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Spatiality and accounting: The case of female segregation in audit firms

Agrizzi, Dila and Soobaroyen, Teerooven and Alsalloom, Abeer (2021) 'Spatiality and accounting: The case of female segregation in audit firms.' Accounting, Organizations and Society. ISSN 0361-3682

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This paper aims to examine how organizational ‘space’ is implicated in gendering practices in auditing and contributes to impeding the entry or progress of women within the profession. Specifically, we investigate how women auditors experience a formal segregation in the workplace in Big Four audit firms located in Saudi Arabia. Drawing upon and developing Lefebvre’s (1991) work on the ‘production of space’, we conceptualise spatiality both in terms of the physical environment and the social relations and subjective processes within these space(s). Our case reveals the interplay between the discourses and codifications of the ‘female-only section’ as a ‘well-intentioned’ locale of domination and control of female labour conceived by the State and firm managers, and how women auditors experience the physical manifestations of prohibition and divide, the hindrance of audit work and productivity and a constant anxiety about non-compliance to cultural diktats. Furthermore, the disconnect between professional activity and its attendant social relations, and forced homogenisation borne out of politico-religious rationales underlying the State’s spatial planning policies generate a gendered space which constrains the participation and development of women in the profession.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Spatiality, Workplace, Gender, Accounting profession, Audit firms, Saudi Arabia, Gendered space
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences > Essex Business School
Faculty of Social Sciences > Essex Business School > Essex Accounting Centre
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 22 Jan 2021 16:19
Last Modified: 12 Mar 2021 14:15

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