What is it about?

The paper deals with an accountant convicted of fraud and interviewed while serving a custodial sentence. Drawing on the accountant’s reflexivity , the findings in this study suggest that the accountant abandoned his fragile professional identity and his link to the profession (identity of the group) for a more dominant self-identity to deal with the conflict of his behaviour.

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Why is it important?

Accounting research emphasising fraud prevention and detection presupposes that accountants are not party to such behaviour. The present study places the accountant at the centre of the research to understand why accountants commit fraud and the role of professional identity in mitigating poor behavioural choices.


The experience of entering prison to interview accountants was thrilling, exciting and disconcerting, all rolled up in a single emotion. A encounter that will stay with me for a long time.

Professor Steven Dellaportas
RMIT University

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Implications of a Fragile Professional Identity on Role Behavior: An Exploratory Case of an Accountant Fraudster, European Accounting Review, September 2018, Taylor & Francis, DOI: 10.1080/09638180.2018.1523018.
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