Understanding fitness for purpose of the Australian Bachelor of Accounting university education

  • Mel Timpson

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


This thesis explores how the purposes of university education, in particular for the Bachelor of Accounting program, are understood. Examining the perspective of those who set accreditation requirements for the Bachelor of Accounting (Parliament and the accounting professional bodies) and those who deliver the education (university education service providers), this thesis explores how purposes are understood, or not. Existing research critiques discrete aspects of university education including: financial; curriculum; industry impacts; and administration compliance. Other research conceives of purposes as arising from historical practices or expectations, in some cases offering options for alternative approaches.Drawing on and adapting the work of Weber (1947) and Laclau and Mouffe (2014), this thesis encompasses all these aspects, adopting an empirical wholistic approach. The question of fitness of Australian university education is observed through a new lens offering different insights. Through historical document analysis, comparing 1988 and 2014, findings indicate that failures to meet the standards of fitness for purpose arise from lack of agreement on the purposes of university education and the incentives arising from commodification.This thesis makes three contributions: a practical, wholistic, framework to consider university education; a theoretical framework to consider historical construction of meaning; and the conclusion drawn from the research undertaken. The first two contribute to future academic research and how university education can be considered. The third highlights to policy makers, university administrators, the accounting professional bodies, students, academia, and society, fitness for purpose of university education can be addressed if an agreed purposes can be reached and appropriate incentives to reach these purposes are put in place.
Date of Award2023
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorPhilip Roberts (Supervisor), Habib Khan (Supervisor) & Jen Webb (Supervisor)

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