“If only these conversations had happened in induction.” Influencing employee aspiration with action learning-led inductions in the Big Four

DEBORAH CALLAGHAN, Helen Collins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (journal)peer-review

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Abstract

Abstract
Purpose
This paper explores employee experiences of induction in the Big Four accountancy firms to understand how induction influences new recruits' career aspirations.

Design/methodology/approach
Using Bourdieusian sociology, this article adopts an interpretivist multi-method approach through focus groups and semi-structured interviews with 28 newly appointed accounting professionals. The study defines newly appointed as those who have experienced induction within the last two years of their employment.

Findings
The study's findings challenge the authenticity of induction from a shared employee consensus. It cites contagious spin, regarding career progression opportunities espoused during induction, at odds with the reality of work, ultimately contributing towards unfulfilled employee aspiration. As current strategies suggest that the intersection between employee aspiration and employer provision in the accountancy profession, is too broad, this study argues for more collaborative inductions. In addition, it proposes that accountancy firms should re-evaluate their current strategies and co-construct more authentic inductions that benefit all stakeholders to develop a stronger psychological contract that positively influences employee aspiration.

Research limitations/implications
The paper posits action-learning as a solution to address employee aspiration in induction campaigns in the accountancy profession.

Practical implications
As aspiration is the genesis of motivation and engagement, this study’s findings suggest that the use of an action-learning ethos in induction activities may provide an opportunity to explore the complexities of employee socialisation and provide a voice to new recruits attempting to influence any tensions or disappointment that may arise, as unmet career aspirations emerge.

Originality/value
The paper posits action learning as a solution to address employee aspiration in induction campaigns in the accountancy profession.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19-35
Number of pages17
JournalEmployee Relations: The International Journal
Volume46
Issue number1
Early online date14 Nov 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 14 Nov 2023

Keywords

  • Accountancy
  • Action Learning
  • Aspiration
  • Big Four
  • Socialisation
  • Induction
  • Bourdieu
  • induction
  • aspiration
  • action learning,
  • Action learning

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