Sectarianism and the accounting profession: the case of Lebanon.
Al Mardini, Maisa
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AL MARDINI, M. 2018. Sectarianism and the accounting profession: the case of Lebanon. Robert Gordon University, PhD thesis.
The research on the development of accounting profession has been mostly confined to Anglo-Saxon settings and specific historical. In recent years, some researchers examined the impact of colonization, imperialism, race, and gender on the accounting professionalization project. Most of these researches are conducted on Ex-British colonies, while few addressed Ex-USA or Ex-French colonies. None has examined the impact of religion and religious sectarianism on the development of accounting profession, and none has investigated it in an Ex-French colony. As an Ex-Ottoman and Ex-French colony, Lebanon is a country that has been devastated by religious sectarianism since 1850s. Many civil wars between the various religious sects have occurred throughout Lebanon’s history. Yet, instead of abolishing sectarianism, the Lebanese society has adopted it, constitutionalized it, and integrated it in everyday life. Since accounting is a product of its environment, and based on the sectarian nature of the history of Lebanon, the research proposes three fundamental questions: 1) How did the accounting professionalization project emerge and evolve in Lebanon? 2) Did religion/sectarianism play a role in shaping the accounting professionalization project in Lebanon and, if so, to what extent? 3) What is the current state of the accounting profession in Lebanon? In order to answer these three questions, the research undertakes the Neo-Weberian view of the theory of closure to examine how the accounting occupation became a profession in Lebanon. This is accompanied by examining the Lebanese professionalization project and its current state under the lens of social dominance theory and groups in ethnic conflict theory. The findings of the research reveals the struggle that extended over three decades to achieve closure of the accounting profession. Through interviews, archival research, and quantitative analysis, the research evidences the mirroring of the accounting profession to the Lebanese society through the integration and adoption of religious sectarianism practices in the profession, among other social notions such as gender and nepotism.