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Bean counters or bright young things?: Towards the visual study of identity construction among professional accountants

Warren, Samantha and Parker, Lee (2009) 'Bean counters or bright young things?: Towards the visual study of identity construction among professional accountants.' Qualitative Research in Accounting & Management, 6 (4). pp. 205-223. ISSN 1176-6093

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Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to put forward a “next step” research agenda for investigating accountants' professional identity. Design/methodology/approach – The visual nature of identity construction is discussed, issues of media stereotyping are revisited and recruitment/educational implications are reviewed. Attention is also paid to the accounting profession's attempts to change perceptions of the accounting identity. Findings – A hybrid strategy of research participant generated photographs and semi-structured interviews is exemplified as a fruitful methodology and outlined as a way forward for tapping into the identity construction processes and perceptions of accountants from their particular perspectives. Research limitations/implications – The paper is intended to stimulate further research into accountants' identities from a visual perspective. However, it does not directly report on empirical findings. Practical implications – Questions of identity construction offer us a window into the degree to which public stereotypes are matched by professional accountants' own personal definitions and the bearing these may have on current and future career intentions. Such insights can provide foundations for a range of profession policy issues spanning recruitment, retention, training and professional development. Originality/value – This paper proposes a visual methodology not employed in accounting research before and addresses the neglected area of accountants' identities as individual professionals.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Accountants; photography; visual media; work identity
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HF Commerce > HF5601 Accounting
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences > Essex Business School
Depositing User: Clare Chatfield
Date Deposited: 21 Jun 2013 15:13
Last Modified: 21 Jun 2013 15:13

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