LGBTIQ+ staff and shifting client power within professional services firms

Matthew Egan, Barbara d.L. Voss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Big 4 professional services firms increasingly lay claim to recruiting and including staff of diverse genders, cultures, ages and sexualities. Drawing on Foucauldian insights, this study explores how LGBTIQ+ staff navigated shifting technologies of client power, at the time marriage equality was legislated in Australia.
This article explores changing experiences of LGBTIQ+ staff and allies, through 56 semi-structured interviews undertaken through 2018–2019.
Technologies of client power were central to shaping workplace experiences for LGBTIQ+ staff. However, each firm was also keen to carve unique and bold responses to changing societal attitudes regarding sexuality and gender. These progressive moves did not sit comfortably with all clients, and so this article provides insight into the limitations of client privilege within professional services firms. For staff, this increasing complexity of sometimes opaque, contradictory and shifting technologies of client and firm power, enabled agency to explore a sense of self for some, but continued to exclude others.
Little attention has been directed to exploring challenges for staff of sexual and gendered diversity within professional services firms, or to exploring how staff navigate changing perceptions of client power.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-21
Number of pages21
JournalAccounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal
Publication statusPublished - 26 Dec 2023


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