Financialization as a strategy of workplace control in professional service firms

Johan Alvehus, André Spicer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Recently, there has been an increased focus on finance as a form of control in corporations. In this paper, we explore financialization as an employee control strategy in a Big Four accountancy firm, and more specifically how it affects the everyday lives of the professionals within the firm. We found financialization involved attempts to transform employees work- ing lives into an investment activity where work was experienced as ‘billable hours’ that are ‘invested’ in the hope of a high future pay-off. Employees sought to increase the value of their investment by skilful manipulation. If wisely managed, this investment could yield significant benefits in the future. We argue that financialization involves active employee participation and is a way of binding other forms of control together.
Original languageEnglish
JournalCritical Perspectives on Accounting
Issue number497-510
Publication statusPublished - 2012

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Social Sciences Interdisciplinary

Free keywords

  • Professional control Financialization Performance management Professional service firm


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