Developing a Community of Practice: Michael Gaffikin and Critical Accounting Research
This paper demonstrates the role of a community of practice in academic endeavour, focusing on the influence of place and the role of thought leaders in guiding academic development. This is illustrated with reference to the influence of Emeritus Professor Michael Gaffikin in establishing a critical accounting community of practice at the University of Wollongong (UOW) through his PhD supervisions. Social network analysis (SNA) is used to visualize the 43 PhD supervisions undertaken by Gaffikin during his career, and subsequent PhD supervisions of his students, and students of those students. SNA illustrates the structure of relationships, and the paths through which scholars learnt from one another, which we combine with qualitative analysis of recollections, acknowledgments, and doctoral theses. We demonstrate the role of Gaffikin, as the intellectual thought leader, and UOW, as the intellectual place, in the development of the critical accounting community of practice. The development of critical accounting scholarship was a function of Gaffikin's intellectual and professional leadership, which he executed through PhD supervision, the annual Doctoral Consortium, and his direction at UOW. This paper highlights the importance of local communities for the development of research agendas, and the influence of PhD supervisors on the professional development of students.