Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Philosophical Definition of Justice: The Role of Accounting

Philosophical Definition of Justice: The Role of Accounting What is Justice? Justice means different things to different people. It is very much a culturally determined concept that requires an innate understanding of a particular person or group of people. For the purpose of this research paper justice is defined as the judgment and process involved with making something that is wrong or bad, right and good. Justice helps us as a society distinguish wrong from right and corrects what is wrong by making it right. But what is right and what is wrong? What is fair and what is just? If something is wrong or unfair, how should society make it right? Such questions have been asked since the beginnings of human interaction. Perhaps under a monarchy justice, for right or wrong, is more easily determined as it is simply what the supreme ruler (or monarch) feels is just or fair. Under a monarchy or aristocratic rule, there is only one ruler and what that individual feels is right, just, or fair, simply is and often cannot be questioned. However, within the realm of more contemporary political systems such as democracy, the ideology of justice, while arguably more fair, can be much more difficult to establish and understand. Democracy, at least in theory, grants the power to the people and therefore places the burden of justice or defining what is fair or equal upon the masses. Since different people have different belief systems they are often in disagreement on what is right or what is fair and have differences of opinion when it comes to justice. Without the aristocracy, justice becomes a very argumentative and ambiguous concept. Philosophy, the Various Schools of Thought, and their Influence on the Ideology of Justice Disagreements over what is fair (or just) have been around since the beginning of time, almost certainly since the very first of human interactions. At first glance we probably think we have a fairly uniform understanding of what justice might or should be. For example if someone commits premeditated first degree murder, most would probably agree the individual should be jailed and, depending on your belief system, either face a life sentence in jail or the death penalty. If someone embezzles money from their company, most would insist the individual should be forced to make restitution and face additional criminal or civil penalty. But even in the seemingly straightforward examples above, and within the realm of a relatively homogenous audience (those reading this paper), one can already start to see how complicated the ideology of justice can be. For example, some have very strong feelings about the death penalty and insist that no crime, even murder, would justify ending another persons life. Additionally, some feel that crimes such as embezzlement are a form of victimless crime and would never warrant a punishment as severe as jail time since no one individual had been harmed. (Hanlin 2004, pp. 527) Within the relatively straightforward scenarios above, one can already begin to imagine the diversity of opinions as to what is just and fair. Should the murder be murdered? Should the embezzler be jailed? What if he only stole the money to pay for chemotherapy for his dying wife? Luckily, numerous philosophers and historians have provided us with rich literature that helps us decipher the complex ideology of justice. In fact, it is only after studying and critically evaluating several of these philosophers, their different schools of ethical and moral thought, and the way they define justice that one can start to understand the differences in perceptions of justice around the world. The next sections provide brief introductions into several of the various schools of ethical and moral thought and provide some insight into the individual philosophers that have undoubtedly helped to shape ours and others understanding of justice. It is only after considering the various schools of thought that we can start to understand the differences in the perception of justice that exist around the world. Utilitarianism Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832) was a utilitarian and insisted that justice is doing what will produce the greatest happiness for the greatest number of people. (Justice a Reader pg. 9) The utilitarian school of thought considers the principle of utility as the basis of moral law. Bentham defines utility as whatever promotes pleasure or prevents pain. (Justice A Reader pg. 9) The major criticism / objection to Benthams utilitarian principals come from the perspective that maximum utility, or collective happiness, may come at the expense of violating individual rights. (Justice A Reader pg. 9) In order to refute some of the criticisms of Benthams utilitarianism, John Stuart Mill (1806-1873) argued that the idea of justice rests ultimately on utilitarian considerations but also requires a respect for individual rights. (Justice A Reader pg. 9) But even with Mills approach to justice, it becomes extremely difficult to choose and/or decipher between individual rights and the majority or maximum utility. This often leaves us with questions of where to draw the line between the greatest good for the majority and the protection of individual rights. Libertarianism Milton Friedman and other libertarian thinkers were advocates of free markets and critics of government regulation. (Justice A Reader pg. 49) Underlying their (libertarians) laissez-faire stance is the idea that each of us has a fundamental right to liberty – a right to do whatever we want with the things we own, provided we do not violate other peoples rights to do the same. (Justice A Reader pg. 49) Contrary to utilitarian thought, libertarians would never sacrifice individual rights for maximum utility or the benefit of the majority. According to the Libertarians, only a minimal government is necessary. In essence the government should only be put in place such that it enforces contracts, protects private property, and keeps the peace. (Justice A Reader pg. 49) Justice would ensure that we own ourselves and the fruits of our labor, and therefore, as the proprietors of our own person, each of us has the right to decide what to do with our bodies and our labor, with the money we earn, and the goods we possess. (Justice A Reader pg. 49) Justice would be the protection of those rights as well as the individual rights of others. The biggest challenges to libertarian policy usually come in the form of paternalist and/or redistributive laws. Paternalist and redistributive laws typically are enacted such that a society can tax the rich to help the poor. While utilitarian principles strongly favor such laws, Libertarians typically argue that such laws are a form of coerced charity that makes every person the property (perhaps even the slave) of the majority. (Justice A Reader pg. 49) Pure Libertarianism teaches that welfare is a violation of individual rights. Liberationists believe that while the poor should have every right to better themselves, that right should not come at the expense of anyones individual right to what they own or produce. Egalitarian A third school of thought that attempts to define the role of justice in society is egalitarianism. John Rawls (1921-2002) was often described as an egalitarian liberal (Justice A Reader pg. 263) and defined justice as fairness. Rawls believed that justice is a social contract in which people come together to choose the basic principles that will govern their society and proposed that the way to think about justice is to ask what principles would be chosen by people who came together behind a veil of ignorance that temporarily deprived them of any knowledge about where they would wind up in society. (Justice A Reader pg. 203) Accordingly, Rawls moral reasoning requires us to be abstract from the particular circumstances in which we find ourselves (Justice A Reader pg. 203), and justice is the first virtue of social institutions, as truth is of systems of thought. (Justice A Reader pg. 203) Rawls rejected utilitarianism and believed that certain individual rights are so fundamental that utilitarian considerations should not override them. (Justice A Reader pg. 203) However, contrary to Freidman and the libertarians, Rawls did not believe that the results of a free market are necessarily fair and was not opposed to the taxation of the privileged to help the poor. In Rawls opinion it would be acceptable, under certain circumstances, to take from the privileged as long as it were helping the underprivileged. Accounting and Justice Regardless of how you define justice or what school of thought you most closely relate to, it is clear the accountant plays a significant role in the establishment and preservation of justice for society. Accounting is the language of business (Bloomfield, 2008) and without it justice cannot exist. Since the beginnings of specialization, when humans stopped being self sufficient and started specializing, bartering, and trading, accounting has become a critical part of human interaction. In todays society accountants serve in many roles critical to the defense and preservation of justice. For example, in the U.S., IRS accountants ensure that citizens pay the appropriate amount of tax, forensic accountants provide investigative services for criminal and civil proceedings, and many of the FBIs anti-terrorist agents use their accounting backgrounds to trace terrorist funding. History of the Spanish Empire One only has to look back a few hundred years to see a perfect example of how the role of an accountant can protect and help preserve, or fail to protect and preserve, an entire civilization. In his book For Good and Evil – The Impact of Taxes on the Course of Civilization, Charles Adams describes how tax fraud lead to the demise of one of the largest and most wealthy empires found in modern times – Imperial Spain. Around the time Christopher Columbus discovered the new world (the 14th and 15th centuries), the Spanish Empire was the strongest empire in the world which has never been equaled in terms of size or money. (Hanlin 2004, pp. 529) It controlled significant portions of Europe, the Americas, Africa, Asia, and Oceania (Australia and the Pacific Islands), and at its peak Spains conquered overseas empire was the largest the world has ever known. (Hanlin 2004, pp. 529) However, in the 17th century the vast empire started to disintegrate. Contrary to conventional wisdom, it was not the English fleet defeating the Spanish Armada that brought down the Empire, rather it was tax evasion and revolt by the masses against the patronage system that ultimately lead to the bankruptcy of the empire. After several revolts from within the empire, and long civil war, the Spanish Empire was forced to increase taxes to pay soldiers to put down the various rebellions. As a result, many of the people in the colonies engineered what was probably the best system of fraud and evasion that history has ever known. (Hanlin 2004, pp. 530) When the Spanish authorities tried to tax goods that passed through the major ports, the Spanish businessmen created complicated schemes to have silver and gold shipped to alternate ports away from the customs officials, even laundering it through foreign countries. (Hanlin 2004, pp. 530) In order to avoid the Royal Fifth – a 20% cu stoms tax and a 35% convoy tax on good from the colonies, the Spanish businessmen transformed commerce into one massive smuggling operation by avoiding the authorities and therefore the taxes. (Hanlin 2004, pp. 530) The Empire tried to stop the smuggling and division of money and goods away from the taxing authorities but simply did not have the means to control and stop the smuggling and tax evasion. As a result, the overseas empire could not defend itself and stealing the colonies of Spain became an international sport as most of the colonies were lost to the British, Dutch, and eventually the United States. Contemporary Accounting and Justice Given its role as the language of business, accountings integral role in society continues to grow as global economies grow and become increasingly interconnected. World GDP has grown from $1.34 trillion in 1960 to $60.6 trillion in 2008. (The World Bank, 2009). The Association of Certified Fraud Examiners estimates that in the U.S. 7% of total GPD is lost to fraud and injustice. (ACFE, 2008) When applied to a global GPD of $60.6 trillion loses resulting from fraud and injustices are estimated to have been $994 billion in 2008. $994 billion is a staggering number but in fact may be understated as many developing countries face an even higher percentage of fraud due to the lack of infrastructure and the ability to combat fraud. According the Corruption Perception Index (CPI), the U.S. ranks 19th (with 1st indicating the least amount of corruption) out of 182 countries surveyed for the amount of perceived corruption within a particular country indicating that, on a global scale, losses probably well exceed the trillion dollar mark annually. So who is best equipped to protect and defend the innocent from the injustices of fraud? The answer is simple, the accountants around the world. Accountants understand the language of business better than anyone and therefore are best suited to be the defenders of justice and fight the injustices that exist across the globe. Just or unjust, they may have even been able to preserve the Spanish Empire. Distributive Justice Another manner in which accountants play an integral role in society is through distributive justice. Utilitarian principles have led to many governments and societal systems that incorporate and rely upon paternalist or redistributive laws. For example, the U.S. and many other countries tax their wealthy citizens and use the funds to run social support programs for the poor such as welfare, unemployment, section 8 housing, etc. Such programs are a form of distributed justice. Robert Nozick describes distributive justice as follows: In contemporary political theory, distributive justice is primarily about the allocation of income, wealth, and opportunity. (Justice A Reader pg. 263) If distributive justice does represent the allocation of income and wealth, than who other than that accountant, who understands the language of business and taxation, would be best equipped to establish and preserve distributed justice? Another example of distributive justice and the role that an accountant plays is the concept of price gauging. Michael Sandel uses a great example in his teachings at Harvard when discussing the events that often transpire in the aftermath of a hurricane. Often, in the days following a major hurricane, for example Hurricane Charley in 2004 and Hurricane Katrina in 2005, local retailers charge prices for common goods such as bags of ice and gas powered generators in excess of 1000% of their normal price. (Justice, 2009) Should such practices be considered simply the effects of supply and demand or is it injustice on the part of the retailer in the form of price gauging? Regardless of your opinion on price gauging laws, it is evident the accountant is best equipped to understand and determine whether or not price gauging exists and how to best allocate monies. Who other than the accountant would understand all the transactions taking place between retailers and consumers? In both cases above, the enforcement of paternalistic laws and analysis of price gauging activities, accountants are the ones that ensure monies are appropriately being collected and allocated, thereby defending justice as a society sees fit. Justice and the Role of the Accountant Globally Increasingly, corporations and businesses are taking on the global environment. This requires that accountants and auditors be able to identify the different risks associated with international interconnectedness and be able counteract these risks with the necessary precautions. The global environment adds additional complications for the role of the accountant and actually increases the responsibilities as the defender of justice. In a global spectrum, there are many different laws and regulations and thus, the role of the accountant changes depending on the environment in which the rules are generated. Culture is a huge influence on accounting regulation. Additionally, culture is intertwined within the market and political forces that help to shape the resulting accounting system. The different interaction of these forces in an environment helps to determine the place of the accountant in the economic system, which has a direct effect on the accountants role as the defender of just ice. Justice can only prevail in a society that embraces it. Perceived levels of corruption can be indicative of the state of the economy of a particular country which can help to define or determine the role of the accountant. If there are very few cases of fraud, but high levels of corruption perception it can be an indication that the appropriate level of justice is not being achieved. If enforcement of laws and regulation is inconsistent then a tougher approach may be needed to combat corruption. Transparency International states that in order to minimize corruption there needs to be strong oversight by governments, law enforcement, media, and the society. If a country is lacking oversight, corruption can continue to get worse. As a result, the role of the accountant in these environments would be limited since rules, laws, and regulations are not embraced and enforced. Regulation is only part of the battle. Change will only be effective if it comes from a commitment that is made by businesses and governments of all sizes. Stronger institutional oversight is needed across the world. There needs to be strict legal frameworks and more alert regulation by enforcement agencies in addition to accountants and auditors that ensure lower levels of corruption. As noted in an article issues by Transparency International, persistently high corruption in low-income countries amounts to an ongoing humanitarian disaster. According to the CPI index, China has improved over last year showing that their efforts to reduce corruption by enacting reforms, the implementation of forceful investigation, and intense sentencing have created less perceptions of corruption than before, but still remains a very serious problem. Norways score indicates that as a result of some serious scandals that have emerged over the last few years there is a significant problem in the private and public sectors. However, a growing number of cases being investigated and prosecuted demonstrates that they are at least trying to make headway. Italy is declining in the corruption index because of severe fraud and corruption that exist in the public health system and because of the recent arrests of politicians and public officials in the Abruzzo region. France also has also seen several cases of public officials that were connected to corrupt activities surface recently. Somalia, having the lowest CPI score highlights that there is a link between economic and political collapse. Additionally, Iraqs score of 1.3 shows the importance of establishing solid and functioning institutions capable of preventing corruption and implementing the rule of law. In all cases, the examples provide insight and indicate a need for regulation and an increased role for accountants because justice is not being found. Accounting Regulation Globally Accounting rules can indicate a lot about a country. Accounting rules are created in such a way that they fit the environment that they exist in, which varies across countries and cultures. If society wishes to protect the investor, the accounting system will have disclosure rules that enable investors to gain information and protect themselves. While some countries are developing regulations that contain investor protection improvements, in many cases much more work needs to be done. The manner in which markets function and the way politics are conducted greatly affect accounting systems and often lead to drastic differences across countries. The role of the accountant and, furthermore, the way that justice is enforced will also vary greatly amongst countries. Common law countries differ from codified law countries because common law countries have an independent body to interpret the law. Accounting rules in common law countries are determined by the private sector and require lengthy disclosure since there are no close relationships with corporations. However, code law countries require that corporations be heavily involved the government. The government often includes banks, labor unions, and major suppliers in rule-making decisions. As a result, transactions in these countries tend to be focused more on private information. There are institutional differences between all countries. Institutional differences enable economic and accounting systems to differ, thus the role of the accountant and the justice that results will differ amongst these countries. Accounting regulation in Germany allows more discretion on the accountant because it is written in more general terms. However, in France the regulation is more rigid, enables less discretion, and thus provides less wiggle room on the part of corporations. In Switzerland there are very few disclosure requirements, which can facilitate the reporting of smooth earnings through the usage of hidden reserves. Further, some accounting systems are difficult to compare because they do not fit within any particular mold. For example, the accounting system in Finland was created specifically for use by the foresting industry. By looking at international comparisons of accounting systems, it is evident there is no single way of performing accounting. As a result, the accounting rules are different and change to become an integral part of the markets and politics of each country and culture. Market demand affects the financial statements because the corporations must pay to prepare them. The political environment is important because the government has the ability to control regulators and possibly interfere with regulation. In order to perform and understand the different accounting processes, accountants must be aware of the different forces that exist in a particular country. By being aware of the different forces, accountants will be able to more aptly ensure that justice prevails in the country they operate. As evidenced above, accounting regulations vary across countries, time, and cultures which causes significant variations in the role of the accountant. While countries have been extending efforts to strengthen accounting rules and oversight, this alone cannot and will not prevent future fraud. (Leuz, 2002). But there are many benefits to implement strong laws and enforcement in order to protect shareholders rights. U.S. firms are not the only ones experiencing problems, as many firms globally are suffering from accounting irregularities. Some countries experience self-dealings and misappropriations of profits because of weaker legal measures. Weak legal measures create a greater incentive to manipulate the financial statements to conceal poor business performance. Manipulation is less apparent in places where outside investors have legal rights to vote out corrupt managers. However, manipulation is predominant in places like Austria, Italy, Germany, Southeast Asia, South Korea and Ta iwan, because they do not have investor protection. East Asian Perspective The East Asian countries, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand can help accountants see the way that accounting standards interact with the incentives of managers and auditors. (Ball, Ashok, et al, Incentives versus standards) The accounting standards in these countries come from a common law environment. Common law countries generally create high quality financial reporting. However, in these countries the preparers incentives generate low quality financial statements. The preparer incentives again, depend on the market and political forces and how these forces interact with one another. Market forces are dependent on the demand for high-quality financial reporting. The political forces depend on the government involvement in the creation and enforcement of the regulation. The interaction of these forces with the accounting system can drastically change the role of the accountant in these countries. The standards themselves are viewed as high-quality, but the institutional s tructure creates incentives for preparers incentives to issue low-quality financial reports. Financial reporting in East Asia generally exists with an incentive structure that is similar to a code-law model. However, the East Asian countries do not follow that model. Their governments have code-law reporting incentive features, but also have indications that the environment reduces the financial reporting quality. The large amount of family-owned businesses and enterprises is a cause for the low need of quality financial statements. One family generally owns investments that are inter-related. These networks are commonly referred to guanxi networks. These networks attempt to take away the demand of required disclosures and timely loss recognition and it also reduces the communication required with stakeholders. The extent of government involvement in the standard setting and the financial reporting practice differs across these countries. Political factors can create an incentive to hide large profits and losses. The political environments in these East Asian countries have a tendency to want companies to succeed, so they recommend companies hide losses. They also are afraid of other countries becoming involved in their practices because they do not want to be held accountable for any misstatements. The companies are also expected to report smooth earnings, which reinforces the desire to report, cover, and hide losses. Litigation is minimal in these countries since there is a large incentive to hide earnings, which the government reinforces. There have been very few cases of judicial actions in these countries. Audit quality in these countries is poor primarily due to lack of auditor independence. The influence and independence of the accounting profession is an indicator of ineffective enf orcement of accounting standards. Considering the financial incentives for managers and auditors there is a greater incentive for reduced timeliness and conservatism in accounting earnings. Fraud is continuing to go undetected in Hong Kong. Although there is a 22% incidence of fraud, much more is expected to be going on given the different forces that are currently having an effect on the country. As a result, currently more scrutiny is being given to the monitoring of financial transactions and corporations are beginning to make it a priority. There are currently programs that are offered for certification in forensic accounting, which is having an impact on fraud detection. Most of the fraud cases that exist in Hong Kong are internet banking fraud, computer fraud, misuse of corporations credit card, and electronic funds transfer fund. There is a need for more forensic accountants in Singapore in order to ensure sufficient justice as many significant fraud cases are going undetected. Two important fraud cases involved Fibrechem Technologies and Oriental Century. In the Fibrechem Technologies audit, Ernst Young Singapore were not certain of the cash and trade debtor balance. KPMG had the same problem with Oriental Century. Another notable case is one in which a Singapore monk, who was in charge of Singapores well-known charities, received 10 months in prison for committing fraud. In Malaysia, the role of accounting in the fight for justice is very small. Crimes are beginning to become more and more complicated and controlled but forensic accounting is viewed as a service that only larger companies can afford. This makes catching fraud more difficult. Cases that are investigated are generally handled by the Bukit Aman Commercial Crime Division. This group was able to catch a large fraud that involved the CEO and two others of Transmile Group Bhd for publishing misleading financial statements and has often been called Malaysias Enron. Fraud and forensic accounting is a relatively new topic in Thailand. According to an Ernst Youngs global survey, more than half of the companies in Thailand have suffered significant fraud. The management of the corporations was responsible for over half while employees ranked second, responsible for 45% of the fraud incidents reported. Asset misappropriation was the biggest concern. (MPA Program: Forensic accounting project) The commercial crimes in Thailand are becoming more and more complicated and organized. Forensic accounting is used to combat this to an extent, but is only utilized in the public sector. It is also noted in Thailand that there remains an enormous amount of well documented corruption related to the government amounting to billions of US dollars. There are many cases where Thailands auditor general, Jaruvan Maintaka, was able to bring about cases against members of the government but there are even more cases linked to the military involving loans from politicia ns. Chinese Perspective This accounting profession is still at the early stage of development in China, and a lack of skilled professionals creates problems for regulators. To a large extent the accounting standards and practices in China lack conservatism Doupnik and Perera note in their International Accounting textbook. There are also no sound interpretations of the relevant requirements that need to be implemented to have an effective accounting system. The theory of true and fair presentation and transparency may not be clearly understood by Chinese accountants. Until the 1980s, those who carried out accounting work were not held in high regard which had a very negative effect on the development of the accounting profession in China. Unlike in other countries, accounting and auditing have taken different paths in their development as rival disciplines with the support of different government agencies. However, there has been some growth in the accounting profession due to the recent economic reform pro gram and the demand for financial information from investors has increased. There are many fraud cases evident in China. One high-profile case that deserves mentioning was with Zhu Xiaohua who was the chairman of state-owned company, Everbright Group. Zhu was convicted to 15 years in prison for taking $500,000 in bribes. These bribes were taken between 1997 and 1999. The bribes were for the purchase of shares in a company that resulted in large losses. Another example of fraud in China was when a business woman, Du Yimin, was sentenced to death for running a Ponzi scheme that cheated investors out of YUAN700m ($102 million). (Lin, 2009) According to Lin, the Chinese Ministry of Public Security has been stepping up such prosecutions and says there are now 1,416 similar cases open, involving YUAN10bn ($1.5 billion) in investors money. In China it is still possible to receive the death penalty for fund-raising fraud, however, if a Chinese person is charged with collecting money illegally from private investors, the maximum sentence is 10 years in prison. In Chi na is evident that ethics are not being followed across the board. Japanese Perspective Japan also differs from other cultures and has a different role of the accountant and effectively different need for justice. The Japanese attitudes towards external auditors and the audit function are different from others. This is due to the cultural value orientation of not trusting someone from outside the group. Companies are not under pressure from their main providers of finance to disclose information publicly and companies are reluctant to provide information voluntarily. As a result, the a

Monday, August 19, 2019

Analyzing Spartacus Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Essay -- Post-trau

The character I have chosen to analyze having post traumatic stress disorder is Spartacus, who is played by Andy Whitfield on the hit series Spartacus Blood and Sand on Starz. Spartacus Blood and Sand is directed by Grady Hall and Rick Jacobson. Spartacus is a Thracian solider who was punished for his betrayal against the Roman Commander Legatus Claudius Glaber, played by Craig Parker. Spartacus was to be executed in the gladiatorial games and his wife Sura, played by Erin Cummings, was to be sold as a slave. However, Spartacus successfully defended his life by killing four-top notched gladiators in the arena. After his victory he was bought by Baticitus, played by John Hannah. Spartacus was to be a slave trained to be a gladiator in Baticitus’ ludus. When Spartacus began bringing great fortune from his winnings and social advancement to Baticitus’ ludus, he was promised to be reunited with his wife, Sura. After Spartacus became champion of Capua and being undef eated, he came to the realization that Baticitus was not going to keep his promise of reuniting him with his wife because too many victories had passed. Spartacus later found out in a recurrent flashback and current images that Baticitus had Spartacus’ wife Sura, killed. An analysis of Spartacus’ behavior of nightmares, insomnia, and haunting memories reveals that Spartacus has post traumatic stress disorder. The first behavior which proves Spartacus has post traumatic stress disorder is the nightmare of not being reunited with his wife. Most of his nightmares were of his wife being by his side during these trials and she would give him advice on how to survive and them being reunited again. His nightmares seemed to be prophesy or warnings of what would happen ... ... have a person feeling so overwhelmed, burnout, and overworked that they will â€Æ' PSTD treatments range from intricate psychobiologic features make therapy difficult. The three arms of treatment are patient education, pharmacotherapy and psychotherapy (Cabaltica, 2000). Pharmacotherapy and psychotherapy have been shown to alleviate the three clusters of PTSD symptoms: reexperiencing, avoidance and hypervigilance (Cabaltica, 2000). Works Cited Cabaltica, R, Lange C, Lange J. AAFP.org. American Academy of Family Physicians. September 1, 2000. Mayo Clinic Staff. Mayo Clinic.com. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. April 10, 2009. Myers David. Exploring Psychology 7th Edition. Worth, 2008. Print

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Drug Abuse in Nigeria Essays -- Nigerian Society Illegal Narcotics

Drug Abuse in Nigeria Today, you only have to switch on your television, radio or open a newspaper or magazine to be aware that the structure of our society is being contaminated by the growing evil plague of drug abuse. Drug abuse, is one of the major problems in the Nigerian society. Actually, almost every country faces such problem today. A lot of measures are taken to struggle against drug abuse, and, definitely, some changes for the better are evident. However, this problem is not eliminated and perhaps, will never be completely stopped. The repetitive death of drug users today has become an everyday event, that most of us had used it. The numbers of the victims is more and more increasing rapidly in such a degree that makes us have fear on what our society will turn into. Prospectively, there was an alarming increase in drug abuse at our country. Many students take cocaine, heroine, hash, crack, and other drugs. Problem of drug abuse has made a way through the society. Overprotection some times makes a gateway for the beginning of drug abuse. The imitation of musicians and actors can lead many young people to drugs, as they are trying to look alike them. However, as we know, today this entire teenage is all about being ‘cool’. This affects most young people and it is more obvious in places where there are many people, like in college. The society today has become a place where drugs are gotten easily in the college, whenever and whatever drug you want. Finally, a disappointment from a relationship or school, for example a fail in the finals, can be a good reason for those young people to turn into drugs. For this bad situation that exists in Nigeria today, many teachers and counselors have tried to let pe... ... the past 10 months.†(p.19) In the 80s Nigerian citizens are caught on daily bases due to drug trafficking. At a moment like this what the country should do is to apply a policy that would reduce drug trafficking. Another way to control this issue is to put roadblocks and checkpoints where violence is common and also in airports and seaports. The N.D.L.E.A should also make sure that all pharmacies issue people drugs on prescription only. The problem of drug abuse is not something that can be controlled while sitting down, the country has to work together to prevent this harmful act. If the whole country will seek and use the knowledge they have to fight drug abuse then the society would be a better place to live .Now that we know the effects of drug abuse, it is time to put our hands together as a family to fight drug abuse in Nigeria and all over the world.

Othello: the Abnormalities in the Play :: Othello essays

Othello: the Abnormalities in the Play  Ã‚        Ã‚  Ã‚   William Shakespeare’s tragic drama Othello boasts quite a little list of abnormalities in both occurrences and personal behavior.    In the volume Shakespeare and Tragedy John Bayley explains how the abnormality of the protagonist’s behavior brings on rejection by the critics:      In our own time more genteel, but also more intellectualized versions of Rymer’s disfavour have been voiced by T.S. Eliot and F.R. Leavis, who both consider and reject the personality that Othello presents to the outside world, pointing out that he is not so much deceived as a self-deceiver, a man presented by Shakespeare as constitutionally incapable of seeing the truth about himself. So the detached, ironic view of the creator contrasts with the tragical and romantic view taken of himself by the created being. (201)    But Othello is defended by other critics. In her book, Everybody’s Shakespeare: Reflections Chiefly on the Tragedies, Maynard Mack defends the Moor as one who is not necessarily the victim of a psychological deficiency, as some critics maintain:    What should be noticed in particular is that, essentially, Shakespeare invented Iago; set him down in his dramatis personae with the single epithet â€Å"a villain†; and devoted most of the play’s lines and scenes to showing in detail the cunning, malignancy, and cruelty of his nature, including the cowardice of his murder of his wife. It seems to me therefore impossible to believe, as some recent critics would have us do, that the root causes of Othello’s ruin are to be sought in some profound moral or psychological deficiency peculiar to him. (137)    A more obvious example of the irregular appears in the conduct of Iago. The abnormal behavior of the ancient is partly rooted in his misogynism. In â€Å"Historical Differences: Misogyny and Othello† Valerie Wayne implicates Iago in sexism. He is one who is almost incapable of any other perspective on women than a sexist one:    Iago’s worry that he cannot do what Desdemona asks implies that his dispraise of women was candid and easily produced, while the praise requires labour and inspiration from a source beyond himself. His insufficiency is more surprising because elsewhere in the play Iago appears as a master rhetorician, but as Bloch explains, ‘the misogynistic writer uses rhetoric as a means of renouncing it, and, by extension, woman.’ (163)    And how about epilepsy?

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Human Resources Management in the Asia Pacific Essay

Nowadays China becomes one of the hottest market places all over the world. From the viewpoint of the investors, China seems to be the most potential market with the huge market and attractive economic situation. The apparent result is the increase in number of foreign investments put into China. Gentran Machinery (GM) is one of the foreign investors of China. It has a joint venture (JV) in Hangzhou. Although GM has been quite successful in its operations showing an average annual growth of 12 percent in sales volume, net profits and its stock value during the past 20 years, it is noted that the joint venture in China is struggling along and is already way behind schedule. In order to address the possible problems in the JV and find solutions, some issues are to be discussed. Global assignment of managers has been a traditional method of operating international companies. The importance of transferring knowledge, upskilling remote or local managers and instilling best practice throughout a multinational organization has long been recognized as a source of competitive advantage for those firms able to expand successfully. The failure of rate of global assignments, and indeed international expansion, has throughout history been nothing less than fantastic. Although it is obvious that the expatriate managers don’t know the local labour markets and local education system, have the communication, culture, and language problems, they are familiar with the corporate culture, have advanced management skills, and also have stronger informal linkages with decision makers in the parent company. Many companies send their home country employees to foreign subsidiaries (Hutchings 2002). In the GM case, it is indicated that there isn’t a modern management system in the JV and the JV managers are at only the Chinese traditional stage of management development and they haven’t effective and efficiency management knowledge and skills. As a result, it is impossible to reduce the number of expatriate managers. Contrarily, the number of expatriate managers should be increased, because they can input the modern concepts and skills of management, help to build an effective and efficiency management system, and train the Chinese managers so that they are competent for their positions in JV. However, the selection of expatriate managers is important. According to  Hutchings (2002, p. 32), ‘Maximising the performance of expatriate managers can be defined as sending an employee to a host country operation capable of achieving the best results for the expatriate, the organisation and the host country in terms of adaptability and political, business, culture and social sensitivity. To achieving such adaptability and sensitivity, the company should pay significant attention to careful selection of expatriate for the host culture in which they will be employed, and provide on-going support (Hutchings 2002). There are a number of factors which an organisation needs to be taken into consideration to predict expatriate success. These factors include technical competence on the job; personality traits; environment variables; and family situations (Hutchings 2002). The expatriates should exhibit tolerance toward differences in race, creed, culture, customs and values. They should also have high motivations. Another criterion is that of behaviour, being defined as non-judgemental, showing tolerance for ambiguity and displays of respect (Hutchings 2002). Moreover, the expatriate’s spouse and family should be analysed. These include: the spouse’s inability to adjust; the employee’s inability to adjust; the employee’s personal or emotional immaturity; and other family problems (Hutchings 2002). Obviously, Richard Hamel (the controller of JV), who is not the type of manager necessary to facilitate the success and changes needed in the JV because he is not aggressive, innovative, and creative, should certainly be replaced. However, because of the lacks of Chinese managers and the situations discussed above, Hamel should be replaced by another suitable expatriate manager. After successfully selecting the suitable expatriate manager, on-going support is important for them. In the GM case, it is noted that although the physical accommodations are acceptable, the expatriate managers suffer from extreme emotional pressure particularly in the form of loneliness. These managers have only one emotional outlet – work. They cannot speak Chinese and have no alternative forms of entertainment that involve interactions with people. Their lifestyle can best be described as one of ‘prison inmate’. This situation indicates that the expatriate managers have not been supported well. The parent company should solve this problem. Firstly, effective training programmes can help the expatriates adjust to living and  working conditions in the new host country. Appropriate intercultural training and support can help expatriates cope with a workforce and management colleagues with drastically different cultural inclinations and reduce the stress of being alone in a foreign land. Such training should provide a clear picture of the challenges they are about to face, both in their professional and private life. The training should include general country information on the Chinese culture and tradition in written, verbal or audio / visual form as a helpful orientation for the beginning of living and working in the host country; cross-cultural seminars where the trainees can apply and deepen their knowledge of the Chinese culture and mentality; Chinese language courses to introduce expatriates and their accompanying partners some basic language skills; field trip to obtain the first impression of the country, working and living conditions; meetings with experienced expatriates who can give practical tips or useful suggestions directly related to the job or private life in China. Secondly, medical and psychological assistance and counselling should be provided. Thirdly, the on-going support to spouse and the family is important. The importance of providing information housing, health, and schooling has been acknowledged (Hutchings 2002). Fourthly, a local contact person with western culture exposure can help expatriates with their first orientation in the new living and working environment. Finally, the good relationship between the expatriate and local employees can also help to improve the living condition. After successfully selecting and supporting the expatriate managers, another important issue for JV is change the traditional management system in JV and how to train the Chinese managers. Traditionally, for a long time the promotion system in Chinese state-owned enterprises has been based on seniority of workers and staff rather than on performance. For example, a cadre can be promoted to senior ranks but cannot be demoted regardless of his capability or performance. This has resulted in a phenomenon where there are too many high-ranking officials with too few rank-and-file staff, and there is over-staffing with too few staff actually performing work (Chen 1989). Thus, a new incentive system based on performance should be established for the Chinese managers and works. The ‘performance-related pay’ is the key component of the total rewards program – and offers  employees the opportunity to share in the success of the company which is a direct result of the collective performance of each of its employees. When excellent performance is acknowledged and rewarded, people are more motivated and work smarter (Bartol, et al, 1998). Moreover, employees want to work in an environment that is productive, respectful, provides a feeling of inclusiveness, and offers friendly setting (Ramlall, 2004). The good relationships between managers and employees, as well as between employees provide the belongingness and love in the company. In addition, employees prefer to function in environments that provide a challenge, offer new learning opportunities, significantly contributes to the organization’s success, offers opportunities for advancement and personal development based on success and demonstrated interest in a particular area (Ramlall, 2004). The employee’s self-actualization need is fulfilled by open-door policies and â€Å"let’s try† approaches. Competition should be encouraged. These approaches will largely motivate the employees. The managers of JV should also share as much as information with employees, encourage autonomy and participation. Furthermore, to keep equity, the reward system should be managed by expatriate managers until the Chinese manager change their traditional attitude. Finally, the award system can be managed by all level of managers; each level of managers should responsible for their subordinations. The performance based reward system should base on the responsibility system. It is obvious that the distribution of responsibility including management responsibility and employees’ responsibility in JV is not adequate. Company should specify all position, prescribes job descriptions, procedures, routines, and rules. However, the description of procedures and routines is not detail. There are only some suggestions and references. Company’s ‘let’s try’ and ‘accepts failure’ approaches encourage employees to try any ways to accomplish their job. Employees are largely motivated to look for the most suitable way to finish their works. The suggestions and references of the work procedures and routines protect the employees from excessive autonomy so that they would not fell lonely and without support (Bolman, &a Deal, 2003). The authorization system should be established. In this system, each level of managers has their corresponding authority and responsibility which  is clearly identified. The training of Chinese managers is also important. There are external training and internal training. In case of internal training, it should be decided what to teach and how to maximise the learning effect of the participants. The teaching programmes and materials should contain knowledge and skills necessary for effective management performance. Appropriate teaching methods (for example, practical or theoretical learning or the combination of the two methods) in order to achieve the training goals should be chosen. Moreover, the trainees should be able to make use of the technical know-how or management skills after the training: this can be reached through a job empowerment, a transfer to a corresponding workplace or a promotion. In these training, the Chinese managers should also learn the modern concepts of the management. The external training can include the MBA program, exchanging manager to international branch of company, etc. The main purpose of the training is to change the tradition management attitude and to learn modern management skills. In the GM case, the communication of directives, ideas, concepts, and action items, from the American management to the Chinese management and vice versa is a major problem within the JV. Misunderstanding and ineffectiveness of communication are caused usually by faults of both sides: one side expressing its intention vaguely and the other side not listening very attentively. As the case studies show, expatriates may feel unsatisfied with refusal of responsibilities by local employees, while Chinese managers complain about the lack of trust of their foreign bosses. The problem is accentuated by language difficulties. The language issue is the most significant individual obstacle facing the partners in the JV. Although there are currently three translators on the payroll, only one is really a capable translator. The language barrier can be overcome by replacing the unsuitable translators, increasing the number of translators. Also, the Chinese employees can be required to learn English. On the other hand, in the expatriate managers training which is introduced above, the Chinese language course is included to teach the basic language skills to the expatriates. In addition, the culture barrier is another important problem in JV. According to Hofstede (cited in Pan, & Zhang 2004, p. 83), culture is a kind of ‘collective programming of the mind, which distinguishes the members of one category of people from another’. It is obvious that the Chinese culture is different from the West Culture. Because it has been widely accepted that cultural difference greatly affects human thinking and behaviour, the significant differences between USA and China seem to affect some aspects of their management practice (Pan, & Zhang 2004). To overcome this barrier, one of possible solutions is to encourage a cultural adaptation or learning process which may increase the congruence between culturally different partners and ultimately improve the effectiveness of international business relationship (Lin 2004). According to Gudykunst and Kim (cited in Lin 2004, p. 36), adaptation is a ‘process wherein parts of a system move in a direction that i ncreases the congruence or fit’. In the cultural different environment, cultural adaptation occurs when individuals acquire an increasing level of fitness or compatibility in the new cultural environment. Cultural adaptation is expressed in different forms and at different levels. There are three levels of cultural adaptation including understanding, adjusting, and learning (Lin 2004). Cultural adaptation could involve many essentials including language (verbal and non-verbal), economics, religion, politics, social institutions, values, attitudes, manners, customs, material items, aesthetics and education. In juxtaposition, smooth transition and successful integration of managers going abroad on business would require the individual’s cultural orientations to be determined. From an international business standpoint it is crucial for the long-term success of a company to establish and manage good relationships across cultures (Lin 2004). Another ways to overcome the communication barrier is relationship. The expatriate managers need to build good relationship with their Chine colleagues. Relationship, the term ‘Guan xi’ is used in China, are very important in getting on in Chinese society. In China, four culture factors are grouped into relationship (or Guanxi): group orientation (the need to live in his/her community, all his/her identity was related to his/her  group); Renqing (if you do me a favour, it means I owe you something. I will pay back someday, as well as you are also expecting me to payback the favour one day.); Ganqing (friendship which implies an expectations and obligation of getting /granting favourable responses from/to ones friends); and Face (the concept of saving face or losing face indicating a person’s social status. Having face means that one has good connection within the community, which makes everything done smoothly. But losing face means one get trouble or feels embarrassed in certain circumstance. (Luk et al. 1996) In China, Guanxi is crucial for employees to gain a sense of being together and a sense of communicating with on anther. Researchers also indicate that the job satisfaction and job involvement may well be related to the quality of one’s Guanxi network (Hong, & Engestrom 2004). As a result, in Chinese JV, Guanxi is unavoidable. Actually, the Guanxi has positive and negative potential consequences (Hong, & Engestrom 2004). On the one hand, even if technocratic qualifications have become more necessary, but at the same time Guanxi is another major factor in determining who should be promoted. Workers and staff who have special ‘Guan xi’ with the superiors in power, either through family connections or forming special clues, normally get promoted over others lacking the relationship (Nyaw 1995). On the other hand, Guanxi can enhance the trust between the managers and employees or within the group of employees. Chinese workers regard good Guanxi with them as one of the most important qualifications of being a good leader (Hong, & Engestrom 2004). This is not conflict with the modern management approaches. In the American-lead JV, the expatriate managers can enhance the trust with Chinese employees through developing the Guanxi with them so that the resistance of changes can be reduced and the performance can be more effective and efficiency. However, the weakness of Guanxi should be avoided by establish a completed set of rules and regulars. According to Bolman and Deal (2003), there are several methods to coordinate individuals and units through a variety of horizontal and vertical linkages. The vertical linkages including authority, rules and policies, and planning and control system enable higher levels coordinate and control the work of subordinates. Firstly, the authority is the most basic and ubiquitous way of integration. Secondly, it is noted that the rules, policies, standards, and  standard procedure limit discretion and help ensure predictability and uniformity (Bolman, & Deal. 2003). The company should allow all employees to discuss the rules and standards and encourages them to make suggestions. Through discussion, the rules and standards become clearer for employees and prevent the lack of creativity. The clear and suitable rules and standards are the base for successful planning and control. There are two major approaches to control and planning including performance control and action planning (Mintzber g, as cited in Bolman, & Deal, 2003). The ‘performance-related pay’ bases on the performance control. Because the rules and standards are clear and suitable, the target are measurable, the performance control measures and motivates. The forms of vertical coordination are typically more formalized. But it is not always effective. Lateral techniques such as formal and informal meetings, task forces, coordinating roles, and network are more flexible and may be used to fill the void (Bolman, & Deal, 2003). Formal meetings are undertaken regularly. Moreover, the task forces or project teams can be always assembled in JV to coordinate development of new products or services. The organizational intranet should also be developed in the JV. The network enhances the decentralization and democracy in the company because the bias of organizational intranet toward decentralization, teaming, and cross-functional, and cross geographical work makes it well attuned to complexity and change (Steward, as cited in Bolman, & Deal, 2003). But the networks are difficult to control. It becomes a challenge for managers. As a conclusion, there are many aspects that affect the way international business is conducted. Differences in social, culture, economic, legal and political conditions can greatly affect the way globalised businesses are managed. Doing business abroad presents enormous challenges simply because countries and societies are so incredibly different. There is a need to appreciate not only that these differences exist, but also to appreciate how these differences impact doing business abroad. Doing business abroad requires flexibility to conform to the value systems and norms of that country. Adaptation can embrace all aspects of an international business’s operations in a foreign country, from the way deals are negotiated, to the appropriate incentive pay systems, to the organization structure, product  names, and relations between management and labour. What works in one country most likely will not work in another. It is also noted that clearly maximising the cultural adaptability skills of expatriates and the avoidance of expatriate failure in host country subsidiaries is of major concern to organisations. Maximising the cross-culture performance of expatriate managers in JV must be an integral element of the strategic human resource management planning of organisations in the 21st century as the pace of globalisation necessitates that an increasing number of organisations must think globally and ensure that their expatriates are prepared and supported to do the same. (Hutchings 2002)

Friday, August 16, 2019

Cost Club Scenario Essay

Introduction Every employee has fundamental rights in the workplace that include their right to privacy, fair compensation and free from discrimination. Even applicants have rights before they are hired as an employee. Some of those rights include discrimination that is based solely on a person’s race, gender, age, religion, national origin, or during the hiring process (FindLaw, 2014). Employee Privacy * Employees have the right to privacy with regards to their personal possessions * This includes their purses, handbags. Briefcases, lockers.* Employees have limited rights with respect to e-mail messages and internet usage while using Cost Clubs computer system * Employers do not have the right to conduct a credit checks or background checks on an employee or perspective employee without the express written permission of the employee (FindLaw, 2014). Employee Unions Under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), employers are forbidden from interfering in an employee’s right to organize, or to join or assist in a labor organization for collective bargaining purposes, or prohibit working together to improve terms and conditions of their place of employment. Union employer’s may not coerce their employees in exercising any of their rights such as (National Labor Relations Board, 2014): * It is illegal for an employer to threaten their employees with the loss of their jobs or benefits if they choose to join or vote for a union or participate in protected concerted activity. * Threaten employees with plant closure should their employees choose to have union representation. * Employers are not to question employees about their union activities or sympathies * Promise employees benefits in order to discourage union support * Punishing  employees for engaging in union or protected concerted activity * Retaliating against an employee by transferring, laying off, terminating, assigning employees to more difficult work task or for filing an unfair labor practice charges or participating in an NLRB investigation (National Labor Relations Board, 2014). Occupational Safety and Health Administration Under the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (,OSHA) employers have a responsibility to their employees to provide a safe environment for their employees. Employers are responsible for providing their employees with a workplace free of serious hazards and must follow all OSHA safety and health standards as well as identify and correct any safety or health problems found. It is also the employer’s responsibility to (United States Department of Labor, 2014). * Keep employees informed about hazards through the offering of training, labeling, alarms, systems that are color coded, material safety data sheets that pertain to chemicals and other methods. * Employees are to be trained in a manner in which they can fully understand * Employers are to maintain accurate and complete records of any work-related injuries or illnesses that may occur in the workplace. * Employers are to post any citations, injuries and illness data where is it easily viewed by employees. * OSHA is to be notified by the employer within eight hours should there be a workplace fatality or when three or more workers have been injured or hospitalized due to an accident. * Display the official OSHA poster that describes the rights and responsibilities in plain view for employees to read per the OSHA Act (United States Department of Labor, 2014). Employee Retirement Income Security Act Compliance assistance under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) sets the minimum standards for retirement and health benefit plans in private industry. Although ERISA does not require an employer to provide a retirement plan or to provide benefits it only requires those who have established plans meet and follow a level of standards. ERISA covers retirement, health, and other welfare benefit plans. (United States Department of Labor, 2014): * Meet ERISA standards of conduct * Employers are to assure that the funds of the plan are protected and that  participants who qualify will receive their benefits. * Employers are to include new health laws * Employers are to provide a continuation of health care coverage for an employee that due to certain events would result in a reduction ,in their benefits. * The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) amended ERISA to make health care coverage available for employees that have either been terminated or have quit (United States Department of Labor, 2014). Fair Labor Standards Act The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is responsible for setting and establishing a minimum wage, overtime pay, recordkeeping, and youth employment standards that affect employees in the private sector andFederal, State and local governments (United States Department of Labor, 2014). * The wage for covered nonexempt workers is $ 7.25 per hours * Overtime pay to be at the rate of one-half times their regular pay after a 40 hour workweek. * There is no limit to anyone 16 years or older to the amount of hours they may work. * FLSA does not require Cost Club to pay overtime for weekends, holidays for an employees, regular days off, unless overtime is typically worked on those days. * Employers are required to display the official poster of the FLSA. (United States Department of Labor, 2014). Conclusion In order to ensure and maintain a high moral level of employee behavior. Employees of Cost Club must fully understand the ethical and legal implications of their decisions. As they relate to their employees personal and professional values. This should be reflected at every level upper, and lower management included. Cost Club needs to develop and implement a Business Code of Ethics that can be reviewed with all employees at all Cost Club locations. By implementing a Business Code of Ethics, Cost Club will weave together not only the legal principles of employment, but the moral issues that commonly arise in employment issues. These ethical behaviors are vital to Cost Clubs overall success. The stakeholders of Cost Club are able to take direction from Cost Clubs, Business Code of Conduct. And when an ethical dilemma occurs the code will become one of the employee’s best tools for dealing with the dilemma. When Cost Club chooses to engage in employee monitoring, this practice will be posted and announced to all employees.  Employees need to understand the laws and Cost Clubs corporations, policies along with the Business Code of Conduct. Cost Club also needs to exercise restraint in looking over their employees shoulders when it comes to use of the internet and email. (Mujtaba, 2014). When everyone understands all the ground rules then the workplace environment at Cost Club will be fair. If Cost Clubs employees are being ethical and following the policies he or she should not be concerned with monitoring and at the same time Cost Club should conduct their monitoring of employees within the guidelines of the law (Mujtaba, 2014). References FindLaw. (2014). Employee rights 101. Retrieved April 13, 2014, from http://employment.findlaw.com/employment-discrimination/employees-rights-101.html. Mujtaba, B. G. (2014). Ethical implications of employee monitoring: What leaders should consider. Retrieved April 13, 2014, from http://www.huizenga.nova.edu/Jame/articles/employee-monitoring.cfm. National Labor Relations Board. (2014). Employer/union rights and obligations. Retrieved April 13, 2014, from http://www.nlrb.gov/rights-we-protect/employerunion-rights-and-obligations. United States Department of Labor. (2014). Employee retirement income security act ERISA. Retrieved April 13, 2014, from http://www.dol.gov/dol/topic/health-plans/erisa.htm. United Stated Department of Labor. (2014). Employer rights and responsibilities following an OSHA inspection. Retrieved April 13, 2014, from https://www.osha.gov/Publications/osha3000.html#12. United States Department of Labor. (2014). Wage and hour division. Retrieved April 13, 2014, fro m http://www.dol.gov/whd/flsa/.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Accounting Education: an international journal Essay

ABSTRACT This study into the perceived importance of oral communication skills in accountancy included the collection and analysis of quantitative and qualitative data from a national survey of New Zealand accountants, followed by a series of semi-structured interviews. Survey and interview data reveal agreement with existing literature: New Zealand accountancy employers find all oral communication skills somewhat important and a number of specific skills extremely important, but employers also report seldom finding the required level of oral communication proficiency in new university graduates. The study produced an inventory of 27 individual oral communication skills that will be useful to similar investigations in different national contexts. Additionally, the findings of this study may be useful to curricular development both in the New Zealand and international contexts. See more: Satirical essay about drugs KEY WORDS: Oral communication, workplace communication, listening, presentation skills, telephone skills 1.Introduction Academics and practitioners do not always concur but, in the case of communication skills in accountancy graduates, these two sets of stakeholders are in firm agreement: both written and oral communication skills are extremely important in the accountancy work- place (Albin and Crockett, 1991; Albrecht and Sack, 2000; Borzi and Mills, 2001; Hock, 1994; Johnson and Johnson, 1995; LaFrancois, 1992; McDonald, 2007; Morgan, 1997). This agreement extends across international boundaries, as a number of studies around the globe have reported the high value placed on communication skills, for example in the UK (Morgan, 1997), USA (Smythe and Nikolai, 2002), and Australia (Tempone and Martin, 2003). In New Zealand, the site of the present study, academic studies into the importance of communication skills in accountancy and the challenges of teaching those skills (Gardner, Milne, Stringer and Whiting, 2005; McLaren, 1990) have multiple corollaries in the workforce. Accountancy job advertisements regularly request both oral and written communication skills; competency in oral communication is emphasised on the website of the New Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountants (NZICA); and oral communication is an explicit component of the assessment structure of the PCE2 examination, which concludes the second (and final) stage of training towards becoming a Chartered Accountant in New Zealand. However, both formal studies and anecdotal evidence suggest that new accountancy graduates often do not possess communication skills sufficient to meet the demands of the workplace, particularly in the area of oral communication (Adler and Milne, 1994; Courtis and Zaid, 2002; Gray, 2010; McLaren, 1990; Zaid and Abraham, 1994). Students in New Zealand may graduate with a university degree in accountancy after three years of full-time study. (Accountancy may also be studied in less rigorous programs at polytechnics and institutes of technology.) The intensity of the university programs of study, which are accredited by NZICA, means students have a challenging workload of technical study and very limited opportunity to take elective or ‘liberal’ courses. Of course, limited class time and the resultant curricular pressures and inadequate skill mastery are not unique to the New Zealand accountancy classroom (Pittenger, Miller and Mott, 2004; Wardrope and Bayless, 1999). The globally-recognised problem of insufficient oral communication skill in accoun- tancy graduates leads to a series of questions that need practical answers: . How should university educators respond, strategically and pedagogically, to this reported lack of oral communication skills in new graduates?. What approaches and assessments within university courses will best meet the needs of students aspiring to successful accountancy careers? . To what extent is the development of such skills in students the responsibility of the university and what is the role of the workplace in developing oral communication skills? Before university educators can make any meaningful decisions concerning pedagogy or curricula, and appropriately teach the oral communication skills needed for a successful accountancy career, they need concrete information regarding exactly which specific skills are most valued and most needed in accountancy. Thus a research question was formu- lated: to ascertain the value of specific oral communication skills in new graduates, as perceived by New Zealand accountancy employers. It was hoped that answers to this research question would provide educators with specific information with which to consider their optimal pedagogical responses. The research question led to the construction and implementation of this longitudinal study. Initial research objectives were: . To determine how much importance New Zealand accountancy employers place  on oral communication skills in the new graduates they hire. . To determine what specific kinds of oral communication skills are required by New Zealand accountancy employers in new graduates. . To determine the degree to which accountancy employers are finding the required oral communication skills in newly-graduated accountancy students. The study included the collection and analysis of quantitative and qualitative data, from a national survey of New Zealand accountants, followed by a series of semi-structured Oral Communication Skills in New Accountancy Graduates 277 interviews. Initial findings from the first-phase survey have been reported elsewhere (Gray, 2010). Overall, survey and interview data revealed that accountancy employers find all oral communication skills somewhat important and a number of specific skills extremely important, but that the required level of overall oral communication skill was seldom found in new graduates. Accountancy employers agreed that the possession of strong oral communication skills improves a graduate’s chance of succeeding in the hiring process and also of progressing in his or her career. The study produced an inven- tory of 27 individual oral communication skills, of which listening skills were most highly valued by accountancy employers, and formal presentation skills were considered least valuable, although there was disagreement on this point. It is hoped the oral communi- cation skill inventory will be useful to similar investigations in different national contexts. Additionally, the findings of this study may be of use both in the New Zealand and inter- national context in the long-term planning of curricular development. 2.Literature Review Studies of communication in accountancy agree broadly on the importance of written and oral communication skills. Many formal and informal studies to this point have tended to use general terms such as ‘communication skills,’ or the even vaguer term ‘generic skills’;1 it is difficult to ascertain the precise meaning of such all-encompassing terms as they apply to chartered accountancy. For example, Zaid and Abraham (1994) studied the problems encountered by accountancy graduates early in their employment careers, and reported a primary area of difficulty to be in ‘communication with others.’ Baker and McGregor (2000) compared the importance perceived in communication skills by a number of accountancy stakeholder groups; this study, too, only uses the broad term ‘communication skills.’ De Lange, Jackling, and Gut (2006) surveyed Australian accoun- tancy graduates and found that students reported themselves to have a significant skill deficiency in the specific areas of ‘interpersonal skills’ and ‘oral expression’; these two broad categories, however, were no more closely examined or defined. Within the smaller number of studies that have examined a particular set of communi- cation skills in accountancy, most have focussed on written communication skill (Albrecht and Sack, 2000; Ashbaugh, Johnstone and Warfield, 2002; English, Bonanno, Ihnatko, Webb and Jon; Ng, Lloyd, Kober and Robinson, 1999; Webb, English and Bonanno, 1995). Very few studies have examined oral communication specifically, or identified individual oral communication skills. Morgan (1997) is an exception: in a study of accountancy professionals in England and Waleses, 1999; Hall, 1998 he identifies 13 individual skill areas within oral communication activities in accountancy. There is no agreement on a classificatory inventory of such skills. One study into oral communi- cation, by Maes, Weldy and Icenogle (1997), surveyed American business employers from a broad array of industries on graduates’ possession of another 13 distinct oral communication skills. Maes et al. (1997) and McLaren (1990) both specifically list ‘listening’ as a desirable communication skill and, more recently, Goby and Lewis (2000) have examined listening as a specific business communication skill. Other research has variously investigated a number of individual oral communication skills across a range of business industries, including conveying expertise through spoken communication and giving intelligible explanations (Smythe and Nikolai, 2002), delivering formal presenta- tions (Wardrope, 2002), and participating in a range of more informal presentations (Crosling and Ward, 2002). The first phase of this study drew together the foci and findings of previous studies in relation to the  production of a comprehensive list of oral communi- cation skills (Gray, 2010). 278F. E. Gray and N. Murray Ascertaining the particular requirements of accountancy employers in regard to specific communication skills should be of assistance to university educators planning the curricu- lar content and assessments of university courses, as academics and practitioners agree that written and oral communication skills are two major areas needing more attention in the university accountancy curriculum (Albrecht and Sack, 2000; Henderson, 2001; Simons and Higgins, 1993). However, the relationship between workplace demand and classroom instruction is not necessarily simple. While a considerable body of scholarship has recommended a variety of curricular improvements for university level accounting education (see, for example, Henderson, 2001; Sin, Jones, and Petocz, 2007; and Usoff and Feldmann, 1998), the literature reflects a significant concern in relation to the transferability of taught communication skills from the university classroom environment to the ‘real-world’ environmen t of the accountancy workplace (Beaufort, 1999; Cooper, 1997; D’Aloisio, 2006; Davies and Birbili, 2000; Kemp and Seagraves, 1995; Thomas, 1995). A number of academics and employers suggest that universities should not bear the entire responsibility for developing ‘workplace-ready’ communication skills in students. They argue that organisations employing new graduates—and graduates themselves— should share the responsibility for developing contextualised and discourse-specific com- munication competencies (Ford, 2009; Hayes and Kuseski, 2001; Muir and Davis, 2004; Triebel and Gurdjian, 2009). Such competencies, after all, are developed by means of a number of contributing factors, including age and maturity, as well as familiarity with and length of exposure to a specific discourse community. University training, however comprehensive, cannot encompass all these variables. Research into accountancy education has also recognised the particular problems faced by English second language (ESL) speakers striving to develop written and oral communi- cation competency as well as the technical proficiencies required in accountancy work- places (Andrews, 2006; McGowan and Potter, 2008; Webb et al., 1995). Several studies in New Zealand and internationally report on the difficulties that ESL accountancy gradu- ates  face in a competitive hiring environment (Birrell, 2007; Jacobs, 2003; James and Otsuka, 2009; Kim, 2004). With regard to the specific question of developing communication skills within univer- sity-level accountancy instruction, scholars have suggested an array of learning and assessment approaches (Adler and Milne, 1997; Milne, 1999; Milne and McConnell, 2001; Tempone and Martin, 2003). This study recognises that developers of curricula must balance data regarding workplace demand with institutional and accreditation- related demands and a number of other pedagogical considerations. Notwithstanding, educational responses to the challenges of developing oral communication skills in students may be usefully informed by empirical data identifying the particular skills most highly valued and most pressingly needed within accountancy, as perceived by employers themselves. This study provides such data. 3.Method The project was conducted in two stages over the course of approximately six months. In phase one, a questionnaire was mailed to all New Zealand chartered accountancy firms, and this was followed in phase two by a series of telephone interviews with accountancy professionals. Prior to data collection, ethics approval was sought from and granted by the Ethics Committee of the authors’ institution. Questionnaire and interview respondents were provided with a written description of the project, were assured of confidentiality, and granted permission before their responses were recorded. Oral Communication Skills in New Accountancy Graduates 279 3.1Questionnaire In the first stage, a questionnaire was sent to all New Zealand chartered accountancy firms, containing a series of questions concerning the quality of oral communication skills pos- sessed by new accountancy graduates, the specific oral communication skills which employers desire, and the role of oral communication skills in the hiring process (Gray, 2010). The majority of the questions were designed to be answered on a five-point  Likert scale, but the questionnaire also included several short-answer questions. The questionnaire instrument was developed through a series of iterations. The findings and design of previous New Zealand and international research studies that had identified specific communication skills were consulted (including Gray, Emerson and MacKay, 2006; Maes et al., 1997; McLaren, 1990; Morgan, 1997; Smythe and Nikolai 2002), and the individual oral communication skills collated. The catalogue of individual skills was further extended through conversations with university colleagues in the communi- cation and accountancy departments, and then the input of New Zealand accounting prac- titioners was solicited from a pilot study. The aim of these iterations was to create the fullest possible inventory of oral communication skills, and to reflect the unique aspects of the New Zealand accountancy context. A foundational study was McLaren’s 1990 investigation into communication skill in New Zealand accountancy. One important construct borrowed from McLaren was the distinction between listening attentiveness and listening responsiveness. Constructs were also adapted from studies conducted by Morgan (1997), Zaid and Abraham (1994), and De Lange et al. (2006). Smythe and Nikolai’s oral communication concerns model (1996, 2002) proved particularly useful in the construction of this questionnaire. This model identifies three categories of concern as a framework for grouping oral com- munication skills: self-concern, task-concern, and impact (or outcome) concern. Smythe and Nikolai postulate that a progression takes place from one category of concern to the next in line with a person’s career progression and his/her growth in experience and confidence in communicating orally in the workplace. Since the target population for this study was a constituency at a mature career stage within chartered accountancy firms, Smythe and Nikolai’s ‘progressive’ divisions were not retained (although a number of their questions were incorporated, particularly in the areas of task concern and impact concern). Instead, divisions between questions were created in relation to different audiences, building on the finding of a related study (Gray et al., 2006) that New Zealand employers report new graduates to significantly lack audience awareness in their communications. After a comprehensive list of specific oral communication skills was generated, the questionnaire draft was piloted on four accountancy professionals, and their feedback enabled  questions to be refined. A number of skills that were initially individually ident- ified were modified and condensed into a smaller number of broader and more inclusive skills: for example, ‘Building audience confidence in recommendations’ and ‘Projecting an image of sincerity and commitment’ (both ‘impact concerns’ from Smythe and Nikolai’s taxonomy) were combined into the one, more inclusive skill category, ‘Convey- ing a knowledgeable and confident demeanour.’ Additionally, feedback from the pilot study led to the second of the two specified listening skills being more fully explicated, thus: ‘Listening responsiveness: (that is, acting appropriately on messages received).’ Again building on feedback from the pilot regarding usability, the questionnaire as a whole was divided into three sections. Section A captured introductory information including the size of the organisation and the qualifications held by new graduates hired in the last three years. Section B listed the full, final inventory of 27 individual oral 280F. E. Gray and N. Murray communication skills, collected into the following audience-related divisions: I. Listening skills; II. Collegial communication skills; III. Client communication skills; IV. Communi- cation skills with management; and V. General Audience Analysis Skills. Respondents were asked to rate the importance of each skill, as well as the frequency with which this skill is found in new accountancy graduates. At the end of Section B respondents were invited to add to the questionnaire any other oral communication skills that they con- sidered important for new accountancy graduates. Section C, Final Questions, asked respondents whether oral communication training was available in or through their organ- isation, whether oral communication training should be included in university accoun- tancy education programmes, and finally to estimate the hours per working week a new accountancy graduate would be engaged in communicating orally. At the close of the questionnaire, respondents were given the option to volunteer for a follow-up interview. 3.1.2 Respondents.The questionnaire was sent to all chartered accountancy firms listed on the New Zealand online business directory, and was addressed to the Practice Manager as the individual most likely to have  in-depth knowledge of the process of hiring new graduates. New Zealand’s professional accountancy body, the New Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountants (NZICA) reports that 40.7% of its members work in the private sector, while the second largest percentage, 27.5%, are employed in Chartered Accountancy practices (2008 annual report). Working on the assumption that CA prac- tices hire a percentage of new graduates proportionate to their sizeable percentage of NZICA members, CA practices were chosen as the focal population for this study as they represent (in contrast to the private sector) a readily identifiable and readily contact- able group of employers.2 While the New Zealand online business directory listed 1,111 chartered accountancy firms as of 1April 2008 , a number of listed organisations had ceased operations or were uncontactable, and the questionnaire was eventually mailed to 760 firms. Of 760 mailings, 146 questionnaires were returned, producing a response rate of 19.2%. While this response rate was higher than the 15% usable response rate reported by McLaren in her 1990 study of New Zealand accountancy professionals, it remains margin- ally lower than the typical response rate for postal-based questionnaires (20 – 40%, as given in Frankfort-Nachmias and Nachmias, 1996). Possible reasons for this relatively low response rate include the fact that time and funding did not permit follow-up mailings, and also the fact that the target population is frequently time-poor and frequently surveyed. While non-response bias is an unavoidable concern when the response rate is less than 100 per cent, a low response rate does not necessarily equate to a non-response bias (Gendall, 2000). A degree of representativeness was observable in the geographical spread of respondents, the positions held by respondents (see below), and the types of businesses responding, suggesting generalisation across a range of accountancy business types is viable. The questionnaire was mailed to separate groups of potential respondents in six post- ings, each approximately 10 days apart. The order in which responses were received generally mirrored the order in which postings were mailed: that is, the first group’s responses were received before the second group’s questionnaires began to be returned, and so on. As a record of receipt for each individual survey was not kept, early versus late response bias cannot be checked. As a single mail-out technique was used for each individual, it  may be argued that differences in respondent type are not as applicable as may be seen in a survey where some participants responded early, whereas others received several reminders and mail -outs before responding. Analyses were undertaken treating the six postings as separate groups to determine any potential differences by respondent type. All groups were similar in claiming that oral communication in general was either ‘essential’ or ‘very important’ in the accountancy profession. Furthermore, oral communication skill was ‘always’ important as a hiring factor for all mail-out groups. When comparing each group on importance and frequency of communication skills using a Kruskall-Wallis test, only one significant difference was found for frequency of listening skills seen in new graduates, x2  ¼ 11.60, P ,0.05. Post- hoc Mann-Whitney U tests subsequently revealed no significant differences in frequency of listening skills seen in new graduates between any of the six groups (using a Bonferroni correction). While the questionnaires were addressed to the Practice Managers of each organis- ation, respondents revealed a degree of variability. The majority of completed question- naires were anonymous, but the respondents who identified themselves ranged from partners in large firms, to senior employees in very small firms, to Human Resources directors. 3.2Interviews The second phase of the study involved employer interviews. Forty-five questionnaire respondents volunteered to be contacted for follow-up interviews, and 19 volunteers could subsequently be contacted by telephone for complete interviews. The interviewee sample size was considered adequate due to its purposive nature and the recent finding that, within such samples, data saturation (including metathemes and subthemes) occurs within the first 12 interviews (Guest, Bunce and Johnson, 2006). It was intended that the qualitative data from interviews would triangulate and extend conclusions arising from analysis of the quantitative data. The interview data incorporated into the study an ethnographic element, ‘thick description, a rich, detailed description of specifics’ (Neuman, 2003, p.  367), which helped produce more robust and credible conclusions. Telephone interviews were conducted between October and December 2008. Intervie- wees ranged from accountancy practice managers to sole practitioners, to partners in large firms. The semi-structured interviews ranged in length from 15 to 45 minutes and sought clarification of a number of issues arising from the questionnaire data, including the impli- cations of globalisation for oral communication in accountancy, the impact of new technologies and the importance of telephone skills, the centrality of listening skills, and the desirability of presentation skills for graduates new to the accountancy workplace. 3.3Data Analysis Once the data from the questionnaires was collated, statistical analysis was performed using SPSS. Mean and median scores were calculated with regard to the importance scores given to each individual oral communication skill, and to the frequency scores (how often each skill is observed in new graduate hires). Each mean was the product of the addition of all the individual importance or frequency scores for each communication skill, divided by the sample size. The standard deviation (SD) of each mean score, as well as the inter-quartile range for the median, was also calculated to indicate the relative spread of responses, with higher figures equating to wider ranges of scores. Owing to a number of missing responses, the denominator of responses to each question shows some variation. As the skill variables violated the assumption of normality (expected given the general level of agreement in employers’ perceptions), non-parametric tests were used. Where relevant, all assumptions of the named tests below were met. 282F. E. Gray and N. Murray As mentioned in 3.1, Section B of the questionnaire invited respondents to write in any further oral communication skills which they felt were important for new accountancy graduates to possess, distinct from the 27 skills listed. Comments identifying additional skills were received from 36 respondents; these comments were recorded and analysed for thematic consistency. Once the interviews were transcribed, themes were also  identified and analysed. Grounded theory was applied to analyse these themes, that is, inductive analysis in which data produce meanings, rather than meanings being applied from exterior theory (Strauss and Corbin, 2000). 4.Findings 4.1Research Objective 1: How Much Importance do New Zealand Accountancy Employers Place on Oral Communication Skills in the New Graduates they Hire? The questionnaire data presented a clear answer to the first research question. Oral communication skill in general was considered to be ‘essential’ in a new graduate by 49.6% (n  ¼ 133) of respondents; a further 41.4% reported it to be ‘very important’. On a rating scale from 1 to 5, where 1 was ‘not important’ and 5 was ‘essential’, the overall mean for oral communication skill in general was 4.39 (Md  ¼ 4.00). A Kruskal- Wallis test found no significant difference in the importance value assigned to oral communication skill depending on the size of the organisation, x2(4)  ¼ 5.48, p . 0.05. During the second phase of the study, interviewees strongly reiterated the perceived importance of oral communication skill: CL called oral communication ‘a career divider,’ meaning it was indispensable to success within accountancy, and EK labelled strong oral communication ‘a distinguishing factor’ setting goo d accountants apart from the mediocre. SWS stated: ‘Being able to communicate is a number one priority .. . [and] it’s going to get more and more important.’ Interview data also supported the signifi- cance of a theme that emerged from written-in comments in the questionnaire: the impor- tance of oral communication skills in accountancy is perceived to be increasing rapidly as a direct result of globalisation, and an increased speaking flexibility and cross-cultural adaptability are considered particularly important in this context. Reporting that they ‘always’ take oral communication skill into account in hiring decisions were 64.1% (n  ¼ 131) of questionnaire respondents (a total of 90.8% reported this to be a hiring factor either ‘always’ or ‘often’). RT stated that strong oral communi- cation skills often proved the decisive factor in a hiring decision: The person who presents well †¦ verbally, if you had to toss a coin between two of them, same grades and all that, the one who can communicate better, you’d give it to that person I think. [.. .] It has to be one of the most powerful strengths or powerful weaknesses that people have. No questionnaire respondents reported ‘never’ taking an applicant’s oral communi- cation skills into account in the hiring process, and several interviewees reported incorpor- ating specific checks of a candidate’s oral competency into their hiring process. For example, TB stated that he telephones all job applicants prior to an in-office interview, in order to gauge their skills in speaking on the telephone. 4.2Research Objective 2: What Specific Kinds of Oral Communication Skills are required by New Zealand Accountancy Employers? Figure 1. Perceived importance of communication skills by perceived frequency of new graduate ability  importance of the individual communication skills against the perceived frequency with which these skills are seen in new graduates. Figure 1 shows that the importance and fre- quency measures follow a similar pattern. This may reflect the influence of the workplace in focussing on developing certain communication competencies in new graduates, or hiring based on those competencies being present to a certain degree. However, there is still an obvious gap between the importance of each skill and the degree to which it is seen in new graduates. 4.2.1Listening skills.On a rating scale from 1 to 5, where 1 was ‘not  important’ and 5 was ‘essential,’ the two skills considered most important were those of listening attentive- ness and listening responsiveness, valued respectively at 4.81 (Md  ¼ 5.00)—82% of respondents ranked listening attentiveness as ‘essential’—and 4.80 (Md  ¼ 5.00)—a further 82% of respondents classifying listening responsiveness as ‘essential’. In sub- sequent interviews, KC described listening to another person as being a more important skill than that of articulating one’s own thoughts: Sometimes, speaking less is better than speaking more. Sometimes you have to have more listening ability. That listening ability will give you the timing of when to say things and when not to say things.. .. A number of interviewees linked listening skill to a related set of competencies concern- ing a speaker’s ability to create rapport and adjust to audiences’ needs. These interviewees spoke of the need for accountancy professionals to communicate with others (clients, colleagues, and managers) ‘in their own language.’ We learn to use sometimes slightly different language in order to be able to communicate to different people and that’s certainly part of our job when we’re in a service industry like 284F. E. Gray and N. Murray  accountancy. We need to talk to people in their language and us[e] words and conduct that they are comfortable with (BR; emphasis added). It’s important to understand your client so that †¦ you’re speaking almost in ‘like language’ so that you know who you are talking to [and] you know they are understanding (SWS; emphasis added). I think it’s a horses for courses [principle], you’ve got to know†¦ your clients or the people you’re dealing with. If you happen to know someone didn’t like a certain style or you could pick from their responses †¦ [then] you reply with like with like (DW; emphasis added). JC mentioned adjusting vocabulary and PW mentioned adjusting message  channel, in relation to the particular needs of the audience. MT emphasised the importance for accountancy graduates to gauge appropriateness of language: They’ve got to realise that when they’re dealing with clients, or senior members of organis- ations, that they’ve got to communicate it appropriately and not in a manner that they may always communicate with their friends or colleagues. Interviewees agreed that this kind of reflective adjustment to an audience’s preferred register is dependent on a speaker’s ability to listen and make appropriate communicative changes. 4.2.2 Vocabulary and slang. Several individual oral communication skills identified in the questionnaire concerned engaging in dialogue and using language and channels preferred by the communication partner. These included ‘explaining or making a topic intelligible’ to colleagues (x  ¼ 4.28, Md  ¼ 4.00, ranked ninth); ‘giving feedback’ to clients: (x  ¼ 4.17, Md  ¼ 4.00, ranked 13th); and ‘using appropriate vocabulary for the audience’, a general audience skill: (x  ¼ 4.21, Md  ¼ 4.00, ranked 10th). Follow-up inter- view questions seeking more information concerning the importance of explanatory and vocabulary skills elicited a number of specific concerns with the use of slang by new accountancy graduates. TO stated: ‘A lot of them have devolved into .. . use of a lot of colloquialisms that may not be acceptable to the older generation.’ According to NM, overly casual language destroys credibility. It’s hard enough for a young person to break in and to be heard, I guess in a business sense when you’re trying to sell to, I guess older people or experienced people. If you come out with schoolyard slang, you don’t stand a chance. Interviews emphasised the desirability in new graduates of a wide-ranging and flexible vocabulary (described by one interviewee as a mental ‘drop-down menu’ of words), oper- ating in tandem with the ability to access the  correct level of spoken formality. After listening attentiveness and listening responsiveness, questionnaire results ident- ified the next five most highly valued individual oral communication skills as being: ‘Con- veying professional attitude of respect and interest in clients’ (x  ¼ 4.68, Md  ¼ 5.00); ‘Asking for clarification or feedback from management’ (x  ¼ 4.57, Md  ¼ 5.00); ‘Speaking on the telephone/making conference calls with clients’ (x  ¼ 4.53, Md  ¼ 5.00); ‘Describ- ing situations accurately and precisely to superior(s)’ (x  ¼ 4.47, Md  ¼ 5.00); and ‘Convey- ing a knowledgeable and confident demeanour to clients’ (x  ¼ 4.45, Md  ¼ 5.00). Please see Table 1 for a complete record of the average and median importance values accorded to each oral communication skill, as well as the reported mean and median frequency with which each skill was found in new accountancy graduates (see also, Gray, 2010).