Caring about Clients

Mike W. Martin

in Meaningful Work

Published in print March 2000 | ISBN: 9780195133257
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199848706 | DOI:

Series: Practical and Professional Ethics

Caring about Clients

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Professionals might be competent without caring very much about their clients. To be sure, professional services typically require a show of personal concern, but it might be only a show. Although it contains a substantial element of truth, this perspective on professional-client relationships is one-sided and distorted. Because it involves motives and attitudes, as well as conduct, caring about clients cannot be part of the uniform duties demanded of all members of a profession. This chapter clarifies what it means to care about clients as persons, highlighting how caring professionals relate their services to clients' wider good, which is affirmed as such. It also discusses some connections between caring and respect for autonomy, the most widely discussed procedural norm governing professional-client relationships. Rather than sufficing as a full moral perspective, caring is guided and limited by respect for autonomy. Conversely, respect for autonomy implies caring, in general, and caring and respect are interwoven within a complex web of moral values. This chapter also considers the unified good, caring and justice, trust, and respect.

Keywords: caring; professional-client relationships; professional services; autonomy; professionals; moral values; justice; unified good

Chapter.  6266 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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