This paper offers insights into the accounting profession’s recent trend of establishing young-professionals boards. Our study uses rich fieldwork data to provide an in-depth analysis of how a committee of young accountants (the Young Profs), embedded in the Dutch professional institute, attempts to achieve relevance in professional debates. Taking two distinct perspectives, we first study how the committee’s position in the professional institute affects the development of agency, following which we assay the committee’s complex deliberation processes. We illustrate how the relationship between the professional institute and our focal committee is lopsided, in that, despite the Young Profs’ formal embeddedness and eagerness to partake in professional debates, the group is unable to use its social position as a platform for agency. We further show how the committee struggles to create shared intentionality among its diverse set of members, which likewise limits the group’s effectiveness. The study extends our understanding of the relations between early-career accountants and professional institutes; it also sheds light on the complex deliberations a committee undertakes when aspiring to attain significance in professional debates.
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We gratefully acknowledge the helpful comments provided by Kirstin Becker, Rob Blomme, Mary Canning, Yves Gendron (discussant), Sebastian Hoffmann, Ivo De Loo, Lukas L?hlein and Raluca Sandu (discussant) as well as by participants of the 2018 European Accounting Association Annual Congress, the 2018 Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Accounting Conference, and the 2018 Workshop on the Politics of Accounting. We further thank the special issue editors Bertrand Malsch and Brendan O?Dwyer as well as the two reviewers for their constructive comments and support throughout the review process.
© 2021 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.
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- Board process
- Institutional embeddedness
- Professional institute
- Young professionals