Degree: Doctoral Thesis
Programme: Business Administration
Authors: Lau Meng Chan
Supervisors: Prof. João Garrot and Prof. Jenny Lao-Phillips
This thesis aims to explore how learning accounting for non-accounting major students could be enhanced through a comprehensive framework connecting individual attributes and learning approaches. While accounting is considered an important and mandatory discipline for business students, it is also considered a difficult subject which deters students’ engagement in the subject. Although the issue has been widely recognized, there are relatively less discussions on possible remedies. Learning accounting is a dynamic process that go beyond the traditional one-to-many learning and teaching settings, all factors revolving the students’ learning environment and process, altogether determine and affect the learning efficiencies. A meta-analysis was first performed to understand the standings of accounting education and to identify gaps within existing literatures in the field of management, accounting, tourism and general education researches. A documentary review on the curricula of all Macau HEI programs involving compulsory accounting courses was also conducted to understand the role and significance of accounting courses for non-accounting college students in Macau. Based on the literature review, this study borrows constructs from theory of planned behavior (TPB) models in its research framework. It attempts to provide a comprehensive framework to understand how students learn accounting efficiently by delving into individual learning styles of the students and their perceived helpfulness and self-efficacy, in respective to different learning techniques. Due to its exploratory nature, a mixed method of qualitative and quantitative methodology is adopted, where both focus group discussions and in-depth interviews are performed with non-accounting students to elicit understandings on student’s difficulties in learning accounting and their preferences for different learning styles. Then, a full-scale quantitative survey is conducted in a Macau higher education institute to assess the learning efficiencies of accounting in different situations. A triangulation with feedback from faculties and administrators are also elicited to provide alternate dimensions on the issues. With no surprise, there is no one best 3 teaching style or method for all students, this thesis contributes to accounting education research by provide a comprehensive diagnosis on the all-round learning stimulus and hindrance in learning accounting. At the end, recommendations are provided for accounting educators to emphasize on the uniqueness of students and to encourage a more dynamic and open environment for learning. Limitations of the studies are also discussed.