Does the Holland model of occupational choice (HMOC) perpetuate the Beancounter-Bookkeeper (BB) stereotype of accountants?

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This article investigates the Holland model of occupational choice's (HMOC) development, influence, and validity in relation to its classification of bookkeepers, accountants, and business professionals. Study 1 reanalyzes published data and provides evidence that the Beancounter-Bookkeeper (BB) stereotype, which is promoted in the HMOC, is partially predictive of the personality characteristics of individuals who choose to enter professional accountancy. Study 2 investigates the influence of HMOC training, and exposure to accounting education, on perceptions of the personality type needed for accounting work; results indicate that: (1) HMOC training is associated with perceptions that accounting work requires a BB personality, and (2) the importance of investigative skills to accounting work increase with accounting education. Following this, we review evidence that suggests low validity in the HMOC's claims of greater job success and satisfaction among BB accountants. Finally, we consider three possible processes that may explain Holland and colleagues' conjoining of accountants with bookkeepers. Together, the analysis promotes skepticism regarding whether the HMOC's claim that professional accounting success demands a passive, compliant, subservient, i.e., BB, personality supports the public interest obligations of professional accountants. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.

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Critical Perspectives on Accounting

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