A profession in peril? University corporatization, performance measurement and the sustainability of accounting academia

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This paper examines the effects of university corporatization on accounting academics with reference to an in-depth case study of a research-intensive English business school that strongly embraced managerialist and marketized approaches to higher education. It discusses how accounting research became marginalized as the school directed research funding towards business disciplines it deemed more likely to deliver top-ranked publications, large research grants and substantial industry partnerships. The paper moreover explores how accounting teaching, curriculum design and the administrative hierarchies of the business school started to be colonized by teaching fellows with backgrounds in private sector accountancy tuition. As a result of these two developments, the school’s accounting department gradually transformed into a teaching-only operation which delivered largely standardized and highly technical accounting education. The paper links this transformation of the accounting department to the growing emphasis on research and teaching performance measures in the English higher education system and concludes that the academic accounting profession, as defined by original research and research-informed teaching, is in danger of disappearing at many English business schools.


Original languageEnglish
JournalCritical Perspectives on Accounting
Early online date15 Feb 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 15 Feb 2021


  • Accounting research, Accounting education, Higher education, Journal rankings