Transnational contexts for professional identity development in accounting

SAGE Publications
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Organization Studies, 2015, 36, (11), pp. 1577-1597
Issue Date:
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Global expansion in the boundaries of professional work, the introduction of managerial concepts and thinking, and changes in the organizational form of professional service firms all impact the process by which professionals come to identify with their profession. The focus of this paper is on transnational professional careers and professional identity development, which remain an under-researched aspect of how globalization affects the professions. Based on original survey data from Australia, we chart the influence of social and organizational contexts on professional identity development for migrant and local accounting professionals respectively. Findings suggest that unlike the “boundaryless” opportunities associated with globe-trotting professionals, the majority of professional migrants are significantly constrained by the organizational and inter-subjective settings in which they work. Theoretically, we extend the concept of professional identity development to include not only formative early career experiences, but also large institutional jolts such as those provided by migration. Findings also help expand current understandings of organizations as sites of professionalization by shedding light on their impact on transnational careers.
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