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|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|3575||2012||12 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Accounting Forum, Volume 36, Issue 2, June 2012, Pages 122–133
Historically public accounting careers have been “up or out” with progression from staff though senior, manager, senior manager, and ultimately, partner. Recent AICPA data suggests senior managers are increasingly promoted to non-equity “director/principal” positions rather than to partner (AICPA, 2006). Further, this career path appears to be disproportionately occurring for women. This survey of the membership of the American Women's Society of Certified Public Accountants (AWSCPA) provides the first descriptive data on the nature and impact of the post-senior manager position from the perspective of senior women accountants and reflects on the gender implications of these findings. Of concern is the early indication that firms may be using such positions to create a ‘reserve force of [partnership-level] labour’. If women are disproportionately appointed to such positions, they may be forming a new source of vertical segregation for women accountants.
It has long been noted that despite constituting at least half of all entry-level employees for nearly two decades, women continue to be significantly under-represented in the partnership ranks of public accounting firms across the globe (AICPA, 2006, Gammie et al., 2010, Hopman and Lord, 2009 and ICPAS, 2009). This under-representation is viewed as being the result of both women leaving the firms at a greater rate than men and women failing to progress through the ranks at the same pace as men. While observers have argued that “firms are also modifying the traditional “up or out” career structure to provide employees with greater choice and flexibility in career progression and to reduce turnover” (Hooks, Thomas, & Stout, 1997, p. 40; see also Greenhouse, 2011), it is not clear that these modified career paths have resulted in gender parity all the way up the ranks to partnership promotions. Recent evidence suggests that one significant form of a modified career structure impacting gender parity in partnership promotions may be ‘post-senior manager’ positions within the firms (Almer, Lightbody, Single, & Vigilante, 2011). These positions with titles such as “Director” comprise a ‘step beyond’ senior manager, but do not provide equity in the firm, and are instead of an employee-type nature. US data shows a significant rise in the number of firms with post-senior manager positions over the last decade (AICPA, 2005, AICPA, 2006 and IPA, 2005). Of particular concern is early evidence that women are disproportionately represented in post-senior manager promotions as compared to equity partner promotions (AICPA, 2005, Dambrin and Lambert, 2008 and ICPAS, 2009). Despite the increasing significance of post-senior manager positions, both the academic accounting literature (e.g. Gammie, Matson, & Duncan, 2007) and publications such as New Accountant, which are aimed at promoting public accounting careers to students (e.g. Satava, 2009), have been virtually silent on this emerging position. The only specific study on post-senior manager positions (Almer et al., 2011) considers the nature of the positions solely from the firm perspective and ignores the career implications that “professionals themselves” (Grey, 1998, p. 569) may perceive or experience. More generally, accounting researchers have given little attention to potential gender impacts of contemporary partnership promotion processes1 and only one paper briefly mentions the role of post-senior manager position as a potential “glass ceiling” for women in this process (Dambrin & Lambert, 2008). Thus to understand the failure of women to proportionately move up the last rung of the ladder into the equity partner ranks, accounting research needs to give particular consideration to whether firms may have created a new means of segregating women from the ‘holy grail’ of partnership. However, understanding the nature and frequency of post-senior manager positions may not be an easy task. While many public accounting firms give mention to the existence of post-senior managers in public relations or recruiting materials (e.g. CroweHorwath, 2007 and Deloitte, 2009) and the AICPA notes the increase in firms offering post-senior manager positions (AICPA, 2006), neither provide any insights into the nature of the positions. Firms and professional groups also fail to provide specific insights into the actual frequency of such positions, as they generally do not separately identify post-senior manager positions, but rather collate them together with equity partnership positions in their data. For example, ICPAS (2009) reports ‘partner/principal’ as a single category in its study. Similarly, Deloitte's recent announcement that they had “reached a milestone in the organization's history by exceeding the 1,000 mark for U.S. women partners, principals and directors” did not identify the number of such women who were in non-equity positions (Deloitte, 2009). There is thus a lack of transparency surrounding the frequency and nature of post-senior manager positions. The objective of the current study is to examine this new phenomenon that may be diverting some women from the traditional equity partnership – post-senior manager positions. This paper is essentially exploratory, as there are numerous issues not yet understood about post-senior manager positions and the role they may play in the careers of women in public accounting firms, including the nature of the positions, how the activities engaged in by post-senior managers differ from or are similar to those performed by partners, costs and benefits of the positions to firms and to professionals, and the nature of any gender effect. In particular, there is a need to examine such questions from the viewpoint of women accountants themselves. The current study addresses the aforementioned issues with an all-female sample of public accounting professionals, the membership of the American Women's Society of Certified Public Accountants (AWSCPA). With this all-female sample, a clearer picture is provided of the nature of post-senior manager positions from the perspective of women public accountants in general, and, in particular, the perspective of women currently employed in such positions. The results of this study will extend the literature on upward mobility of women in public accounting by providing a foundation for a necessary critical debate regarding the role of post-senior manager positions in women accountants’ careers. At the heart of this debate is whether such positions provide a more accommodating alternative career path for women in public accounting or whether they function as a new form of vertical segregation or ‘pink-collar ghetto’. The remainder of this paper is organized as follows. First, the history of post-senior manager positions in public accounting and an overview of the similar trend occurring within law firms is considered. Because of the exploratory nature of this research, specific hypotheses are not proposed. Rather the accounting and law literatures are utilized to develop a survey instrument which is described in the second section. Second, the results of the survey are outlined. In the final section implications of the results are discussed and a number of questions for future research are identified.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
This exploratory study lays the groundwork for future research on post-senior manager positions by providing insights into the specific responsibilities of the position, and the possible costs and benefits to firms and professionals from the viewpoint of women professionals themselves. The survey findings significantly contribute to the academic and practitioner community's limited understanding of the frequency and nature of post-senior manager positions in public accounting firms and the potential gender impact of the introduction of such positions into firms’ career structures. Overall, the study raises concerns that while post-senior manager positions might appear to offer new opportunities for promotion beyond the traditional ‘up-or-out’ model, they may in fact constitute ‘exclusion-as-usual’ for women professionals by facilitating a new form of gender segregation or exclusion strategy at the most senior level of accounting firms (Dwyer and Roberts, 2004 and Roberts and Coutts, 1992). In particular, this study indicates that the post-senior manager role does not appear, in general, to be either the equivalent of a partnership role nor a step to partnership, but rather allows the firms to create a ‘reserve army of labour’ to perform work traditionally undertaken by partners but without the status or remuneration of partnership. Such positions do not appear to be providing the majority of women accountants with either desirable career choices, nor with career flexibility, but rather with a terminal position described by the study participants as a temporary “holding place” for woman. In consequence of the above findings, there is an urgent need for further in-depth research to ensure the impact of such positions on gender equality and the upward mobility of women accountants is understood and critically evaluated, not just asserted by accounting firms. In particular, future research needs to “flesh out” the diverse nature of these positions, the factors influencing their creation by the accounting firms, and the degree to which the positions are designed to suit the agendas of the firms rather than those of their employees. Accounting researchers also need to better understand the reasons why accounting professionals, both male and female, accept such positions, the place of such positions in their longer term careers, and whether there are gender differences in such findings. In particular, researchers need to ask the question raised by the NAWL (2006, p. 16) in regards to law firms: are post-senior manager positions a means of retaining women who “are denied partnership status for legitimate reasons” or are women continuing to be excluded from partnership by being “disproportionately directed into [post-senior manager] positions instead of promoted to partner level work and compensation”?