Resisting the Auditing Industry: The Case of the Sound Diffusion Action Group

23 Pages Posted: 21 Sep 2003


Protest groups and political activism are a common feature of modern societies. In pursuit of rights, justice and fairness, loosely organised protest groups frequently mount resistance to challenge contemporary power relations. In contrast, little is known about the actions of any protest groups challenging the hegemony of the UK accountancy firms who enjoy a statutory monopoly of the external audit function. Against the background of the contested terrain of auditor/accountant liability to third parties, this paper examines the formation and the actions of the Sound Diffusion Action Group (SDAG) which mobilised a group of small UK investors to seek compensation from an accountancy firm for alleged failures. Despite having little financial and legal resource, the SDAG organised nearly 2,000 court cases to secure compensation. The SDAG's tactics, modes of organisation and engagement offer some reflections on how ordinary people develop strategies to resist major organisations. The case study also offers some reflections upon the state-profession relationship.

JEL Classification: M41, M49, G10, G18

Suggested Citation

Sikka, Prem, Resisting the Auditing Industry: The Case of the Sound Diffusion Action Group. Available at SSRN:

Prem Sikka (Contact Author)

Essex Business School ( email )

Wivenhoe Park
Colchester CO4 3SQ
United Kingdom

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