Blurred Roles and Elusive Boundaries: On Contemporary Forms of Oversight Surrounding Professional Work
Mouna Hazgui, Yves Gendron (2015) Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, Vol. 28 Iss: 8, pp.1234-1262
35 Pages Posted: 3 Feb 2016 Last revised: 29 Oct 2019
Date Written: 2015
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to extend research on contemporary forms of oversight surrounding professional work in an era characterized by increased skepticism regarding professional claims and the rise of independent regulatory authorities. The authors investigate the interplay between key actors as well as the shifting role boundaries in a distinct regulatory space, following the introduction of a new public oversight framework.
Design/methodology/approach – The analysis draws on the notions of regulatory space and boundary work to better understand the development of independent audit oversight in France. The authors adopted an interpretive approach to conduct a longitudinal case study based on 33 interviews and documentary data produced from 2003 to 2012.
Findings – The study provides a narrative of the boundary work carried out by the French audit profession as it tried to reinvent its role in the new regulatory order. In the case, boundary work engendered a hybrid regulatory pattern, named “co-regulation,” reflecting both the logic of independent regulation and the logic of self-regulation. The main consequence of this is that zones of mutual involvement were constructed – thereby suggesting that to become a reality, independent oversight of professional work needs to accept some operational dependence from professionals.
Originality/value – The study illustrates the elusiveness of boundaries surrounding actors’ role within contemporary forms of professional regulation. More generally, hybrid development suggests that professions are proactive and, to some extent, successful when it comes to developing alliances and manipulating changes within their regulatory space.
Keywords: Professional associations, Accounting and auditing regulation, Boundary work, Independent oversight, Professional regulation, Regulatory space
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