From purists to players? How service industry professionals develop social skills for informal client relationships.

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Abstract

Developing informal client relationships is an essential social skill for service industry professionals, such as accountants. This skill can be considered a form of 'social knowledge', a key enabler in facilitating communications, and helping professionals distinguish themselves from competitors. In this paper, we study how service professionals in the accounting industry develop their social skills in relating to clients, and how they thereby cope with conflicting demands: on the one hand, market and commercial pressures entice accountants to engage more in informal client relationship development, while on the other, these very relationships are restricted through increasingly strict regulation and professional codes of conduct. We explain how different categories of accountants - purists and players - cope with this tension in their social practices, and how they develop new approaches toward informal client relationships.
LanguageEnglish
Pages40-62
JournalInternational Journal of Management Concepts and Philosophy
Volume9
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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Service industries
Social skills
Accountants
Relationship development
Social practice
Codes of conduct
Communication
Professional services
Competitors
Industry
Enablers

Cite this

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