Academic journal article Canadian Journal of Administrative Sciences

Situated Motivation: An Empirical Test in an Accounting Course

Academic journal article Canadian Journal of Administrative Sciences

Situated Motivation: An Empirical Test in an Accounting Course

Article excerpt


The enhanced motivation and performance benefits associated with the use of enriched work environments (i.e., high task identity, variety, and significance; worker autonomy; and frequent performance feedback) have been well established (Hackman & Oldham, 1975, 1976, 1980). The present study tests whether these benefits can also be achieved in the classroom setting. Students from a compulsory final-year accounting course were asked to report their level of motivation in and their perceptions about the enrichment of the course. As hypothesized, a positive and significant correlation was found between student perceptions of enrichment and their reported motivation. The results, obtained by running a series of regression equations which included a variety of teaching context and student level variables, are also reported. These regression results offer further insight into the relationship between enriched learning environments and motivation.


Une motivation rehaussee et une augmentation des performances sont associes a la mise en place d'un environnement de travail enrichi (par exemple gr6ce a une thigh task identity>> ou l'ouvrier recoit une explication globale de son processus de travail et s'epanouit dans cette connaissance, la variete et l'importance de ce travail, l'autonomie de l'ouvrier et de frequentes appreciations sur ses performances), comme cela a itj clairement etabli (Hackman & Oldham, 1975, 1976, 1980). Cette etude a pour but d'examiner si ces ameliorations peuvent etre etendues a la salle de classe. Des etudiants de derniere annie dans un cours obligatoire de comptabilite ont eti sollicite's pour rendre compte de leur niveau de motivation pour le cours et de la proportion de taches enrichissantes qu'ils avaient trouvee dans celui-ci.

Conformement a l'hypothese de depart, une forte correlation a ete trouvee entre la perception des etudiants quant au nombre de taches enrichissantes dans le cours et leur niveau de motivation. Les resultats obtenus i partir d'une serie d'equations regressives, qui incluaient une diversite de contextes d'enseignement et des etudi-- ants de niveaux variables sont egalement inclus. Ces resultats approfondissent encore la relation entre un environnement d'apprentissage enrichi et la motivation qui en decoule.

The promotion of high student motivation and performance is a basic goal of every educator. The accounting education literature addresses the achievement of this goal largely from an individual student characteristics perspective. Such individual level factors as university entrance test scores (Buckless, Lipe, & Ravenscroft, 1991), prior course grades (Doran, Boullion, & Smith, 1991), personality traits (Oswick & Barber, 1998), and race and gender (Carpenter, Friar, & Lipe, 1993) are commonly studied predictors of student motivation and performance.

Commonly missing from the accounting education literature's discussion of student motivation and performance is an understanding of the role played by the learning context. This omission is surprising. The general education literature has long argued for the dual importance of the learner's characteristics and the learning setting. Laurillard (1979), for instance, states that differences in student motivation and adopted learning strategies (i.e., deep and surface learning) are "largely due to external [learning setting] circumstances" (p. 397). Paris and Turner (1994) provide similar evidence. They reveal how the type of learning task an educator adopts, which they dichotomize as open or problembased versus closed or problem solving, has a significant effect on a student's motivation and chosen learning strategy. In particular, students who are exposed to open learning tasks are more likely to exhibit greater motivation, as well as choose a learning strategy that is more consistent with Biggs' (1987) deep learning approach.

The purpose of the present paper is to redress the imbalance and lack of attention that the business (and particularly the accounting) education literature is paying to the learning setting. …

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