Tracking habitus across a transnational professional field

Crawford Spence, Chris Carter, Ataur Belal, Javier Husillos, Claire Dambrin, Pablo Archel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Citations (Scopus)


The sociology of the professions has shied away from cross-national comparative work. Yet research in different professional jurisdictions emphasizes the transnational nature of professional fields. Further work is therefore needed that explores the extent to which transnational professional fields are characterized by unity or heterogeneity. To that end, this article presents the results of a qualitative interrogation of the habitus of partners in ‘Big 4’ professional service firms across, primarily, five countries (Bangladesh, Canada, France, Spain and the UK). Marked differences are observed between the partner habitus in Bangladesh and the other countries studied in terms of entrepreneurial and public service dispositions. In turn, these findings highlight the methodological relevance of habitus for both the sociology of the professions and comparative capitalism literatures: for the former, habitus aids in mapping the dynamics of transnational professional fields; for the latter, habitus can elucidate the informal norms and conventions of national business systems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-20
Number of pages18
JournalWork, Employment & Society
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • comparative capitalism
  • habitus
  • national business systems
  • professional service firms
  • transnational professional fields

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Accounting
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


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