Does the concept of professionalism apply to the creative industries?

Aidan Keen
3 min readNov 2, 2020

What is professionalism?

It would be hard to argue that professionalism is not one of the core objectives that everyone within the industry strives for and expects in return, but what exactly is professionalism?

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, professionalism can be defined as;

the conduct, aims, or qualities that characterise or mark a profession or a professional person

With an understanding of this definition, within the industry the bare minimum expected from everyone is to treat each other with respect and to conduct yourself in a professional manner. However, this seems basic and leaves the definition open to interpretation.

Why is professionalism important?

The International Game Developers Association’s (IGDA) core values webpage sums up the definition in a way that is more specific to the industry;

As development professionals, we espouse conduct that is honorable and ethical and beneficial to the profession, the industry, and society at large.

This definition more clearly states that professionalism is quite simply how someone conducts and carries themselves, not only within their career but also within their day to day lives. This would include having good manners, good timekeeping and an approachable and friendly personality, while also having more professional qualities such as conducting themselves well within teams, completing deadlines and having an overall high quality of work.

A team consisting of members that carry themselves this way will be less likely to have gripes or problems with other employees, and a team that does not have any bad relationships will always produce work to a higher level than one that does, this is especially the case with teams working on long term projects as tensions are more than likely only going to worsen over time.

With everyone working to the same standard and level of quality will also ensure that team members are also more helpful to each other as someone who is less punctual or friendly than the rest of the team is less likely to be able to ask another team member to help them with a piece of work if they are struggling or falling behind with a deadline.

Codes of Conduct

The International Game Developers Association is the most joined organisation within the games development industry, this is important as every member who joins the association must abide by their code of conduct. The main aims of this code of conduct are geared towards growth of the industry through sharing and exchanging knowledge and ideas, while also making sure all members are equal and that there is no discrimination or intolerance aimed at any one person or group of people.