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


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Keywords :
audit oversight; institutional work; institutional disruption; institutional maintenance; audit establishment; small- and medium-sized practices
Abstract :
[en] 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.
Research center :
Disciplines :
Accounting & auditing
Author, co-author :
Löhlein, Lukas;  WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management > Institute of Management Accounting and Control (IMC)
Muessig, Anke ;  University of Luxembourg > Faculty of Law, Economics and Finance (FDEF) > Center for Research in Economic Analysis (CREA)
Language :
Title :
Understanding audit oversight transformation : ramifications of institutional work and the power of (de-)mythologizing
Publication date :
17 May 2017
Number of pages :
Focus Area :
Entrepreneurship and Innovation / Audit
Name of the research project :
R-AGR-0167 - IRP12 - Auditoversight (20120501-20180530) - MUESSIG Anke
Funders :
University of Luxembourg - UL
Available on ORBilu :
since 29 May 2017


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