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See detailAt the boundaries of institutional theorizing: Individual entrepreneurship in episodes of regulatory change
Löhlein, Lukas; Muessig, Anke UL

in Accounting, Organizations and Society (2020), 83

We analyse the institutional dynamics surrounding the establishment of independent audit oversight in Germany from 1997 to 2016. Complementing prior works, which have focused on countries where the global ... [more ▼]

We analyse the institutional dynamics surrounding the establishment of independent audit oversight in Germany from 1997 to 2016. Complementing prior works, which have focused on countries where the global demand for independent regulation coincides with the domestic erosion of public trust in professional self-regulation, we investigate regulatory change in a context featuring strong trust in the accounting profession. To analyse the accounting establishment’s response to expanding global standards of accounting regulation and the escalating resistance of small accounting firms, as orchestrated by one individual, we mobilize a Bourdieusian field perspective and the literature on institutional entrepreneurship. By demonstrating how intra-professional conflict has increasingly eroded the establishment’s capital to reproduce its hegemonic field position and keep the regulator at distance, our case provides a counterpoint to prior research, which suggests that oversight is mainly the product of negotiations between a unified profession and the regulatory authority. Examining a rare instance of individual entrepreneurship also enables us to engage in a theory-testing process on the explanatory power of institutional ambiguitiesdthe subjectively perceived ruptures and contradictions within established social arrangementsdfor agency. Our findings suggest that ongoing encounters with institutional ambiguities result in varying disposition to activism. In this way, while acknowledging agency as a cause of field reproduction and change, our analysis shifts attention towards the relational, temporal, and transformational institutional dynamics that constitute distinct modes of agency. By identifying empirical residuals that seem to escape theorization, we also reveal the limits of institutional theorizing. [less ▲]

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See detailUnderstanding audit oversight transformation : ramifications of institutional work and the power of (de-)mythologizing
Löhlein, Lukas; Muessig, Anke UL

E-print/Working paper (2017)

This study investigates the dynamics that transformed audit oversight in Germany from an instrument, organized by the profession, to maintain international legitimacy into a regulatory regime that is ... [more ▼]

This study investigates the dynamics that transformed audit oversight in Germany from an instrument, organized by the profession, to maintain international legitimacy into a regulatory regime that is integrated into the state apparatus. While prior research has focused on countries where the global demand for oversight structures overlapped with local pressures for regulatory reforms, we examine the diffusion of patterns of control within a context that is characterized by a strong mythologized belief in the German qualified statutory auditor and professional self-regulation. By analysing archival documents and interviews with key actors, we investigate through the lens of institutional work how initially the audit establishment maintained the existing self-regulatory logic despite, and because of, the implementation of formal independent oversight structures. We illustrate how the institutional work of small auditors aimed at disrupting the large audit firms’ field dominance unintentionally undermined the mythologized self-regulation. In doing so, we offer insights into how institutional myth is both constructed and dismantled. Our focus on multiple actors allows us to shed light on how parallel institutional work of distinct actors can lead to mutually effective and unintended institutional consequences. We argue that a successful institutional worker executes a combination of two basic types of work, which we refer to as existential and instrumental modes of work. Finally, comparing our findings with literature on audit oversight in other countries allows us to conceptualize audit oversight along a political-operational dimension and a public-private dimension. [less ▲]

Detailed reference viewed: 102 (7 UL)