HARP Seminar, presented by Nadia Albu: "Habitus Sovieticus and the professionalization of the accounting project: The case of the non-financial reporting in Romania"
|Date||28 September 2023|
|Time||10:00-11:00 (Timezone: Europe/London)|
|Venue||Henley Business School LG01|
- Nadia Albu, Bucharest University of Economic Studies
- Cătălin Nicolae Albu, Bucharest University of Economic Studies
- Oana Apostol, Tampere University
- Gabriel Jinga, Bucharest University of Economic Studies
- Charles H. Cho, Schulich School of Business, York University
We explore the professionalization project of accountants in relation to non-financial reporting (NFR) in an Eastern European setting, located at the intersection of local unsupportive circumstances and globalized tendencies of spreading innovations.
Theoretically, we apply Bourdieusian lenses to look at how the communist legacy persists and affect current professional conceptualizations of accountants. We adapt the notion of habitus and suggest Habitus Sovieticus to grasp the specificities of the Eastern European context. We conducted a field study in which we collected a multifaceted and diverse dataset, comprising of interviews, regulatory acts, public documents in addition to considering our own experiences with the Romanian accounting field.
We distinguish between professionally engaged, disengaged and non-engaged accountants, and discuss their engagement in relation to their habitus and organizational response to NFR regulations. We explain the process of professionalization as a change in habitus. Our study contributes to literature with a nuanced analysis of professionalization processes in relation to NFR in a non-Western context. Professionalization (change in habitus) occurs only for the accountants already possessing a Western habitus, who add new knowledge and standards in line with NFR. Therefore, regulations represent a modest impetus for habitus change, significant transformation being triggered by organizational values and personal commitment.
We acknowledge a lack of depth in any of the interviewees’ employing organizations. Our study design was, however, informed by an approach that would map the entirety of the NFR field in relation to the accounting profession in a specific setting.
First, we contend that there is value in conceptualizing NFR as a professional project because it offers new possibilities in understanding NFR not as an outcome, but as a professional task that comes with responsibilities, organizational processes and social positioning in a professional field. Second, while scholarship voiced dissatisfactions with the use of Western-born theories in non-Western settings, we set an example that such theories can be useful to examine local phenomena when adapted to incorporate local specificities. Our notion of Habitus Sovieticus can serve as inspiration to related investigations in Eastern Europe.
Keywords: non-financial reporting, professionalization, accountants, Bourdieu, Habitus Sovieticus
Short Bio on Presenter: Nadia Albu is Professor of Accounting with the Bucharest University of Economic Studies Romania. She focuses her research on the institutional factors influencing the implementation of global standards and models in emerging economies. Nadia’s research has recently been published in Accounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal, Critical Perspectives on Accounting, Accounting Forum, and Accounting in Europe, among others. Nadia serves as Associate Editor of Accounting in Europe and editor in chief of Accounting and Management Information Systems.