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Quality assurance practices and preferences : a study of Australian accounting schools

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Ashraf, SF 2020 , 'Quality assurance practices and preferences : a study of Australian accounting schools', PhD thesis, University of Tasmania.

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Abstract

This research is an exploratory study which considers approaches to Quality Assurance (QA) in the assurance of learning adopted by accounting schools in Australia. These approaches are discussed alongside monitoring, review and improvements requirements for institutional QA in the Higher Education Standards Framework 2015, Domain 5; the professional accreditation requirements of Australian accounting professional bodies; and the requirements of the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). The effectiveness of different QA approaches and the motivations to adopt them are explored. Differences in QA practices between schools that hold AACSB accreditation and those that do not are identified, along with the impact of this on the achievement of communication as a learning outcome and employability. Employers and the profession have identified communication as an important attribute and appear unsatisfied with accounting graduates’ communication skills.
In this thesis, 39 business schools offering accounting degrees were surveyed and 16 participants from eight accounting schools offering postgraduate degrees in accounting were interviewed. A mixed methods approach adopting surveys and interviews was used, with surveys used to collect basic information and interviews used to enrich and explore issues arising from the survey data. Survey data was analysed using SPSS and interviews were analysed using a thematic content analysis and manual coding scheme.
Practically, AACSB and non-AACSB schools need to consider increasing levels of bureaucracy, the implications this will have at the grass roots level and workload issues that may be involved in engaging academics in QA efforts both in terms of practices and process. Both types of schools need to communicate with their stakeholder communities in terms of the impact of adopted QA approaches and the importance of enhancing the attractiveness of accounting graduates to employers.
Legitimacy, stakeholder and institutional theory are adopted to explore legitimating strategies and actions of the business schools. They contribute to understanding the role of stakeholders and isomorphic pressures on business schools in adopting a QA approach. This thesis finds that AACSB accreditation has been acquired by business (accounting) schools primarily for marketing purposes and the majority of sampled accounting schools did not undertake external peer reviews for external referencing but considered calibration as a measure of the effectiveness of the peer-review process.

Item Type: Thesis - PhD
Authors/Creators:Ashraf, SF
Keywords: Quality Assurance, AACSB Accreditation, External Referencing, External Benchmarking, External Peer-review and Assurance of Learning
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Copyright 2019 the author

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