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Professional rivalry and changing management control approaches in UK clearing banks

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The paper employs a critical version of Abbott's "system of professions" in order to analyse how new management practices in UK clearing banks have been influenced by competing bodies of expert knowledge promoted by the banks' own profession, their senior management and outside professions. The main loser in this contest has been the professional expertise represented by the Chartered Institute of Bankers (CIOB). For most of the last 100 years the banks based their management control systems on cultural controls embedded in the branch system. In the 1970s and 1980s, the branch culture was challenged by a new marketing ethos and by the impact of new technology. In the early 1990s, changes in the structure of banks plus a continuing profits crisis induced further changes that saw the introduction of new management accounting techniques such as activity-based costing. Finally, notes that, while recent commercial and regulatory problems offer potential opportunities for the non-accountancy finance professions, the banks are unlikely to allow the emergence of a more independent profession within their own organizations.
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Keywords: Accounting; Banking Industry; Banks; Management Control; United Kingdom

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 January 1997

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