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    Committed to professionalism: Organizational responses of...
    research summary posted June 6, 2014 by Jennifer M Mueller-Phillips, tagged 05.0 Audit Team Composition, 05.08 Impact of Office Size, 11.0 Audit Quality and Quality Control 
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    Title:
    Committed to professionalism: Organizational responses of mid-tier accounting firms to conflicting institutional logics.
    Practical Implications:

    This study attempts to extend the current understanding of the impact of multiple institutional logics and the heterogeneity of organizational responses. The authors set out to investigate organizational responses by mid-tier accountancy firms in the face of conflicting institutional logics. Through the analysis of interviews with top management level informants and an investigation of secondary material, the authors make three main contributions:

    • Enhanced understanding of how the characteristics of accounting as a profession affect organizational resistance and change in mid-tier firms. 
    • Shed light on the concrete organizational responses in mid-tier firms to institutional change. 
    • Question the generalizability of PSF research. 

     

    Citation:

    Lander, M. W., B. A. Koene, and S. N. Linssen. 2013. Committed to professionalism: Organizational responses of mid-tier accounting firms to conflicting institutional logics. Accounting, Organizations and Society 38 (2).

    Keywords:
    professionalism; organizational structure; decision making
    Purpose of the Study:

    The accounting profession has recently come under increasing institutional pressure. Financial globalization along with technological innovation and a broad shift towards neo-liberal principles of market economics are changing the face of accounting. For many firms, this marks a change in their institutional environment that resulted in a shift in emphasis from the trustee logic to the commercial logic. This study attempts to determine how mid-tier accounting firms deal with these changes. 

    Design/Method/ Approach:

    The sample selected consisted of the 22 largest accounting firms listed directly behind the big 4 firms. The primary sources of data are interviews with 34 senior-level informants within 11 mid-tier accounting firms in the Netherlands. The informants were theoretically sampled on a number of characteristics. They needed to have insight in the strategic plans of the firms. Preferably, the informants needed to be managing partners and have decision making authority. They also needed to represent the different service areas of the firm. Using a two-step process, the researchers conducted the interviews with a focus on the following three questions:

    1. What forces for change are mentioned by the firm?
    2. What elements of the firm did these pressures influence?
    3. What were the organizational responses given by the firm?
    Findings:
    • For mid-tier accounting firms, there is a clash of logics and the drivers of this clash place divergent demands on the organizations. 
    • These mid-tier firms selectively adopt practices related to commercial logic, while retaining a principal commitment to the trustee logic. 
    • The interviews show how specific strategic choice opportunities serve as independent critical events framing practice-adoption decisions. 
    • Main strategic issues for the mid-tier firms relate to the changing role of the accountant and changes in organizational structure and practices. 
    Category:
    Audit Quality & Quality Control, Audit Team Composition
    Sub-category:
    Impact of Office Size
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