Date of Award


Embargo Period


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Education, Business & Science

First Advisor

Professor Anthony Williams

Second Advisor

Associate Professor Maria Northcote

Third Advisor

Associate Professor Lisa Barnes


130103 Higher Education


The Australian University Accounting Academic (AUAA) is located in an environment which is undergoing constant change and impacts AUAAs in a variety of ways. These create pressure points that AUAAs experience and which they value, are challenged by, or affects their outlook. AUAAs are frequently not fully informed about these changes, and may not fully understand them and, as a consequence of not having the power to hold back these changes, AUAAs have little option other than to adapt. These changes challenge the traditional perception of a university accounting academic, which can cause role conflict for those AUAAs who hold onto that perception of the traditional academic role, which may not align with the expectations of the role held by other parties (e.g., university administrators or students). Where this perception is not in conflict with the changing requirements of the AUAA’s role, there is enjoyment and satisfaction.

This study considers the context of AUAAs and the impact this context has on the work of AUAAs, using a lived experience study to understand how the changing environment is effecting these academics. A hermeneutic phenomenological methodology was utilised so as to more fully understand the lived experience of AUAAs, using a multi-methods qualitaitve research approach. Role theory was used as a theoretical framework for considering the lived experience of AUAAs, and noted the role strain from potential role conflicts and role ambiguity arising from the AUAAs’ perceptions of what their role includes, and what they perceive students and university administrators expect of them, through the development of the TRAC framework of expectations.

The aspects of their work AUAAs value most are students who are well prepared for studying accounting at university and are engaged in their learning. They also value fair and manageable workloads and having freedom to research topics of personal interest. Alternatively, AUAAs encounter some challenges such as changing modes of teaching, research expectations, students’ ‘consumer/customer’ perspective and limited publishing opportunities. The projected outlook of AUAAs include continued growth in international student numbers, having to adapt their means of engaging with students and ongoing dissatisfaction with workload and research expectations.

The original contribution of this study is in adding to the knowledge around role theory by using a lived experience methodology and situating it within the university discipline of accounting. The study describes the AUAAs’ lived experience by giving them voice to share their outlook, and the issues that they value and are challenged by, rather than merely reporting their views on predetermined issues and topics.

AUAAs, like most academics in the Australian university system, are confronting an ever-changing landscape. This study demonstrates the need for the AUAA to adapt to the new vista that is the environment of the lived experience of AUAAs.


Used by permission: the author.

Staff and Students of Avondale College may access a print copy of this thesis from Avondale College Library (SC Theses 657.07119441 L85).