The Professions, Globalisation and Imperialism

Saturday, 4 July 2015: 8:30 AM-10:00 AM
CLM.3.07 (Clement House)
Mehdi Boussebaa, University of Bath, Bath, United Kingdom
Purpose – This paper draws on insights from critical accounting research to ground the globalisation of the professions and professional service firms more firmly within the history and actuality of imperialism. In so doing, the paper also helps in linking specialist accounting scholarship with multi-disciplinary debates in the wider field of management and organisation studies (MOS).

Design/methodology/approach – This is a desk based study of existing literature on the globalisation of the professions and professional service firms analysed through the lens of imperialism via an exploration of specialist research on the accounting profession.

Findings – The paper identifies a rich vein of research in the accounting literature that can usefully be drawn on to better inform the study of globalisation in the professional services sector and, in particular, to develop existing debates on the relationship between the professions and institutional change at the global level.

Research implications – The implications of this paper are that the nature of the professions and professional services firms is further illuminated, especially their role in (re-)producing imperialism in a supposedly post-imperial world. Further, the paper puts forward an agenda for future research on the relationship between the professions, globalisation and imperialism.

Originality/value – This is the first attempt to draw together critical studies of globalisation in the field of accounting with professions-focused research in the more generalist field of MOS. The paper also contributes to developing the emerging body of postcolonial theorising in the field of international business and MOS more generally.