Towards improving research among cost and management accounting academics at universities of technology : a study of South Africa and Germany
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The research outputs of Accountancy academics in South Africa seem to lag far behind those of their counterparts abroad (West, 2006:121, see also Chan, Chen and Cheng, 2005). Van der Schyf (2008:1) concurs that departments of Accounting at South African universities have established a culture that is removed from research, and that this is in contrast to the nature of a university. A matter of concern is that only a few institutions make up the national research output (De Villiers and Steyn, 2009:43) and especially universities of technology (UoTs) seem to lag behind traditional universities with regard to research output, as a consequence of a lack of emphasis on postgraduate qualifications and published research in the pre-merged technikons and the merged institutes of technology (Singh, 2011:1191). This becomes challenging with regard to the New Funding Framework (South Africa, 2004) which provides funding based on research outputs. Given the above, the aim of this study was to investigate research output among Cost and Management Accounting academics at universities of technology in SA and toward universities of applied sciences in Germany by examining their attitudes toward research, their qualifications and the structure of their master’s programs. Underpinned by Bandura’s Social Cognitive Theory, this study used a mixed methods approach to gather both qualitative and quantitative data from Cost and Management Accounting (CMA) academics at South African universities of technology and Accounting academics at German universities of applied sciences. Analysis of data revealed that academics in both countries showed a positive attitude towards research and obtaining postgraduate qualifications. Despite the absence of a German research funding policy comparable to the South Africa, similar factors seem to influence academics in their research activities in both countries. These include time available for research; support systems and intrinsic motivators. South African respondents showed a lack of qualifications among their staff which reflected on their research skills and therefore, output. Based on the findings, this study makes recommendations to CMA departments at South African universities of technology and Accounting departments at German universities of applied sciences toward improving of research output.