Academic journal article Journal of Legal, Ethical and Regulatory Issues

Changes: The Effect of Affirmative Action on the Recruitment of Accounting Professors

Academic journal article Journal of Legal, Ethical and Regulatory Issues

Changes: The Effect of Affirmative Action on the Recruitment of Accounting Professors

Article excerpt


In 1996. newly minted PhDs and ABDs looking for tenure-track accounting positions in academia commonly turned to the "Placement Information" section of The Accounting Review. The October 1996 issue, for example, contained 55 advertisements for positions ranging from Dean to Assistant Professor located throughout the United States and in Hong Kong. A typical advertisement read as follows:

   University of Utah School of Accounting expects to have positions
   for new faculty members, pending funding, beginning in the 1997-98
   academic year. Priority will be given to candidates with strength
   in accounting information systems and financial accounting.
   Applicants should possess a Ph.D., D.B.A., or be close to
   completion. All applicants are expected to have a commitment to
   quality research and teaching excellence. Rank will be considered
   subject to applicant's qualifications and school needs. The School
   of Accounting and the David Eccles School of Business are both
   accredited at the undergraduate and graduate levels by the AACSB.
   Bachelor's, M.B.A.. M.Pr.A., and Ph.D. programs are offered. The
   application deadline is February 1, 1997, or until the position is
   filled. Please send application including proposal or working
   paper, vita and three letters of reference to Steve Manaster,
   Associate Dean, David Eccles School of Business, University of
   Utah, Salt Lake City, UT 84112. The University of Utah is an Equal
   Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer and encourages nominations
   and applications from women and minorities and provides reasonable
   accommodations to the known disabilities of employees.

The October, 1961, "Job Placement" section told a far different story. The 1961 issue contained only five advertisements of which four were positions sought rather than jobs available. The sole advertisement for an open position read as follows:

   Midwest University will need two men for Accounting staff for 1962
   academic year. Interested in Ph.D. with or without C.P.A., but will
   also consider C.P.A. and Master's degree combination.

What happened to change the face of placement advertising so drastically? We believe that government regulation pertaining to affirmative action (AA) and equal employment opportunity (EEO) significantly changed a step of the recruitment process, in particular, the placement and wording of position advertisements. While disagreement exists as to the success of such regulation, it is clear that change has occurred. This paper reviews the changes that occurred in job placement advertising for accounting professors over the 40-year period from 1956 through 1995 and then attempts to explain those changes in terms of AA/EEO legislation as well as alternative hypotheses.


A common means of filling open positions is to advertise in an academic journal received by those individuals meeting the qualifications for the position being filled. A journal that fulfills this requirement is The Accounting Review (AR), one of the primary publications of the American Accounting Association (AAA). While AR does not include all positions available, it was for many years the primary advertising medium for academic accounting positions and thus provides ready evidence of the changes that have occurred over the time span investigated.

Advertisements appearing in the "Placement Information" section of The Accounting Review were collected for the period from January 1956 through October 1995. The Accounting Review is published quarterly, thus advertisers were able to place postings four times per year. In 1956, advertisements were free and word limit was not specified. During subsequent years, placement fees were established increasing from $50 to $250 with accompanying word limits ranging from 100 words to 150 words. In 1996, the AAA changed its placement advertising rules. …

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