Work placements work! why? : an investigation of why communication skills improve during work placements

ROBERTS, Martin, JOYCE, John and HASSALL, Trevor (2010). Work placements work! why? : an investigation of why communication skills improve during work placements. International Review of Business Research Papers, 6 (2), 260-271.

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The aim of this paper is to investigate why students who have undertaken a work placement as part of their accounting degree programme are identified as having improved levels of communications skills. This paper will explore the opinions of professional accounting bodies such as the American Accounting Association’s (AAA) Committee on Future Structure, Content and Scope of Accounting Education, (Bedford Committee 1986), employers (CIMA Centre of Excellence 2009) and research results (Albrecht and Sack 2000), that have all advocated that greater emphasis should be placed on the development of communication skills throughout accounting education. In response to this acknowledged skills deficit an increasing number of accounting programs have included communication skills as educational objectives or learning outcomes within their syllabi, and have integrated activities into the curriculum in order to develop these skills. However the impact of undertaking a placement on skills development has not been widely reported. The research methodology for this study was an initial questionnaire which was then followed up by a 'critical incident technique' interview and thereby adopting the approach of the work of Flanagan (1954). The results record the views of students taking a placement year as part of their accountancy degree at Sheffield Hallam University. These interviews focused on incidents that the students thought had led to improvements in their communication skills.The findings show that the critical incidents that inspired students to improve both their oral and written communication skills were typified as pressure (either from themselves or pressure from the organizations they were working for), expectation (again from the organization, either explicit or implicit) and the need to be "professional".

Item Type: Article
Research Institute, Centre or Group: Sheffield Business School Research Institute > Finance, Accounting and Business Systems
Departments: Sheffield Business School > Finance, Accountancy and Business Systems
Depositing User: Trevor Hassall
Date Deposited: 14 Mar 2016 10:29
Last Modified: 07 Dec 2016 14:30

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