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Context, agency and professional workplace learning: trainee accountants in large and small practices

Bishop, D (2017) 'Context, agency and professional workplace learning: trainee accountants in large and small practices.' Education and Training, 59 (5). pp. 516-533. ISSN 0040-0912

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Abstract

• Purpose - To investigate the ways in which organisational context and individual agency interact (‘co-participate’) to shape the workplace learning of graduate trainee accountants, and to examine the role of firm size in conditioning this interaction. • Design/methodology/approach - A qualitative, comparative approach was used, involving interviews with 20 respondents across two large and three small accountancy firms in England. • Findings - Differences in individual learner biographies and trajectories generate divergent dispositions with regard to workplace learning. In turn, these dispositions influence the extent to which the generally less formal learning environment of the small firm is interpreted either positively or negatively. • Research limitations/implications - Further research is needed on processes of agency / context interaction across a wider range of organisational and professional environments. • Practical implications - Individual dispositions play an important role in determining the optimal approach towards professional development in practice. • Originality/value - The article offers a novel insight into how variations in both context and agency – and the relationship between them – can generate significant divergences in the professional learning process.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: professional learning; workplace learning; small firms; accountancy; trainees; agency; co-participation
Subjects: L Education > L Education (General)
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2300 Higher Education
Divisions: Institute for Education
Date Deposited: 06 Mar 2017 22:12
Last Modified: 31 May 2017 09:32
URI: http://researchspace.bathspa.ac.uk/id/eprint/9314
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