Does Economic Rationalization Decrease or Increase Accounting Professionals’ Occupational Values?

Journal of Business Ethics:1-15 (forthcoming)

Following corporate accounting scandals there has been an increasing concern with understanding the factors that undermine the occupational values of accounting professionals, which emphasize self-transcendence in the pursuit of public good and openness to change in the pursuit of autonomy and creativity. Prior studies have demonstrated that these values are undermined in economically rationalized organizational environments. Our study advances this research by examining how accounting professionals’ occupational values are influenced by the economic rationalization of countries where they are employed. While economic rationalization of countries is recognized as a key macrostructural, social-level influence on individual values, the theory is divided regarding its normative effects. While economic rationalization may decrease the priority of occupational values by transforming professional action in accordance with the calculative logic of economic rationality, it can also increase the priority of these values by providing resources necessary for freeing professionals from the material constraints of survival. We test these divergent insights using the European Social Survey data for 28 countries. Our results indicate that economic rationalization decrease accountants’ occupational values beyond the effects of cultural values and work-related characteristics.
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DOI 10.1007/s10551-017-3729-6
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