The Iron Cage of the Profession: A Critique on Closure in the Australian Accounting Profession

Gregory Kenneth Laing, Ronald William Perrin


This paper seeks to contribute to the literature on the process of closure that occurs within the constructs of professions. The discussion in this paper focuses on the professional accounting bodies in Australia and how they have devolved a form of bureaucratic control over the education process through the credentialing of membership and accreditation of accounting degrees. Weber's theory of bureaucracy in conjunction with Closure theory provide the framework upon which this critique is drawn. Implicit in the regulatory role of the accounting bodies is the justification of the practice of accounting and the status of the members of the professional bodies. Once those within the professional associations accept the right of the professional bodies to determine the educational requirements for membership along with the practice of accreditation of curriculum forms the iron cage. The practice of accreditation and credentialing exists in other disciplines such as medicine, engineering and law so that there exists parallels for claiming a legitimate basis for the intervention of the professional accounting bodies.

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Asian Social Science   ISSN 1911-2017 (Print)   ISSN 1911-2025 (Online)

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