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

Bean counters or bright young things? Towards the visual study of identity construction among... 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. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Qualitative Research in Accounting & Management Emerald Publishing

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

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References (86)

Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © 2009 Emerald Group Publishing Limited. All rights reserved.
ISSN
1176-6093
DOI
10.1108/11766090910989491
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

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.

Journal

Qualitative Research in Accounting & ManagementEmerald Publishing

Published: Oct 2, 2009

Keywords: Accountants; Work identity; Photography; Visual media

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