South African accounting academics’ conceptualisations of the teaching research nexus

Angus Duff, Ilse Lubbe*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Abstract

Purpose
Accounting academics in South Africa (SA) have been criticized for their lack of focus on research, stating that their primary responsibility is the teaching of prospective professional accountants. The purpose of this study is to empirically evaluate the relationship between research and teaching and to consider why accounting academics in SA prioritise teaching over research.

Design/methodology/approach
The paper uses a questionnaire developed in the United Kingdom to assess SA accounting academics’ views of the teaching-research nexus. Cluster analysis is undertaken to identify and describe the patterns of responses of respondents.

Findings
Our findings identify three clusters. The largest subgroup indicates an equal awareness of both the potential benefits and pitfalls of integrating teaching and research. A second subgroup views teaching and research as symbiotic, while the third subgroup sees the two activities as working against each other and competing for scarce resources. This study finds that conflict exists between professional membership and academic research and a focus on
teaching a professionally orientated accounting curriculum remains dominant in SA.

Research limitations/implications
The attitudes to teaching and research within SA are likely to be dynamic and subject to change. Our findings have implications for the development of accounting academics and potentially, for addressing the gap between accounting research, practice, and education.

Originality/value
This research contributes to a significant corpus of work considering the teaching-research nexus and a nascent body of work considering the relationship of research to teaching in accounting. The findings may be of interest to policy makers, practitioners, and academics.
Original languageEnglish
JournalMeditari Accountancy Research
Early online date31 Aug 2020
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 31 Aug 2020

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