oa Meditari : Research Journal of the School of Accounting Sciences - Time perceptions of South African accounting academics

Volume 14, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1022-2529



Research, teaching and service are usually regarded as an academic's main responsibilities. One of the most hotly debated issues in the international arena is what academics should devote their time to, since time is a limited commodity for academics and tradeoffs are necessary.

The aim of this study was to establish the perceptions of South African accounting academics with regard to how they spend their academic time. Managers can use this information in efficiency planning and individuals can use this information to compare their effort allocations to those of their colleagues. A descriptive study was conducted in which a questionnaire was used to test, , the perception of how South African accounting academics at every SAICA-accredited university use their academic time. Nine activities were tested that relate to management, teaching, research and service.
It was found that South African accounting academics spent 10% of their time on management tasks, 78% on teaching, 5% on research and 7% on service. Half (50%, median) of the respondents spent 5% of their time on management tasks, 65% on tuition and 5% on enhancing their own knowledge. It appears as if excessive time is spent on teaching, whilst inadequate time is allocated to research activities. Time spent on service activities appears to be reasonable.
An Accounting academic's qualification appears to be the best indicator against which to measure time allocation. A clear pattern emerged in a comparison between qualification and time allocation in seven of the nine activities tested. The higher the respondent's qualification, the more time is spent on management tasks, research for both non-accredited and accredited journals, acting as external examiner and community work. The inverse is true for subject-related administration and tuition.

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