This paper aims to explore how accountants manage the processes of identity (re)construction after identity crisis, resulting from increasing pressures and regulatory requirements, considering both introspective and the extrospective issues.
The study drew on an integrated framework drawing on Luigi Pirandello’s views about identity crises and the search for individual coherence and possible representation strategies. It used an ethnographic approach based on photo-elicitation, conversations and documentary sources to explore the identity reconstruction processes of Italian Commercialisti.
Several conditions caused an identity crisis among Commercialisti, including regulatory requirements, public administration demands and increasing power of IT providers. Commercialisti reacted to these circumstances by re-constructing their image through strategies designed to impress both themselves and others.
The paper has implications for the accounting profession in general and in Italy, suggesting that further pressure may result in rapid change efforts among accountants. It provides a broader and more systematic understanding of the threats to the role of accountants and suggests how they can manage complexity to create new opportunities. It also encourages accountants to focus on alternative roles as a possible new strategy that few have tried.
The paper provides a novel contribution to the understanding of identity crisis issues and related representation strategies in the accounting profession. Unlike past contributions, it made a full assessment of both the dynamics of an identity crisis and the micro-level responses to it, in a new, non-Anglo-Saxon context.
Tomo, A. and Spanò, R. (2020), "Strategising identity in the accounting profession:: “mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the accountant of them all?”", Meditari Accountancy Research, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/MEDAR-02-2019-0443Download as .RIS
Emerald Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited