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


Beatson, N and De Lange, PA and O'Connell, B and Tharapos, M and Smith, JK, Factors impacting on accounting academics' motivation and capacity to adapt in challenging times, Accounting Research Journal, 34, (2) pp. 184-195. ISSN 1030-9616 (2021) [Refereed Article]

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© Emerald Publishing Limited

DOI: doi:10.1108/ARJ-08-2020-0240


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. Tinto’s (2017) model of student motivation and persistence is reconceptualised to apply to the 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, this study provides 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 – The findings of this study state 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 because of 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/value – This paper makes three important contributions. First, Tinto’s (2017) model of student motivation and persistence is extended to examine academic motivation, adaption and persistence. Second, the model is applied to a crisis where staff face greater strain in maintaining connection to their colleagues and their university. Third, the influence of the COVID-19 crisis is examined by 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, academic motivation, academic adaptation, career relevance
Research Division:Commerce, Management, Tourism and Services
Research Group:Accounting, auditing and accountability
Research Field:Accounting theory and standards
Objective Division:Culture and Society
Objective Group:Ethics
Objective Field:Business ethics
UTAS Author:De Lange, PA (Professor Paul De Lange)
ID Code:147966
Year Published:2021
Web of Science® Times Cited:6
Deposited By:TSBE
Deposited On:2021-11-25
Last Modified:2022-01-17

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