Knowledge mandates in the state–profession dynamic: a study of the British insolvency profession

Joyce, Y. (2014) Knowledge mandates in the state–profession dynamic: a study of the British insolvency profession. Accounting, Organizations and Society, 39(8), pp. 590-614. (doi: 10.1016/j.aos.2014.06.001)

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At the beginning of the 21st century, the British Government was faced with significant policy decisions to make in the field of corporate insolvency. The impact of the American rescue culture and the acceptability of failure, the development of international insolvency laws within the European Union and localized problems inherent in current insolvency practice provided the impetus for legal reform. Using the work of Halliday (1985, 1987), this paper seeks to understand how professional knowledge and authority impact upon the state–profession relationship and the development and deployment of state policy. The British Government reacted to the global and local pressures with a shift to codification and prescription, greater enforcement of the legal system and an attempt to control and institutionalize insolvency practitioners’ moral authority. However in spite of radical reforms, insolvency practitioners’ services were retained and their private, expert knowledge systems and authority valorized over corporate management. Insolvency practitioners’ localized knowledge, the capacity to disguise moral authority as technical expertise and their networks and coalitions with senior members of Parliament and capital providers, resulted in an interpretation and implementation of legislation that has not seen the dramatic shift in practice that the reforms had envisaged. Despite the reforms being triggered within the global institutional sphere of corporate failure, the institutional sphere of corporate failure, at least in Scotland, retains a local definition, with business rescue packages derived from professionals’ social intelligence, their daily micropractices and localized networks.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Joyce, Professor Yvonne
Authors: Joyce, Y.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > Adam Smith Business School > Accounting and Finance
Journal Name:Accounting, Organizations and Society
Publisher:Elsevier Ltd.
ISSN (Online):1873-6289
First Published:First published in Accounting, Organizations and Society 39(8):590-614
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher

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