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Bean counters or bright young things?: Towards the visual study of identity construction among professional accountants

Author

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  • Samantha Warren
  • Lee Parker

Abstract

Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to put forward a “next step” research agenda for investigating accountants' professional identity. Design/methodology/approach - The visual nature of identity construction is discussed, issues of media stereotyping are revisited and recruitment/educational implications are reviewed. Attention is also paid to the accounting profession's attempts to change perceptions of the accounting identity. Findings - A hybrid strategy of research participant generated photographs and semi-structured interviews is exemplified as a fruitful methodology and outlined as a way forward for tapping into the identity construction processes and perceptions of accountants from their particular perspectives. Research limitations/implications - The paper is intended to stimulate further research into accountants' identities from a visual perspective. However, it does not directly report on empirical findings. Practical implications - Questions of identity construction offer us a window into the degree to which public stereotypes are matched by professional accountants' own personal definitions and the bearing these may have on current and future career intentions. Such insights can provide foundations for a range of profession policy issues spanning recruitment, retention, training and professional development. Originality/value - This paper proposes a visual methodology not employed in accounting research before and addresses the neglected area of accountants' identities as individual professionals.

Suggested Citation

  • Samantha Warren & Lee Parker, 2009. "Bean counters or bright young things?: Towards the visual study of identity construction among professional accountants," Qualitative Research in Accounting & Management, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 6(4), pages 205-223, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:eme:qrampp:v:6:y:2009:i:4:p:205-223
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    8. Preston, Alistair M. & Cooper, David J. & Coombs, Rod W., 1992. "Fabricating budgets: A study of the production of management budgeting in the national health service," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 17(6), pages 561-593, August.
    9. Andrew L. Friedman & Stephen R. Lyne, 1997. "Activity-based techniques and the death of the beancounter," European Accounting Review, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 6(1), pages 19-44, May.
    10. Michael Humphreys, 2002. "Dress and Identity: A Turkish Case Study," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 39(7), pages 927-952, November.
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    Cited by:

    1. Mouhcine Tallaki & Enrico Bracci & Monia Castellini, 2015. "Accounting learning preferences: the role of visualisation," Working Papers 2015094, University of Ferrara, Department of Economics.
    2. Adela Breuer & Mihaela Lesconi Frumusanu & Andra Manciu, 2013. "The Role Of Management Accounting In The Decision Making Process: Case Study Caras Severin County," Annales Universitatis Apulensis Series Oeconomica, Faculty of Sciences, "1 Decembrie 1918" University, Alba Iulia, vol. 2(15), pages 1-1.

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