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date: 05 July 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Professional status is based on accreditation; furthermore rationality, impartiality, and equity are all implicit in the idea of professionalism. As a result, a widely held belief is that meritocracy is a defining characteristic of the professions. Yet this assumption is belied by the evidence of research. The resistance to diversity and inclusion in PSFs and tensions generated by the claims and aspirations of these firms to engage in meritocratic practices are the central concern of this chapter. It examines the socio-economic changes of the last few decades and the backdrop of neoliberalism which reflects in part changes in how patterns of exclusion and inclusion have been theorized over the past four decades. The authors describe these changes and the associated evolution of policy and practice within PSFs from an emphasis on same treatment towards the recognition of difference, and provide a brief summary of suggested future research directions.

Keywords: diversity, inclusion, professional service firms, professionalism, meritocracy

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