Diversity within the Accountancy Profession: an institutional logics approach

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Historically, the accountancy profession has portrayed itself as an “elite” profession where homogeneity is embraced. However, in recent times, The Big Four signal that they are moving away from the homogeneity of the past and are currently embracing diversity. This research addresses this matter by examining the institutionalization process of diversity within the accountancy profession. Insights are derived from the institutional logics perspective, which resulted in three logics that are of main relevance within the accountancy profession: (1) the logic of the state, (2) the logic of the corporation and (3) the logic of professionalism (Thornton et al., 2012). This research makes use of qualitative research methods where data has been obtained from the Big Four’s social media sites, websites and annual reports. The results show that the Big Four frame diversity around six central themes: (1) stories of diversity as “being your whole self” and “being authentic”; (2) the client case for diversity; (3) the business case for diversity; (4) diversity as “feeling at home”; (5) diversity as a network; (6) diversity as the “right thing to do”. These central themes act as starting points of diversity policies and, therefore, drive the institutionalization process. Which in turn define and shape the embedding of diversity within the accountancy profession.
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