Dual Roles and Blurred Identities: A Framing Contest between Professional Associations in a Local Strategic Action Field

European Accounting Review, Forthcoming

51 Pages Posted: 2 Feb 2021

See all articles by Georg Loscher

Georg Loscher

University of the German Federal Armed Forces - Universität der Bundeswehr München

Lukas Loehlein

WHU - Otto Beisheim School of Management

Hansrudi Lenz

University of Würzburg - Business Administration & Economics

Date Written: November 30, 2018

Abstract

This paper examines professional associations’ local responses to global demands of audit standardization. Our longitudinal study from 1998 to 2018 analyses how professional associations of the German audit profession engaged in an intense framing contest over the adoption of external quality controls. Drawing on the concept of strategic action field and the literature on framing, we unpack how the gap between large audit firms and small audit firms increasingly undermined the capacity of the traditional professional associations to fulfill their dual role of governance and representation. We unveil how their failed attempt to maintain the image of a single, unified profession ultimately led to the creation of a new professional association representing the “small auditor” professional, which successfully, albeit temporarily, took control over the field of German auditing. Our findings suggest that the passivity of small audit firms in the process of translating global modes of audit regulation should not be presumed. Rather, we provide insight into how small audit firms can rebuild their own distinct identity by actively responding to waves of global audit regulation. Doing so, and contrary to prior research, our case suggests that governance units within strategic action fields are not necessarily aligned with the interests of the most powerful field actors.

Keywords: strategic action field, professional association, framing strategies, audit profession, internal governance unit

Suggested Citation

Loscher, Georg and Loehlein, Lukas and Lenz, Hansrudi, Dual Roles and Blurred Identities: A Framing Contest between Professional Associations in a Local Strategic Action Field (November 30, 2018). European Accounting Review, Forthcoming, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3769369 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3769369

Georg Loscher (Contact Author)

University of the German Federal Armed Forces - Universität der Bundeswehr München ( email )

Werner-Heisenberg-Weg 39
Neubiberg
Munich, 85579
Germany
004960044203 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.unibw.de/personalmanagement

Lukas Loehlein

WHU - Otto Beisheim School of Management ( email )

Burgplatz 2
Vallendar, 56179
Germany

Hansrudi Lenz

University of Würzburg - Business Administration & Economics ( email )

Sanderring 2
Wuerzburg, D-97070
Germany
+49 931 831 29 41 (Phone)
+49 931 831 29 42 (Fax)

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