Year

2008

Degree Name

Master of Accountancy - Research

Department

School of Accounting and Finance - Faculty of Commerce

Abstract

This research highlights the graduate qualities that universities expect students to develop by the time they complete their undergraduate degree and emerge from university. It focuses on the Faculty of Commerce at the University of Wollongong, and in particular the School of Accounting and Finance. It considers the relatively new concept of emotional intelligence (EI) and how enhancing EI development in students may assist in achieving improvement in the graduate quality outcomes for students. This research develops the link between the types of skills that are required by accounting practitioners and the graduate qualities students are expected to have developed by the time they leave university. It then suggests how enhancing EI skills can promote development of the types of skills the students are likely to need to be successful in the working environment. This has been achieved by reviewing the current literature relating to the roles undertaken by accounting practitioners together with traditional and contemporary descriptions and measures of intelligence. This review suggests that providing students with the opportunity to enhance EI may promote graduate qualities and improve success in the working environment. The research initially develops an understanding of the variety of graduate quality descriptions, and then highlights the present opportunities for students to improve their skills by evaluating the subject outlines for accounting and finance majors to see if there is a concerted approach to promoting graduate qualities. A survey of EI levels of academics in the Faculty of Commerce was conducted to determine the level of understanding of EI, factors that may influence EI, and the teaching implications for promoting EI is then presented. The results have demonstrated that the skills necessary to be successful in the working environment, due to the enhancement of the accounting role, include a large number of EI elements. Factors that may improve EI levels for individuals comprise exposure to a variety of experiences, and teaching from real world situations. There was no evidence found to suggest that EI is affected by gender, but alternatively the research suggested that EI might be adversely affected by working for prolonged periods in the one environment, with variety of experience improving EI.

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