How auditors legitimize commercialism: A micro-discursive analysis
Simon Dermarkar and
CRITICAL PERSPECTIVES ON ACCOUNTING, 2022, vol. 83, issue C
This study draws on Berger and Luckmann’s (1966) social constructivism and on Van Leeuwen’s (2007) work on the discursive forms of legitimation to examine how individual auditors explain and justify the prevalence of commercialism in their audit firms and profession. The literature on commercialism in auditing addresses the question of how it has been institutionalized and legitimized at the macro-level of the accounting field (e.g., Cooper & Robson, 2006; Guo, 2016; Malsch & Gendron, 2013; Suddaby et al., 2007). However, this literature does not explore the micro-level processes through which auditors justify their own commercialism. Thus, it overlooks the central role that individual subjectivity and interpretation play in the maintenance and transmission of institutional logics (Bévort & Suddaby, 2016; Thornton & Ocasio, 2008). In our view, this has prevented accounting scholars from developing a more meaningful conceptualization of the relationship between auditors’ commercialism and their professionalism, one that goes beyond the apparently clashing imperatives of these two logics. The findings of our study suggest that the positive values auditors attribute to the logic of commercialism blur the distinction between their commercial and their professional commitments, so that the notion of a fundamental conflict between their commercialism and their public interest mission comes to be seen as almost absurd. Overall, our analysis of the ways that professionalism and commercialism intertwine with each other in auditors’ daily lives suggests that the relationship between these two logics is much more complex than previously assumed.
Keywords: Commercialism; Accounting profession; Discursive legitimation; professionalism (search for similar items in EconPapers)
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:eee:crpeac:v:83:y:2022:i:c:s1045235420300769
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