Lobbying on accounting standard setting in the parliamentary environment of Germany

Sebastian Hoffmann*, Henning Zülch

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper employs an expertise framework to analyze the case of lobbying on the modernization of German accounting regulation between 2007 and 2009. The parliamentary context of accounting standard setting in Germany provides a unique opportunity for an examination of lobbyists' and parliamentarians' use of rhetoric in the form of arguments and myths in the presence of an expertise gap between both parties. Lobbyists successfully follow rhetoric strategies of providing knowledge and demonstrating expertise to parliamentarians in the form of using a mixed approach of conceptual and self-referential arguments when expressing a neutral opinion. Apart from their argumentative rhetoric, lobbyists also create myths that transfer knowledge in a more subtle way by employing signifiers that are disentangled from the underlying message to be communicated. Parliamentarians respond by using self-referential arguments in cases where they support the regulatory proposals and enrich their arguments by continuing and amplifying the myths created by lobbyists. Parliamentarians' adoption of these strategies demonstrates the effectiveness of the transfer of knowledge and provides evidence of the strategic exploitation of the expertise gap by lobbyists.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)709-723
Number of pages15
JournalCritical Perspectives on Accounting
Issue number8
Early online date9 May 2014
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2014


  • Accounting regulation
  • Accounting standard setting
  • Critical
  • German GAAP
  • Lobbying
  • Public interest


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