Redressing the Big 4’s male, pale and stale image, through LGBTIQ+ ethical praxis

Matthew Egan, Barbara d.L. Voss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This study explores developing responses to the recognition of LGBTIQ+ staff within the ‘Big 4’ professional service firms in Australia through the 2010s. Employing semi-structured interviews, we explore the substance underpinning claims to related change, and the drivers of those developments. We draw on arguments of ethical praxis, which build in turn from insights of Judith Butler and Emmanuel Levinas about possibilities for the representation of some, while dehumanising others. We identify a first pre-ethical praxis phase of business case driven rhetoric from around 2010, as each firm sought to redress perceptions of a ‘male, pale and stale’ image. Here, rhetoric had some value for LGBTIQ+ staff, from whom silence had formerly been expected. Those rhetorical moves then transitioned into more substantive praxis from the mid-2010s, as activists for social justice found opportunity to link related messaging to broader community momentum for change. Nonetheless by 2019, hetero-male centres of power continued to dominate, and tenuous achievements remained focused on ‘white’ gay men. With an ongoing dominance of business case logics, violence and silence persisted for many. By 2019, any sense of opportunity for further praxis change was passing.
Original languageEnglish
Article number102511
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalCritical Perspectives on Accounting
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 11 Sep 2022

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