Executive remuneration consultancy in the UK: exploring a professional project through the lens of institutional work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


External organisations

  • University of East London
  • University of Essex


This article responds to recent calls to examine the development of professionalism through the lens of institutional theory. We investigate the development of the new professional service of executive remuneration consultancy (ERC) in the UK through the lens of institutional work. Specifically,
drawing upon Lawrence and Suddaby (2006) and Suddaby and Viale (2011), we explore the relationship between macro-scale occupational/organizational and micro-scale individual-level dynamics of the ERC professional project and situate its development in relation to the broader field of executive remuneration practices. We show that the institutional work of creating the new professional project is contested and that the ERC development may be better understood as part of broader efforts to create and maintain the institution of executive pay-setting practices. We argue that the institutional work lens has the potential to produce a more nuanced understanding of the internal dynamics of the ERC professionalization process and its role in reconfiguring broader institutional arrangements. By exploring the analytical purchase of the concept of institutional work, the article contributes to the emerging body of empirical evidence outlining the potential of (neo-) institutional approaches to offer a more productive understanding of contemporary professionalism.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19-37
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Professions and Organization
Publication statusPublished - 2015