Honors Capstone Project
Date of Submission
Capstone Prize Winner
Won Capstone Funding
Factors like the increasing globalization of business in the world, the imperative to serve increasingly diverse client needs, and the changing demographics of our nation’s population, make it necessary for the accounting industry to implement effective diversification strategies in order to overcome the shortage of Latinos in the profession. The purpose of this study was to present a grounded theory of one major research question: Why do Latino students who are interested in business choose not to pursue degrees in accounting? For the purposes of the investigation, grounded theory is defined as theory generated from data systematically obtained and analyzed through constant comparison.
To investigate why Latino students interested in business choose not to pursue degrees in accounting, this study used the constant comparative method to investigate the research question. The study consisted of individual interviews with students currently enrolled in business majors other than accounting at a mid-size private university. Using interviews allowed for an in-depth exploration of the data collected from research participants, as they discussed demographic information, academic experiences, career choices, and their opinions about the accounting profession. Additionally, the constant comparative method allowed the researcher to find reoccurring themes in responses from each individual student that result in a better understanding of Latino perceptions about the accounting industry. Being able to identify themes among the narratives allowed the theoretical framework of this study to put forth more credible propositions as to why the accounting profession does not appeal to Latino students.
The discussions section used Social Cognitive Career Theory (SCCT) as an interpretive framework to contextualize the themes. In 1994, SCCT was introduced by Steven Brown, Gail Hackett, and Robert Lent. The framework for SCCT was primarily derived from Albert Bandura’s social cognitive theory that was developed in 1986. SCCT adopts social cognitive theory propositions in order to rationalize why individuals make certain career choices, goals, behaviors, and explorations. The theory’s purpose is to provide a reason for how career and academic pursuits mature over time and how they develop into an individual’s career and career-related choices. The SCCT model combines and establishes connections between numerous career theories.
This study found that a combination of Latino students’ performance in required accounting classes and the lack of role models they have encountered in the profession has shaped low-self efficacies. In turn, these low self-efficacies have created negative outcome expectations about the work and work environment for accountants. Factors like faculty and peer interactions may have also reinforced these perceptions along with the lack of awareness about the opportunities in accounting.
Santana, Jessica, "Why Not Accounting? Why Latino Students Say “No Thank You” to the Accounting Profession" (2011). Syracuse University Honors Program Capstone Projects. 271.
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