Factors influencing persistence of aspiring chartered accountants : a fortigenic approach

Nel, Petrus
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Stellenbosch : University of Stellenbosch
Persistence is not a well researched phenomenon. In addition, no previous research has suggested a process depicting a combination of variables that are related to persistence. The current study explores the process of persistence from a fortigenic paradigm, which emphasises psychological strengths. The aim of the current study is to determine the relationship between various fortigenic variables and persistence. The fortigenic paradigm also suggests that psychological strengths can be developed. In order to understand the process of persistence, the current study includes both cognitive (locus of control, optimism, hope, self-efficacy) and emotional psychological strengths (self-esteem, performance self-esteem, resilience) that are related to persistence. Based on literature, the current study suggests a model depicting a sequential process of interrelationship amongst the fortigenic variables and their relationship with persistence. To test the validity of the proposed model, the current study uses a sample of individuals that must be persistent in order to achieve their career goals. A group of 295 aspiring Chartered Accountants who wrote Part 1 of the Qualifying Exam during 2005 participated in the study. From this group, 156 (53%) did not pass the Qualifying Exam during 2005. The study employs both survey and statistical modeling methodologies to guide the investigation. Standardised questionnaires are used for the eight different fortigenic variables. To determine the applicability of the factor structures of these instruments on the current sample, exploratory factor analysis is conducted. The suggested factor structures are confirmed through confirmatory factor analysis with acceptable levels of fit. The revalidated instruments provide better levels of fit than the original instruments. The current study first tested the model of persistence on the total group. The theoretical model depicting the process of persistence provides acceptable levels of fit with all the suggested paths in the model being statistically significant. The same model was tested on the group of individuals that failed previous attempts of the Qualifying Exam, but passed it during 2005. Better levels of fit are obtained with all the paths being statistically significant except between self-esteem and resilience. Again the model was tested using the group of individuals that failed previous attempts at the Qualifying Exam, which failed it during 2005, but still persisted in writing. Acceptable levels of fit are obtained with all the paths being statistically significant except between self-efficacy and resilience. However, the group that failed the Qualifying Exam during 2005 has significantly lower levels of both hope and performance self-esteem. In addition, discriminant analysis shows that hope, optimism, and resilience are factors that can classify individuals into either passing or failing. Of importance is the fact that as individuals write the Qualifying Exam on different attempts, there seems to be a lowering in the number of statistically significant relationships between the fortigenic variables and persistence. The current study ascribes this phenomenon to resource depletion. The latter makes it difficult for individuals to persist in using the same psychological strength if it is not replenished before usage. The study suggests an intervention programme that may enhance the levels of psychological strengths and persistence and counteracting the impact of resource depletion in aspiring chartered accountants.
Thesis (PhD (Industrial Psychology))--University of Stellenbosch, 2007.
Dissertations -- Industrial psychology, Theses -- Industrial psychology, Persistence -- Psychological aspects, Accounting -- Study and teaching -- Psychological aspects, Graduate students -- Psychology, Academic achievement -- Psychological aspects