Men’s tendency to welcome competition more than women, and their more positive view of accounting studies lead to them getting better results in accountancy exams than females, new research from Aalto University School of Business reveals.
The study, conducted by professors Jari Huikku, Emma-Riikka Myllymäki, and Hannu Ojala, looked into the motivations of first-year university students in the first course in accounting, and established four driving factors behind learning (performance-approach, mastery-approach, performance-avoidance, and mastery-avoidance).
The research revealed that male students tend to embrace a performance-approach, with a strong desire to outperform their peers, explaining why they get higher results than women in exams. However, no differences were found between male and female students when it came to the results of group assignments.
‘Inclusivity is a fundamental issue that merits attention. Learning environment, course content, assessment and teaching methods ought to aim at gender neutrality. The learning environment should not be biased towards the learning orientation and expectations of any gender,’ says Jari Huikku.
He further suggests that gender differences in expectations, goal setting and performance could be alleviated by improving the alignment of learning objectives, curriculum, teaching methods and assessments from the perspective of gender neutrality and inclusivity. In addition, accounting teachers and the rest of the profession should strive to reduce gender-related stereotypes in accounting.
The study was published in The British Accounting Review.