White Collars, Dirty Hands: A Grounded Neo - Institutional Theory of Misconduct in Professional Service Firms

52 Pages Posted: 19 Nov 2007

See all articles by Pursey P.M.A.R. Heugens

Pursey P.M.A.R. Heugens

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) - Rotterdam School of Management (RSM)

Niki Den Nieuwenboer

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) - Rotterdam School of Management (RSM)

Muel Kaptein

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) - Rotterdam School of Management (RSM)

Date Written: November 19, 2007

Abstract

We develop a grounded neo-institutional theory explaining the occurrence of misconduct in professional service firms. The theory harbors two novel insights. First, parallel governance structures, which are presently the norm in many professional fields, aggravate rather than dampen misconduct. Second, decoupling and institutional disruption are both necessary and jointly sufficient conditions for the emergence of misconduct. The empirical evidence supporting our theory derives from in-depth interviews with 65 professionals working for Dutch auditing, law, and consultancy firms and corroboratory data sources.

Keywords: professional service firms, institutional theory, neo-institutial theory, misconduct, business ethics, old institutionalism, new institutionalism

Suggested Citation

Heugens, Pursey P.M.A.R. and Den Nieuwenboer, Niki and Kaptein, Muel, White Collars, Dirty Hands: A Grounded Neo - Institutional Theory of Misconduct in Professional Service Firms (November 19, 2007). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1031066 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1031066

Pursey P.M.A.R. Heugens (Contact Author)

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) - Rotterdam School of Management (RSM) ( email )

P.O. Box 1738
Room T08-21
3000 DR Rotterdam, 3000 DR
Netherlands
0031 10 408 2365 (Phone)
0031 10 408 9012 (Fax)

Niki Den Nieuwenboer

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) - Rotterdam School of Management (RSM) ( email )

P.O. Box 1738
Room T08-21
3000 DR Rotterdam, 3000 DR
Netherlands

Muel Kaptein

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) - Rotterdam School of Management (RSM) ( email )

P.O. Box 1738
Room T11-53
3000 DR Rotterdam, 3000 DR
Netherlands
+31 10 408 1923 (Phone)

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