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Reconfiguring institutional investment and corporate governance: standards, commercialisation, indexation and the shifting jurisdictional authority of accounting and finance professionals and professional practice

Project Description

Professions and professionals play a crucial role in shaping institutions given their ability to simultaneously create, legitimise and control the knowledge and practices that govern various elements of everyday life. They are widely perceived as primary societal institutional agents who have assumed central roles in creating, disrupting and maintaining prevailing institutions. In the past decade, the accounting profession has undertaken extensive efforts to expand its jurisdictional authority into a variety of new domains linked to improved corporate governance. This attempted positioning has engendered significant competition from competing bodies of professional experts simultaneously seeking to claim exclusive rights to work in similar areas. Moreover, these attempted expansions in jurisdiction have had considerable implications for the public interest role the accounting profession purports to prioritise given the often commercially driven motivations underlying these expansionary efforts. The 2 PhD projects will build on ongoing work at Alliance Manchester Business School in the Accounting and Finance Division by Professor Chris Humphrey and Professor Brendan O’Dwyer, which seeks to significantly enhance our understanding of how the professionalisation of new fields by accounting professionals is emerging in three key areas: the development of standards in sustainability reporting and assurance; the processes through which Big 4 professional services firms are professionalising the area of human rights; and the jurisdictional power and consequences of indexation in different domains.

The PhD projects will be qualitative in nature combining detailed case studies of organisations, extensive investigative work analysing official websites, publications, social media and other pertinent material, together with in-depth interviews with key actors associated with the establishment and development of standard setting in the fields of sustainability and human rights accounting.

The successful candidates will be jointly supervised by Professor Chris Humphrey and Professor Brendan O’Dwyer of the Division of Accounting and Finance in Alliance Manchester Business School. The Division is one of the leading accounting and finance units in Europe with an outstanding reputation for excellence in research and teaching programmes at all levels. With an intellectual tradition rooted in the social sciences, the Division has a superb research track record, with staff regularly publishing in leading international academic journals. The Division maintains a deep commitment to knowledge development and policy engagement, and has long-standing connections with the business, financial and public sectors. Home to over 50 academic and research staff, the Division engages in research of an innovative and interdisciplinary nature covering important, conceptual and practice/policy-relevant issues.

Funding Notes

The 3-year scholarship will be available for September 2019 entry, with a stipend equivalent to RCUK rates (approx. £15,000 tax free pa), tuition fees (at Home and/or International level), and travel support for fieldwork and conferences.

You must demonstrate that you are highly motivated, intellectually astute, with high-level analytical competencies, and experience of qualitative research design and application.

You must have a First or Upper Second Class Honours degree (or equivalent) and hold, or expect to obtain, a Masters level qualification with Distinction. English Language requirements (where required) are IELTS 7.0, TOEFL 623 (100 internet based test), or PTE 66.

Related Subjects

How good is research at University of Manchester in Business and Management Studies?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 121.63

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

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