This paper examines the difficulty of achieving representative and effective governance of a professional body. The collective studied for this purpose is the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (formed 1880) which, throughout its existence, has possessed the largest membership among British accounting associations. Drawing on the political theory of organization, we will explain why, despite a series of measures taken to make the constitution of its Council more representative between formation date and 1970, the failure of the 1970 scheme for integrating the entire U.K. accountancy profession remained attributable to the “detachment of office bearers from their constituents” [Shackleton and Walker, 2001, p. 277]. We also trace the failure of attempts to restore the Council's authority over a period approaching four decades since that “disaster” occurred [Accountancy, September 1970, p. 637].

This content is only available via PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.