Blockchain accounting: claiming professional legitimacy through disruptive narratives

Detta är en D-uppsats från Handelshögskolan i Stockholm/Institutionen för redovisning och finansiering

Sammanfattning: Purpose - This thesis aims to explore how and why accounting firms engage in adopting emerging, potentially disruptive technologies such as blockchain as part of their professional domain. While previous research has addressed blockchain's potential impact on accounting systems, the current study focuses on its institutional implications. Design/methodology/approach - This thesis builds upon a qualitative case study of the Big 4 accounting firms. Primary and secondary data is gathered in the forms of interviews and professional publications. The lens of institutional work is applied when analyzing how individual actors influence institutions and with what intentions. Findings - We find that firms strive to claim professional legitimacy in the field of blockchain by constructing a narrative of disruption as institutional work with the intention to maintain the institutionalized role of accounting. Further, we find that normative pressures stimulate blockchain adoption and mimetic forces minimize organizational and strategic differences between the Big 4. Originality/value - This thesis contributes to the emerging literature on blockchain's impact on the accounting profession. Further, the thesis contributes to the accounting literature on professional domain change as the case of blockchain presents a unique tension between commercial opportunity and technological threat to auditors' institutionalized role as trust providers in the financial system. This study also extends the accounting literature on institutional work as it shows how educating work, mimetic work and construction of identities interrelate and are enacted with multiple institutional intentions.

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