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Group work and undergraduate accounting students: a Bourdieusian analysis

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<mark>Journal publication date</mark>31/12/2017
<mark>Journal</mark>Research in Post-Compulsory Education
Issue number3
Volume22
Number of pages21
Pages (from-to)334-354
Publication statusPublished
Early online date18/12/17
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

This study investigated students’ views and experiences of group work in a vocationally oriented undergraduate accounting and finance degree course in an English post-1992 university. In this context tutors prepare students for the profession and for the workplace, and the development of team-working skills is a core element in the curriculum. This presents a significant challenge to tutors given that students commonly report an aversion to aspects of group work, including a perceived loss of individual autonomy, and particularly the fear of a risk to grades arising from working with others. Theoretical constructs drawn from Bourdieu were used to develop an understanding of how tutors could be better informed of students’ perspectives. This supports reflective behaviour by tutors when designing strategies to overcome both commonly reported barriers to effective group work and previously less well understood drivers of student behaviour. A focus group approach was adopted with 28 students participating. The findings have the potential to address the challenge of facilitating students’ effective engagement in group work in accounting and other vocationally oriented programmes.