The current study examines the effect of socialization on the inculcation of professional accounting values. Three sources of socialization are examined: public accounting firms, non-public accounting firms (industry) and accounting professional associations. Specifically, the study compares the professionalism of public and industry accountants. Consistent with expectations, the results suggest that public accountants have stronger beliefs in professional autonomy and self-regulation than industry accountants, and that industry accountants have stronger beliefs in professional affiliation, social obligation and professional dedication than public accountants. It was hypothesized that while professional associations promote all professional values, public accounting firms and industry have different promoting priorities. Public accounting firms foster beliefs in self-regulation and professional autonomy while industry opposes these values, resulting in public accountants having stronger beliefs in these values. Conversely, it was posited that industry encourage beliefs in professional affiliation, social obligation and professional dedication to a greater extent than public accounting firms. The result is that the industry accountants have stronger beliefs in these values than the public accountants. Investigating these issues increase understanding of the importance of the socialization process fostering accounting professional values and identifying areas of potential conflict and reinforcement accountants face when working in public accounting and industry.
Thomas, S. (2020), "Socialization and Professionalism", Baker, C.R. (Ed.) Research on Professional Responsibility and Ethics in Accounting (Research on Professional Responsibility and Ethics in Accounting, Vol. 23), Emerald Publishing Limited, pp. 121-139. https://doi.org/10.1108/S1574-076520200000023007Download as .RIS
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