Gender roles and organizational HR practices: The case of women's careers in accountancy and consultancy firms in China

Fang Lee Cooke, Yuchun Xiao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

57 Citations (Scopus)


The Chinese finance industry has experienced significant expansion both within the state sector and into the private sector. Professional consultancy firms have also emerged as a result of the rising interest in the outsourcing of accounting and management services. However, the study of women s careers in the accountancy profession in contemporary China remains largely an uncharted territory. Drawing on data from 69 interviews with auditors in five firms, this article investigates the nature of work of external auditors in China and how women auditors view their work-life choices and constraints. We explore the likely differences between male and female auditors in their career aspirations and the extent to which these self-perceived differences are informed by social conventions of gender role, organizational practices, and personal preferences. The study has strong implications for human resource management in professional service firms in China, with particular reference to job design, work organization, career support, and work-life balance initiatives. The study contributes to the debate on gender, employment, and career development in the accountancy profession in different parts of the world.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23 - 44
Number of pages22
JournalHuman Resource Management
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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