Title: Commodification of higher education in accounting: a Marxist perspective

Authors: Audrey Milton, Brendan O'Connell

Addresses: School of Business, James Cook University, Townsville 4811, Queensland, Australia. ' School of Accounting and Law, RMIT University, 15/239 Bourke St., Melbourne, Victoria 3001, Australia

Abstract: This paper critically evaluates how the rising focus by universities| management on commercial imperatives as manifested in effects such as the commodification of the core teaching function, has resulted in sub-optimal outcomes for students. Informed by a Marxist perspective of the process of commodification, this paper puts forward the case of widespread adoption of a narrow range of assessment practices within accounting programs as an example of an unfortunate product of this trend. The present investigators highlight the under-funded university system diverging from a collegial, academic-led strategic focus to that of a corporate-style emphasis on efficiency and commodification of teaching as a major reason for this trend. Apart from commercialisation, other potential causes analysed include reluctance by academics to embrace best practice in the area and structural issues such as the university reward system.

Keywords: assessment; accounting education; higher education; education commodification; university management; Marxism; core teaching; reward systems; critical accounting.

DOI: 10.1504/IJCA.2009.027317

International Journal of Critical Accounting, 2009 Vol.1 No.3, pp.204 - 227

Published online: 19 Jul 2009 *

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