The presentation of the self and professional identity: countering the accountant’s stereotype

Parker, L. D. and Warren, S. (2017) The presentation of the self and professional identity: countering the accountant’s stereotype. Accounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal, 30(8), pp. 1895-1924. (doi: 10.1108/AAAJ-09-2016-2720)

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Purpose: As its central objective, this study explores the intersection of professional values and career roles in accountants’ presentations of their professional identity, in the face of enduring stereotyping of the accounting role. Design/methodology/approach: This study presents a qualitative investigation of accountants’ construction of their professional identities and imagery using a Goffmanian dramaturgical perspective. Viewing professional identity construction as a presentational matter of impression management, the investigation employs a reflexive photo-interviewing methodology. Findings: Accountants use a variety of workplace dramatization, idealization and mystification strategies inside and outside the workplace to counter the traditional accounting stereotype. They also attempt to develop a professional identity that is a subset of their overall life values. Research limitations/implications: Their professional orientation is found to embrace role reconstruction and revised image mystification while not necessarily aiming for upward professional mobility. This has implications for understanding the career trajectories of contemporary accountants with associated implications for continuing professional development and education. Originality/value: The paper focuses on professional role, identity, values and image at the individual accountant level, while most prior research has focussed upon these issues at the macro association-wide level. In offering the first use of reflexive photo-interviewing method in the accounting research literature, it brings the prospect of having elicited different and possibly more reflective observations, reflections and understandings from actors not otherwise possible from more conventional methods.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Parker, Professor Lee
Authors: Parker, L. D., and Warren, S.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > Adam Smith Business School > Accounting and Finance
Journal Name:Accounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal
ISSN (Online):0951-3574
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2017 Emerald Publishing Limited
First Published:First published in Accounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal 30(8): 1895-1924
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the publisher copyright policy

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