Personal information and the professional relationship: issues of trust, privacy and welfare

Cynthia Bisman

in Private and confidential?

Published by Policy Press

Published in print July 2008 | ISBN: 9781861349064
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781447303077 | DOI:
Personal information and the professional relationship: issues of trust, privacy and welfare

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This chapter explores the meaning and value of privacy in professional relationships. Rights of privacy allow for individual choice in deciding whether to share personal information with others. This provides individuals with some control over the flow of information about themselves, and confers on privacy a particular authority in protecting individual identity and sense of self. Grounding privacy and professional relationships within an ethical and moral framework clarifies how they contribute to social welfare and the social good. Virtue ethics can inform an understanding of privacy as a personal right and a public interest, and allows us to see how professional relationships without privacy protections may exacerbate inequalities and oppression while rendering impossible the job of the professional. Relational theory and the ethics of caring are presented as some of the current instructive approaches to understanding professional relationships. Finally, the chapter emphasises the importance of confidentiality as a foundational component of professional relationships, and discusses the responsibilities of professionals with respect to informed consent and autonomy.

Keywords: information sharing; social welfare; social good; virtue ethics; relational theory; ethics of caring; confidentiality

Chapter.  6963 words. 

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