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The institutionalisation of commercialism in the audit profession : How auditors constitute the commercial self in a large Chinese audit firm

Wen, Wenjun LU (2020) In Journal of Accounting in Emerging Economies 10(2). p.191-205
Abstract

Purpose: Previous literature on the commercialisation of the audit profession has focused on the coercive force of macro-institutional structures. The purpose of this paper is to focus on the agency of individual auditors and examine their active construction of the commercial self in a Big Four audit firm in China. Design/methodology/approach: This paper applied a qualitative research approach to data collection and analysis. A total of 17 interviews were conducted with senior auditors, managers, directors and partners to generate a rich narrative. Findings: This study analyses prevalent discourses identified in the Chinese organisational setting and finds that, within the “clan-like” structure of the audit engagement team, three... (More)

Purpose: Previous literature on the commercialisation of the audit profession has focused on the coercive force of macro-institutional structures. The purpose of this paper is to focus on the agency of individual auditors and examine their active construction of the commercial self in a Big Four audit firm in China. Design/methodology/approach: This paper applied a qualitative research approach to data collection and analysis. A total of 17 interviews were conducted with senior auditors, managers, directors and partners to generate a rich narrative. Findings: This study analyses prevalent discourses identified in the Chinese organisational setting and finds that, within the “clan-like” structure of the audit engagement team, three recurring discourses (i.e. the client relationship, adding value and career) were powerful scripts in constructing individual subjectivity wherein the “professionalism” ideal was re-enacted to rationalise the incorporation of more commercialistic elements. Research limitations/implications: This study collected interviews representing various perspectives within a Big Four audit firm in China. Nonetheless, the scope of this study was limited to certain types of audit firms at certain times. Originality/value: This study demonstrates that the scripts are not just a matter of self-presentation, but important sources of self-formation and self-definition. Rather than being imposed externally, “commercial selves” are actively constructed by individual auditors, leading to the institutionalisation of commercialism in the audit profession at the micro level.

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Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
Audit profession, China, Commercialization, Identity
in
Journal of Accounting in Emerging Economies
volume
10
issue
2
pages
15 pages
publisher
Emerald Group Publishing Limited
external identifiers
  • scopus:85073947806
ISSN
2042-1168
DOI
10.1108/JAEE-02-2019-0049
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
79931e86-3650-46ad-9506-2dc194b824b1
date added to LUP
2019-11-06 13:50:17
date last changed
2020-11-18 14:58:34
@article{79931e86-3650-46ad-9506-2dc194b824b1,
  abstract     = {<p>Purpose: Previous literature on the commercialisation of the audit profession has focused on the coercive force of macro-institutional structures. The purpose of this paper is to focus on the agency of individual auditors and examine their active construction of the commercial self in a Big Four audit firm in China. Design/methodology/approach: This paper applied a qualitative research approach to data collection and analysis. A total of 17 interviews were conducted with senior auditors, managers, directors and partners to generate a rich narrative. Findings: This study analyses prevalent discourses identified in the Chinese organisational setting and finds that, within the “clan-like” structure of the audit engagement team, three recurring discourses (i.e. the client relationship, adding value and career) were powerful scripts in constructing individual subjectivity wherein the “professionalism” ideal was re-enacted to rationalise the incorporation of more commercialistic elements. Research limitations/implications: This study collected interviews representing various perspectives within a Big Four audit firm in China. Nonetheless, the scope of this study was limited to certain types of audit firms at certain times. Originality/value: This study demonstrates that the scripts are not just a matter of self-presentation, but important sources of self-formation and self-definition. Rather than being imposed externally, “commercial selves” are actively constructed by individual auditors, leading to the institutionalisation of commercialism in the audit profession at the micro level.</p>},
  author       = {Wen, Wenjun},
  issn         = {2042-1168},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {2},
  pages        = {191--205},
  publisher    = {Emerald Group Publishing Limited},
  series       = {Journal of Accounting in Emerging Economies},
  title        = {The institutionalisation of commercialism in the audit profession : How auditors constitute the commercial self in a large Chinese audit firm},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/JAEE-02-2019-0049},
  doi          = {10.1108/JAEE-02-2019-0049},
  volume       = {10},
  year         = {2020},
}