This paper draws on theories of institutional work, institutional experimentation, and identity work to develop a conceptual framework of identity experimentation in order to better understand the institutionalization of commercialism in the accounting profession. The framework highlights two key collective identity-experimentation strategies by the profession: boundary work (claiming auditor knowledge and traits and redefining auditors as “versatile experts”) and practice work (reinventing audit to create an “expert work” identity and tailor-making expert work to fit the image of supercharged versatile experts). Such identity experimentation moves the accounting profession toward the commercialization of not only auditing practices but, more importantly, the very identity of the auditor and the profession as a whole. Such change is an important issue as it may have profound implications for the profession's roles in the market economy.

You do not currently have access to this content.