An Emotional Response To The State of Accounting Education: Developing Accounting Students’ Emotional Intelligence

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This paper attempts to do three things. Firstly, in the light of growing concern over the expanding managerialism and rationalism within society in general and accounting education in particular, the paper presents a theoretical reappraisal of the extent to which conventional perspectives on rationalism and managerialism might be misconstrued. In particular, the paper address a question that relates to the role of emotion within business decision making: ‘while we might feel uneasy about basing accounting and business decisions purely on reason, surely this is more acceptable than basing them on feelings or emotions?’ Behind this rhetorical question lies the common assumption that emotional responses to business issues are at best unhelpful. The first section of the paper explores this misconceived notion of the distinction between reason and emotion which, it is argued, has emerged primarily from the work of Max Weber and presents an alternative perspective on the primacy of emotion in all rational decision making. Secondly, drawing on Gardner’s work on multiple intelligences, the paper suggests that the conventional misconception of the relationship between emotion and reason has resulted in the complete failure within accounting education to address the area of student’s emotional intelligence. Finally, it is contended that despite the spread of managerialism, accounting education remains a dialectical process and the paper concludes with a report on a specific attempt to critically resist the managerialist rhetoric through developing accounting student’s emotional skills.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)629-648
JournalCritical Perspectives on Accounting
Issue number4-5
Publication statusPublished - 2004


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