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Factors impacting on accounting academics’ motivation and capacity to adapt in challenging times


Beatson, N and De Lange, P and O'Connell, B and Tharapos, M and Smith, J, Factors impacting on accounting academics' motivation and capacity to adapt in challenging times, Accounting Research Journal ISSN 1839-5465 (2021) [Refereed Article]


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to consider what factors influence the ability of academic staff to remain motivated and to persist in their work environment during the COVID-19 pandemic. We reconceptualise Tinto’s (2017) model of student motivation and persistence to apply to academic staff by considering their self-efficacy beliefs, sense of belonging and perceptions of career relevance on their motivation levels and adaption to a new environment.

Design/methodology/approach: Utilising Tinto’s (2017) reconceptualised model for academics, we provide insights into motivation and capacity to adapt during the COVID-19 pandemic. This paper presents observations and reflections from five academics from three universities across two countries in relation to self-efficacy, sense of belonging and perception of career relevance.

Findings: We find that self-efficacy beliefs, a sense of belonging and perceptions of career relevance combine to drive both academics’ motivation levels and their ability to adapt to the changing landscape. Self-efficacy was influenced by factors such as struggles with adaptation to new online technologies and researching and teaching in a virtual environment. Academics’ sense of belonging was found to be challenged in unprecedented ways due to physical isolation and sometimes unfavourable home working environments. Perceptions of career relevance were found to be challenged by adverse developments such as reduced promotional opportunities, cuts in resourcing and job insecurity.

Originality: Our paper makes three important contributions. First, we extend Tinto’s (2017) model of student motivation and persistence to examine academic motivation, adaption, and persistence. Second, we apply the model to a crisis where staff face greater strain in maintaining connection to their colleagues and their university. Third, we examine the influence of the COVID-19 crisis using the reconceptualised Tinto (2017) model in the context of accounting, as accounting international student enrolments and associated revenue streams have been impacted significantly more than those of many other disciplines.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:self-efficacy, sense of belonging, career relevance, academic motivation, academic adaptation
Research Division:Commerce, Management, Tourism and Services
Research Group:Accounting, auditing and accountability
Research Field:Accounting theory and standards
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Public health (excl. specific population health)
Objective Field:Mental health
UTAS Author:De Lange, P (Professor Paul De Lange)
ID Code:141676
Year Published:2021
Deposited By:TSBE
Deposited On:2020-11-09
Last Modified:2021-07-05

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