Original Research

Factors that motivate millennial accountancy professionals in industry to become academics

Christi Leonard, Jaco Moolman, Christina C. Shuttleworth
Journal of Economic and Financial Sciences | Vol 16, No 1 | a872 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/jef.v16i1.872 | © 2023 Christi Leonard, Jaco Moolman, Christina C. Shuttleworth | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 20 March 2023 | Published: 06 September 2023

About the author(s)

Christi Leonard, Department of Management Accounting, College of Accounting Sciences, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa
Jaco Moolman, Department of Management Accounting, College of Accounting Sciences, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa
Christina C. Shuttleworth, Department of Management Accounting, College of Accounting Sciences, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa

Abstract

Orientation: Exploring the reasons why millennial chartered accountants choose to pursue a career in academia is fundamental to the future and advancement of the accountancy profession.

Research purpose: This article examines the factors that could motivate a millennial accountancy professional to join academia and to describe the lived experiences of accountancy academics in the context of career identity and situational circumstances from London’s theory of career motivation.

Motivation for the study: Tertiary accountancy education holds a national interest, which elevates the importance of attracting and retaining suitably qualified accountancy lecturers.

Research approach/design and method: As part of interpretative phenomenological analysis, semi-structured face-to-face interviews were conducted with 14 current and former open distance learning accountancy academics in South Africa.

Main findings: The research showed that flexible work schedules, the opportunity to teach, work in an autonomous environment and the desire to improve society were significant drivers for professional accountants to join academia. Research ranked as an insignificant motivating factor to join academia, although their retrospective views show the importance for those hoping to remain in academia to embrace it.

Practical/managerial implications: This study may be useful to current and aspiring millennial accountancy academics, at universities offering accountancy or chartered accountancy programmes and to their human resource practitioners.

Contribution/value-add: The research clarified the prospective perceptions and multi-layered motivational factors that could influence millennial accountancy professionals to join academia as well as the retrospective views from the lived experiences of accountancy lecturers in the context of London’s theory of career motivation.


Keywords

academics; accountancy; career decisions; chartered accountants; London’s theory of career motivation; open distance learning; professional identity; situational conditions.

JEL Codes

J24: Human Capital • Skills • Occupational Choice • Labor Productivity; M49: Other; M54: Labor Management

Sustainable Development Goal

Goal 4: Quality education

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