Leadership-in-teams, ready, willing and able: Perspectives of international accounting students students
Purpose: The purpose of this study is to explore the reasons why international accounting students in higher education in Australia do not accept leadership roles in academic teams, considering the importance employers attach to leadership and teamwork graduate attributes.
Design/methodology/approach: Adopting the Keating et al. (2014) ready, willing and able (RWA) leadership framework, this qualitative study uses a narrative textual approach to analyse the data from responses to open-ended questions recorded in interviews with a sample of Master of Professional Accounting (MPA) students (N = 12) undertaking leadership-in-team roles in a management and cost Accounting unit (N = 110) within an Australian higher education accounting program.
Findings: The results of this study suggest that a lack of past work experience disadvantages accounting students in being ‘ready’ to adopt leadership roles in teams. Self-interested behaviour results in students not being ‘willing’ to adopt leadership roles. Students perceive business simulation and work-integrated learning activities to hold the potential to improve their ‘ability’ to lead.
Practical implications: The study offers a conceptual schema for student leadership development, suggesting that accounting curricula in higher education should include the assessment of scaffolded leadership development activities. Mentorship roles in academic teams should also be explored.
Originality/value: To the authors’ knowledge, this is the first application of the RWA framework to explore accounting students’ predisposition to accepting leadership roles in teams. Informed by the student narrative, the authors offer a future focused RWA schema as a practical guide for educators to embed leadership development in the accounting curriculum.
Publication titleMeditari Accountancy Research
PublisherEmerald Publishing Limited
Place of publicationUnited Kingdom
Rights statementCopyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited