are, of course, the most commonly discussed example today. Another reason for the increasing concern with these problem is the rapid growth of research in the behavioral and social sciences. Almost in the nature of the case, such research makes use of human subjects over a wide range. For example, the concern with child development and various aspects of education involves very sensitive areas.
Similarly, it is clear, in an academic type of organization, faculty members within their own departments, or more generally within the faculty, stand in a status different from that of students on the one hand and administrative personnel of the academic organization on the other. On occasion, and for certain purposes, of course, all members of a professional group may be collegial equals, as would be the case for licensed physicians, vis-a-vis government, in enjoying a common right to engage in the practice of medicine.