The purpose of this paper is to illustrate the extent to which a case study developed by a financial institution and completed within a collaborative learning environment can be used to develop soft skills.
A questionnaire research instrument comprising open and closed response questions was used to collect the data.
The case study developed by the external stakeholder was found to be useful in developing soft skills. The primary skills identified by respondents were decision-making, problem-solving, critical thinking, communication and research ability. However, the respondents believed that the collaborative learning element had the greatest impact on the development of skills, particularly ethical behaviour, professionalism and personal attributes.
The results are not generalisable beyond the scope of the particular higher education institution in which the study was conducted and the country in which the study was situated. Additionally, this paper measured soft skills development through perceptions of participating students. An objective measurement of students’ immediate soft skills improvement is not considered. Nonetheless, the findings provide guidance to educators on how a case study developed by a financial institution and completed within a collaborative learning environment can be used to develop soft skills.
The paper makes three contributions. The first is to detail how a real-world case study with a substantial technical component can be used to develop soft skills. Second, the paper contributes to the real-world case study and collaborative learning elements literature and ascertains the effectiveness of both methods in developing various soft skills. Finally, the paper contributes to the limited literature on how external stakeholders can become involved in the development of accounting curriculum content.
We would like to thank the editor, and the two anonymous reviewers for their insightful comments and suggestions. Many thanks also go to Nedbank, and specifically Zee Harduth (Head: Specialist Training Programmes) and her team for the continued support and collaboration with the University of Johannesburg.
Samkin, G. and Keevy, M. (2019), "Using a stakeholder developed case study to develop soft skills", Meditari Accountancy Research, Vol. 27 No. 6, pp. 862-882. https://doi.org/10.1108/MEDAR-01-2018-0260Download as .RIS
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