Colonization contests: How both accounting and law firms gain legitimacy in the market for forensic accounting

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Abstract

Considerable research attention has been devoted to the processes of so-called colonization yet, in order to explain the success and transformation of large accounting firms into large conglomerate Professional Service Firms (PSFs). However, we still know little about how these processes may be contested. Drawing on a rhetorical perspective of legitimacy and on in-depth interviews with high-level members of leading accounting and law firms in the forensic accounting market in the Netherlands, our research identifies various rhetorical devices used by these firms to expand and/or defend their legitimacy in a common market, by simultaneously seeking to promote competition and collaboration. By showing how these rhetorical devices relate to the evolving field dynamics, this study provides a deeper and more nuanced understanding of the desired outcomes and primary means of achieving them that are central to colonization contests between PSFs.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberjoz001
Pages (from-to)49-71
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Professions and Organization
Volume6
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2019

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