The impact of COVID-19 on professionalism in practice and future directions

James Uhomoibhi, Linda Odhiambo Hooper, Soheir Ghallab, Margaret Ross, Geoff Staples

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Abstract

Purpose: This paper seeks to assess the level of impact of COVID-19 pandemic on professional practice for members of professional organisations and the general public in the conduct of business. Investigations into practice using events, attendance records and registered views are carried out. The aim is to identify the challenges and actions being taken to mitigate against them in moving from physical (face-to-face) to virtual (online) mode of operations. Design/methodology/approach: The past two years have seen a complete change in the way we live from life at home, at work and in education. This has impacted the way professional organisations now conduct business including the need to revise ways of upskilling and sustaining practice. Core to all of this is the role of computing and communication for all persons in all works of life. The current study focusses on professional activities and support provided to members of British Computer Society (BCS), The Chartered Institute for IT. The authors examine the events provided, the conduct support provided to members and the general public. The method includes use of surveys of all stakeholders and analysis of data obtained. Findings: The onset of COVID-19 pandemic was perceived as a real shock for everyone everywhere. Contrary to expectations, faced with the reality of having to do everyone online, the current study found that there were observed increased in the number of activities of professional organisations worldwide. Most interesting is that fact that the number of people participating in these events was found to be increasing using e-learning and other associated online tools and resources. Participants of these events were no longer restricted to local members but widespread globally. There was the appetite for more events to be put up and willingness for more individual and groups to volunteer and/or participate. Research limitations/implications: The limitations of current study are that only a few of the many activities have been investigated in this one professional body, BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT. The fact that more events are now being carried out for the many groups and branches implies a lot more digital data would be available for further study to inform developments of members and the general public. Practical implications: The impact of COVID-19 pandemic is a huge and evolving. It remains and presents a complicated case for the world to deal with. Amongst the many realities is that living life online has become a new normal and one everybody must learn to adjust to. Professional organisations such as the BCS would need to think of not only their members but also the general public and how well society and business can be sustained going forward. This involves considering developments of educational resources and appropriate platforms to meet the needs of the public, private and the voluntary sectors in society. Social implications: Due to restricted physical (face-to-face) interactions, previously developed processes would require reviewing. New informed policies would need to be developed and implemented by professional organisations on revised practices resulting from impact of the pandemic. The emanating global participation from local activities presents challenges involving time, space (geographical location) and cultural differences. The digital divide that exists in society and access to the fast and reliable Internet services are also worth considering. Originality/value: The impact of COVID-19 on professional practice applied to education and business is important in the face of the many and varied challenges everyone is facing everywhere in the world. This has been intense at home and at work globally. Although the true cause is yet to be established, it is important that ways to address challenges and continue with life are found and implemented. This paper establishes some of the impacts and present recommendations that are useful in forging ahead for people in the information technology profession.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Information and Learning Technology
Early online date18 Oct 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished online - 18 Oct 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, Emerald Publishing Limited.

Keywords

  • Case Study
  • COVID-19
  • BCS
  • Continuous professional development
  • Professional bodies
  • E-learning
  • e-learning

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